Business Results of Spiritual Leadership

Spiritual Leadership

You may not have noticed, but there are some significant consequences of spiritual leadership when the leader shifts focus from self to others. A new ethic emerges.

When this shift happens, people don’t work, less but they do work differently.

And included in this difference is the desire for self-expression and self-fulfillment. when this happens, it is critical that the leader must stress the development of these qualities.

This happens anywhere you deal with people: in business, non-profits, government, and on the soccer team.

Kouzes and Posner, in their book, Credibility, suggest this:

“Leaders we admire do not place themselves at the center; they place others there. They do not seek attention of people; they give it to others. They do not focus on satisfying their own aims and desires; they look for ways to respond to the needs and interests of their constituents.” 

A New Spirit

A good leader can create a new spirit in an organization.

Such a leader lifts the spirit of everyone by enhancing their self-worth and making everyone feel important. He or she makes others feel better about themselves, and makes sure that all treat each other with civility, respectful caring, and even reverence.

In fact, a spiritual leader shares power and evidences a spirit of freedom while we have in the last decade seen many who expanded their power and became enslaved to it themselves while their followers ignored it.

A New Notion

A new notion of authority naturally arises from the way a dedicated leader works with followers.

For such a leader controlling others never enters the debate, rather the focus is always on reciprocity and mutual respect. Authority is a sacred trust, and it is “for others” not “over others”.

The leader no longer accepts authority over or power over, but only authority for and power to facilitate the growth of others.Of course, empowerment cannot be taught by people who have practiced dis-empowerment for years.

Thus, the spiritual leader knows when it is good to restrain one’s leadership.

The leader challenged by inner values of mind and heart pushes autonomy and responsibility down to others, involving and empowering them in a common vision.

A New Responsibility

With all of this, a new view of shared responsibility grows up, in which authority is not centralized—that’s  primitive in today’s world, rather it is placed at the lowest level possible. This practice of subsidiarity leads to co-responsibility.

This kind of leader is not weak, rather he or she is assertive of the right issues, challenging all to be responsible for shared vision and values.

It means calling people to be strong in confronting problems the organization faces.

A New Knowledge

Since there is no longer true leadership without the underpinning of a new knowledge and integrated theory,  a spiritual leader facilitates people’s willingness to share their knowledge with the organization, aware that everyone’s input is part of the mission and vision.

A leader creates exceptional moments which bring forth the unanticipated skills and insights of every follower. When this happens previous barriers become gates to discovery beyond our superficial knowledge of coworkers.

As leadership develops and matures the leader appreciates that organizations need to become more democratic.

Contemporary models of leadership tend to promote empowerment, believing that power is expandable.

A New Democratization

This new democratization is the way to go, thus rejecting any kind of control or elitism whether based on class, wealth, gender, status, or position.

Genuine participative teams increase individual commitment to pursue team goals and it deepens awareness, personal responsibility in decision-making, and self-evaluation.

Democratization is a dimension of individualized consideration that manifests transformational leadership and lets each individual grow to their best.

A New Approach to Failure

A spiritual leader appreciates the gifts of all, establishes a new approach to failure.

In fact, even welcomes it, knowing that if you want to be successful you must learn to fail and learn from failing. This leader appreciates that it is a mistake not to allow others to make mistakes. Thus he or she gives followers some reasonable opportunity for failure without reprimand.

People rarely learn from doing things the right way, but they can learn from mistakes, and many mistakes are not destructive of an organization’s values and vision. Some dysfunctional organizations love to hide mistakes from boards, from followers, and from each other.

The spiritual leader does not divide people into winners and losers, but optimizes everyone’s contribution.

A New Grassroots Growth

A leader guided by spiritual dedication sees an organization in a totally different way than do others.

He or she sees a new grassroot growth. Instead of a top down philosophy of control, the leader lives comfortably with a percolating model of leadership. Hierarchies continue to exist but our belief in the efficacy does not.

Thus, some models of leadership are counter-cultural.

A New Approach to Leadership

The spiritual leader’s new approach to leadership is one that stimulates self-leadership.

Always concerned to discover what needs to be done tomorrow that is not being done today, the leader seeks responses in others. While performance goals will always be important, the leader strives to stimulate self-leadership thinking in all followers.

For this to be successful it will include education of the imagination that helps all rearrange elements to construct further possibilities never thought of before, to envision new structures never tried before, and to set in place new criteria for effectiveness never used before.

A New Value Structure

Leadership today focuses on values that are traditionally considered feminine.

This new focus on feminine values is giving rise to questions about the meaning of power, authority, management style, and so on.  After all, power, muscle, number crunching, planning, and even decision-making are traditionally viewed as male contributions to authority, but computers can do all this today.

The spiritual leader learns some of the feminine characteristics of leadership.

Male aggression gives place to supportive interdependence, competition to nurturing, connections, and discussion, domination to power sharing, self reliance to relationships, position and status to democracy and interpersonal development.

The bigger picture emerging is that women’s ways of leading will call for a questioning of present beliefs regarding the nature of societal development.


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Dr. Leonard Doohand

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an author and workshop presenter
He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership
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8 responses to “Business Results of Spiritual Leadership

  1. I think the Spiritual Leaders way of thinking and acting will be at the forefront of Leadership principles and practices in the coming days. Great insight and a diversion from more popular leadership models.


  2. I really enjoyed reading this post. I agree, a great leader can create great change. Perhaps my favorite part is the New Approach to Failure. People need room to make mistakes; it is by making mistakes do people learn.


    • I agree with your comment. People rarely learn anything from repeating it, but failure plus reflection and re-evaluation leads to new insight and growth. Thank you. Leonard


  3. Pingback: Business Results of Spiritual Leadership « ericvancamp·

  4. “Authority is a sacred trust, and it is “for others” not “over others”. This phrase really jumped out at me. The mindshift from authority as a right to an earned trust is fundamental to successful leadership.


    • Laurie, Thank you for highlighting this point. Sometimes leades forget that “authority” comes from the Latin, meaning “to facilitate someone else’s growth.” Hardly the approach of many pseudo-leaders today.

      Thank you. Leonard


  5. Pingback: Leadership updates for 07/30/2012·

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