Spiritual Leadership In The Workplace (1)

Spiritual Leadership In The Workplace (1)

December 23, 2010 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

This week I’m very happy to present you the first part of an article written by Greg Waddell.

Greg is “Dr of Strategic Leadership, Prof of Leadership and Theology, Technology Enthusiast, Coffee Lover, Connoisseur of Classic Rock, and a striving Christ Follower” as he states in his twitter profile.
(Find him on twitter as @DrGregWaddell)

Simultaneously, Greg is the owner of a great blog that deals with all the subjects concerning Spiritual Leadership.
(You can find it at http://www.spiritoforganization.com)

A few weeks ago I didn’t know anything about Spiritual Leadership. Then I accidentially got the opportunity to read one of Greg’s articles about this topic and I quickly realized that this concept matches many contents of what I call Holistic Leadership.

I guess the personal development of holistic leaders depends a lot on the degree they’ve explored their own personal spirituality.
But look and see what Greg has to say about how to integrate the concept of Spiritual Leadership into your daily grind as executive in an organization.

In recent years, terminology that used to belong to temples and cathedrals is being heard in the workplace. You might be confused by this trend or not quite sure how to take it.

You might even be offended by what seems like an invasion into the secular domain of business by an ecclesiastical intruder.

On the other hand, there are those who feel that spirituality does belong to the workplace.

It can function in the workplace in spite of the religious and philosophical diversity that makes up most organizational contexts.

In this post, I try to lay a foundation for this latter view. I suggest a framework for including spirituality in your repertoire of leadership skills in a way that does not violate the necessary diversity of the workplace.

What Is Spirituality?

The solution I am suggesting has to do with the very definition of “spiritual.” When we talk about “Spiritual” leadership, what exactly are we talking about? In the literature, I see two fundamental definitions of what we mean when we talk about something that is “spiritual.”

The type of spirituality that comes to mind for most people when they hear the word has to do with the expression of a particular religious tradition.

Ideas that come to mind are baptisms, bar mitzvahs, prayers, chants, anointings, and so on. This kind of spirituality is very religion-specific and certainly does not belong to a diverse workplace.

But there is another meaning of spirituality that I think makes perfect sense in the workplace. This other definition is not about what people DO in a religious sense, but about what we ARE as human beings.

Philosophers would call this the “ontological” view of spirituality. Ontology has to do with what IS as opposed to what we merely think.

I am suggesting that human beings possess a spiritual (non-material) dimension.

Certainly, religion plays a role in developing this concept and some philosophical ideas, particularly philosophical materialism, altogether deny this premise, believing that we are nothing more than a combination of physical material. The Judeo-Christian concept is reflected two passages from the Jewish Scriptures, the Old Testament. Genesis records that God

“formed man of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (2:7).

The writer of Ecclesiastes refers to death as the time when “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (12:7).

In his book, “The Soul of a Business,” Tom Chappell defines spirit as “the part of you that survives when you eliminate the flesh and bones.”[1]

If it is true, that we have a spirit dimension, then this understanding stands firm regardless of whether everyone understands it or acknowledges it. This is an important distinction, because it helps us to understand how spirituality can be applied in a diverse workplace setting where people have very different starting points and convictions about religion and spirituality.

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Posted in Spiritual Leadership on Dec 23rd, 2010, 12:49 by haukeborow