Why am I talking today about spiritual leadership? Perhaps the hand arises, observing managers and leaders motivating people by means of external motivation: career, salary, one number, or another. Numbers in business are important – the purpose of the business is to create financial returns for shareholders. However, the higher the number at the end of the financial statement, the greater the social responsibility; the more community resources you use, the greater the company’s responsibility to this community.
However, spiritual leadership is much more than just social responsibility. The power of spiritual leadership is to motivate people, to create connection, to show meaning. Analyzing the effectiveness of leadership confirms: spiritual leadership is effective leadership that helps organizations achieve better results. Why? Because it increases people’s engagement, commitment, reduces employee turnover, creates an atmosphere of communion, trust, openness.
Spirituality is not religiosity (although religion can help foster spirituality), nor is it an esoteric, exotic, or mystical life. Spirituality is an intangible part of our lives: a sense of belonging with other people, faith and hope, love and kindness to one’s neighbor, a feeling of the world (nature) or unity with it, and the resulting spiritual experiences or experiences.
Spiritual leadership is expressed on several levels: in the life of the leader himself, in relation to followers, and on the organizational level. I couldn’t even name at which level spirituality is more important: personally or in relation to others. Not having spirituality is not to have hope, not to trust the future and others. People who do not trust the future are condemned to anxiety, to hopeless control over others and circumstances (as we know, it is impossible to control them), to captive from material resources. For such a manager, the freedom is to have a lot of money. It’s not bad to have money, but it doesn’t give spiritual freedom and happiness, or perhaps even the other way around. How can spirituality manifest itself in organizations and communities? Through a sense of belonging that unites a sense of meaning, compassion, and joy.
Inner spiritual life, based on communion with the world, nature, people, also dictates moral beliefs. It is important to note that an honest person who does good works is not necessarily spiritual, while a spiritual one, for example, can molest minors, that is, to engage in a completely immoral, harmful, criminal act.
However, studies show that it is spiritual values – humility, gratitude, honesty, justice – that are prerequisites for effective and successful leadership. Humility has been talked about many times – if you want to always be right, only to marry others, just dictate conditions, and never disobey, you will not be a good leader. And without gratitude you will feel the center of the universe, there is no place for people near such a leader, they feel unnecessary and undervalued.
Spirituality does not make us leaders. We need both willpower, intelligence, and vision. However, determination without spirituality is only a temporary way to achieve a goal that will not create a connection with people, a long-term path for yourself and your organization.
Why is spirituality attracted? We feel that the wealth of this man is much greater than a car and a beautiful house. He sends us a message of love, kindness, hope. Since we are not Robinzons living on separate islands, this is the only way for all of us to live together.
Companies want to develop better managers and leaders. Is it possible to teach spirituality? We need to think about it.
Dr. Alisa Miniotaitė is a management and leadership expert, founder of UAB ALISA MANAGEMENT LABORATORY, Leadership Program Manager at ISM University of Management and Economics, certified ICC coach for the Baltic countries.