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Several suggested practices for a spiritual leader (Eighth)

8. MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO MOTIVATE THEMSELVES

Without a leader’s inspiration and persuasion followers gifts are log jammed, and their creative contributions go nowhere. A leader creates a suitable climate for the growth of ideas, fosters responsiveness and cooperation, and provides the creative spark that moves people forward. Great leaders of hope ask people to be greater than they are, and they work so that they might be.

A common error of leadership is to presume that motivation already exists because people come to work and put in their time. This mistaken assumption fails to appreciate that enthusiasm and apathy are two points on the same continuum.

In motivating others, leaders at times need to restrain their leadership, allowing followers to move alongside them. So, a leader should inspire not order, pull not push, and let people use their own initiative. Being alongside, a leader can ask probing questions, challenge expectations, affirm and reward successes, network, and build confidence through agreement.

In motivating others a leader must involve them in the work at hand and the process of change. A leader of hope will delegate significant responsibilities

A leader of hope appreciates the advantages of surprise. He or she can surprise followers with anticipatory benevolence; an attitude of always anticipating good will towards others. In contemporary working environments this surprising attitude of good will and affection can achieve wonders.

Part of motivation is to foster a collective commitment to a vision of hope.

5. Suggestions:

1. Identify ways to keep yourself motivated in your work.

2. List the ways you try to motivate others.

3. Train yourself to get out of the way and let others find their own leadership.

4. Involve workers in significant responsibilities.

5. Think of ways to surprise your workers and customers.

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Leaders who know when it is time to retire

A great leader knows when it is time to retire. However, we all know lots of leaders who don’t know when to go, leave space for others, and move into a healthy retirement. So, I wrote this book for a new kind of retiree–including the baby-boomer generation–leaders who seeks to deal with retirement years not as an end of usefulness but as a major period in life with its own challenges that need practical responses and depth of understanding. Christian spirituality refers to the way we life our daily lives in the challenge of faith. Clearly, the years of retirement offer the most important occasion for each of us to respond to the challenge of making a new beginning.

This book is a practical guide for those retirees who are about to retire, or who have recently retired. Filled with the experiences of retirees, it offers anecdotes, thoughtful reflections, helpful insights, and ways to live this important and what-should-be-enjoyable stage of life. Leaders must discover how to approach this period in life–now as much as a third of life for many–with enthusiasm, anticipation, creativity, and enjoyment as the best and blessed time of our lives.

The new outlook that retirees need to have willinlcude the following components.

1. Live in peace and not with the worries of former times.

2. Focus on new attitudes beyond those of the employment years.

3. Look at the enriching opportunities of relaxation and leisure.

4. Keep and eye on creative self-development.

5. Look at life as an opportunity to sharfe wisdom and experience with others.

6. Get the best out of life, not more.

7. Follow the sirection of the Spirit.

8. Maintain wellness, and let the quality of life determine these important years.

Caring passionately about the kind of leader you are

The vision of being a contemporary leader is something you need to care about passionately, for while leadership can be exhausting, stressful, and rigorous, it is for the dedicated few a “disciplined passion.” It is an enthusiasm from within, since people always want from you that part of you they do not pay for, your creativity, vision, enthusiasm, and integrity. Spiritual leadership is not a pious Christian reflection, it is the center of contemporary reflections on leadership. We must refocusing our understanding of leadership to stress inner values of the spirit. Peter Koestenbaum wrote that “Leadership is a conversion experience. It is a new alertness. It is a ‘snap’ in the mind to a fresh reality. This is a breakthrough theme. Its models are religion, art, politics, and love” (Leadership the Inner Side of Greatness, p. 50). Once you see leadership as an inner spiritual journey, a personal call and vision of life, rather than a position of authority, or the accumulation of power, influence and wealth, then both the scholar and practitioner must ask different questions, see hiring, training and evaluation in new ways, reinterpret the meaning of success and effectiveness, and look to organizational development in new ways. Leadership is no longer a matter of skills and accomplishments,  rather it focuses on the ultimate meaning of life, it deals with destiny and one’s role in the universe. When you become aware of the plethora of books on leadership, most of which have taken a wrong focus, we must  challenge ourselves to go beyond questions of technique to ask deeper, more fundamental questions about leadership; those that address philosophy and speak to human core values. Leadership is not simply what we do, but who we are, and what we do because of who we are. Thus, we see that leadership theory has changed focus and much of it is now centers  on leadership that emerges from a spiritual commitment. Fairholm captures this change well when he speaks of spiritual leadership as  exemplified in servant leadership, “The new spiritual leadership paradigm sees transformation of self, others and the organization as important, even critical. This new leadership model is that of the servant leader. Servant leadership is not an oxymoron, it is a juxtaposition of apparent opposites to startle the seeker of wisdom” (Capturing the Heart of Leadership, p. 26).