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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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Several suggested practices for a spiritual leader (Seventh)

7.  CREATE INTERRUPTIONS

Our world of leadership seems sure of itself. Programs turn out graduates with a packet of skills to become leaders themselves. Well-known presidents and CEOs write their memoirs and tell us how it is done! We have seen so many failures, and each leader inflicts his or her own particular damage. In this process of interruption, doubt and uncertainty are good points of departure, followed by a healthy suspicion and skepticism, and culminating in enjoying a little insecurity for a while.

Part of the task of a great leader who wants to be a servant leader is to fight against the nearsightedness of contemporary leadership, to oppose the prepackaged answers, and seek something deeper. This can be an anxious time for a leader.

Often this questioning of the direction of leadership leads to conflict, but this too can raise the energy level and produce significant discussion. Conflict itself can lead to crisis which is an opportunity to make different judgments on the matters at hand

As a leader interrupts the discourse on the nature of leadership, he or she can engage in networking to surface ideas that can lead to new directions.

A lot of contemporary leadership is moderate management sprinkled with a little inspiration. If there is a culture of trust and a climate of creativity, then proactive individuals can think differently about the same things, engage in provisional thinking and decision-making, and courageously move to explore new concepts about leadership at the margins of organizational life. Here the skills are flexibility, improvisation, alternative thinking, bypassing of problems, innovation, and breakthrough.

5 Suggestions:

1. Spend some time reflecting on what is working in your leadership and what is not.

2. Identify those aspects of your leadership you would like to get rid of.

3. Think about which leadership practices in your organization you would like to stop.

4. Reflect on the leader you admire and ask yourself why.

5. Make sure you have created a climate where other people can interrupt your leadership.

Several suggested practices for spiritual leaders (Sixth)

6. UNLOCK THE POTENTIALS OF THE HEART

The ideal human community is characterized by love. When people know they are loved they respond with dedication and give of their best. If a leader treats followers negatively, he or she will receive diminishing returns from followers. A good leader of hope shows everyone respect, and they know he or she speaks from the heart. Followers must find trust, honesty, and integrity in their leaders, and leaders must show respect for the dignity and competence of followers by trusting them, empowering them, providing significant responsibilities, giving teams authority, searching for consensus, providing an enjoyable working environment, establishing participative structures, and sharing power. Caring needs to be practical; the leader treats others with politeness, gentleness, candor, graciousness, and sensitivity. A good spiritual leader dedicated to servant leadeship appreciates people, and they know it.

There is a tendency to underestimate the importance of affective and emotional aspects of spiritual leadership. Followers need to know that a leader is there for them. The leader must make sure everyone with whom he or she works knows he or she is not only respected, but also loved.

Jesus called his followers “disciples,” until towards the end of his ministry when he said, “I do not call you servants any longer, . . . but I have called you friends” ( John 15:15). The evangelist said, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1

It is important that we all do everything for each other, the firm, customers, and stakeholders with loving commitment.

5 Suggestions:

1. Examine your relationships with your workers and ask yourself if they like you?

2. Be sure that when people leave your presence they know they are loved.

3. Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.

4. Review with your workers whether the working environment is enjoyable.

5. Think of new ways to show your trust to those with whom you work.

Several suggested practices for a spiritual leader (Five)

5. TEACH A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF COMMITMENT

Spiritual leaders propose a new understanding of commitment. Every good leader challenges self and followers to wholehearted commitment. The leader of hope links professional commitment to the integral human, spiritual maturing of self and each follower. Professional commitment becomes part of one’s spirituality and thus draws out discretionary dedication from everyone. In this context outstanding performance is a matter of personal growth, integrity, character development, and simply being who one feels called to be. Leaders must fire followers’ hearts to see professional dedication and spirituality as two facets of the same life.

Leaders enthuse followers to be dedicated to a shared vision of hope. Commitment relates to the future and so includes imagination, contemplation, and hope. This implies networking to discover other people’s hopes and constantly urging and encouraging others to be open to the unexpected. Commitment is essentially making the vision of hope real in the present.

This commitment to hope implies transformative action as part of one’s dedication. ommitment becomes part of one’s spirituality and thus draws out discretionary dedication from everyone.

Leaders enthuse followers to be dedicated to a shared vision of hope. Commitment relates to the future and so includes imagination, contemplation, and hope.

This commitment to hope implies transformative action as part of one’s dedication. Leaders of hope not only have a deep capacity for hope but a life long dedication to realizing the future we long for.

Commitment is relational. Others are included in our commitment as we are in theirs.

Commitment is to each other to work synergetically. Synergy refers to people who are different creating desirable results greater than the independent parts can do. It is a form of fusion that implies joining, coming together, creating connections and partnerships. It is about reducing barriers by encouraging conversations, information sharing, and joint responsibility across boundaries.

Commitment means encouraging each other to be leaders.

This loving service will also manifest quality commitment in collaboration in culturally and gender diverse situations. For a leader of hope commitment is not merely to a job well done, but to a vision of community.

5. Suggestions:

1. Think about ways you can make an ideal future alive today.

2. Ask yourself why are you committed at work and what is the quality of your commitment.

3. Check how you contribute to the development of your colleagues.

4. If you contribute more on your own than with others, ask why.

5. Identify the links between your professional dedication and personal spirituality.

Several Suggested Practices for a Spiritual Leader (Second)

2. APPRECIATE WHAT LIES BEYOND NORMAL HORIZONS OF LIFE

Some leaders are entrapped in the parameters they have established. They pace around inside their own cage, the stronger eating the weaker, and they call this success. Not only is there a world outside the narrow confines of current failed leaders, but genuine spiritual leadership is only found outside such confines. Other so-called leaders plod ahead like the Budweiser horses with blinders on, less they be distracted by realities around them. The vision pursued by the leader of hope lies beyond normal horizons in the plan of God. Such a leader must have a facility in rising from daily occurrences to make connections to transcendent values. This is one of the most practical things anyone can do, for thinking of the vision of promise gives clear understanding and directives for daily life and leadership.

When you see you are loved by someone, for no particular reason, you find that you are loveable and wonder why. Seeing what lies beyond normal horizons leads us to see and experience a loving God, and that experience changes all understandings of leadership and leads one to servant leadership. Some spiritual leaders and visionary mystics who have appreciated what lies beyond normal horizons of life speak of their vision as one of beauty.

5 Suggestions:

1. When faced with decisions, not only ask how to do something, but also why.

2. Spend a little time each day in quiet reflection, empty of concerns, and  ready to receive.

3. Look at things that surprise you in life and ask why.

4. Think about why you are loved and loveable.

5. Ask yourself for answers to puzzling attitudes you meet in leaders you know.

Spiritual leaders are known for these eight practices (First)

Several suggested practices for a spiritual leader

In the next couple of weeks I would like to offer several practices for anyone who wishes to become a spiritual leader. You can call them practices or even attitudes that result from frequently repeating these practices. These set aside an individual as possibly a great leader. The eight suggestions are the following:

1. MOURN LEADERSHIP’S FAILURES.

2. APPRECIATE WHAT LIES BEYOND NORMAL HORIZONS.

3. THINK, MEDITATE, CONTEMPLATE.

4. ASK QUESTIONS NOONE ELSE DOES.

5. TEACH A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF COMMITMENT.

6. UNLOCK THE POTENTIALS OF THE HEART.

7.  CREATE INTERRUPTIONS.

8. MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO MOTIVATE THEMSELVES.

Today we consider just the first one:

1. MOURN LEADERSHIP’S FAILURES

It is frequently heartbreaking to follow the daily news. So many problems have lasted for decades, they are well-known, but deliberately left unaddressed because leaders cannot or will not confront them. We live in a culture of greed, clinging to power, and arrogance. Servant leaders see these as the opposite of what they want to embody. We are immersed in malfunctioning and sick leadership, and the sickness is contagious. When we think about mourning we refer to something that pains us to think about it; it is a loss that tears at our hearts; it is a pain that stays with us; you just wish things were different and what happened never occurred. This is how a servant leader responds to today’s failures.

The basic steps in mourning leadership’s failures are: 1. Acknowledge the failures. 2. Think about and even savor the harm bad leadership has done. 3. Disassociate yourself from it. 4. Examine your own life for traces of failures and get rid of them. 5. Express the sorrow of your heart for the harm and injustice done to others. 6. Move on with changed attitudes or move away from the corrupt structure in which you have found yourself.

5 suggestions:

1. As leaders, never support greedy, selfish, unethical leaders.

2. Beware of the company you keep, and stay away from people whose  values you despise and whose leadership you do not wish to imitate.

3. Never accept promotion in your leadership if you must prostitute your  values to get it.

4. Every day spend some time thinking about those who suffer because of  failed leadership.

5. Remind yourself often of your own failures as leaders and lament and  mourn them.

A RECENT BOOK ON SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

For those readers who might be interested I would like to mention one of my books that gives a lot of material on spiritual leadership.

This book is available from paulistpress.com or from amazon.com

THE IMPORTANCE OF REFLECTION FOR GOOD LEADERSHIP

Leaders today must be men and women who can think, reflect, reintegrate, and transform the many aspects of their lives. Leadership is no longer based merely on knowledge, competence, and experience, unless these are linked with reflection that produces alternative ways of thinking and acting. In the past we tended to stress leaders who were doers and achievers not reflective thinkers. Today’s new models of leadership all demand critical reflection, imagination, and an openness to the unknown, the unexpected, and the unexplored. The source of real learning in one’s leadership is within and this implies the importance of reflection. Below are offered four suggestions to help one be more reflective.

STILLNESS: The major preparations for reflective leadership can be viewed as one’s personal contribution in attitudes of stillness, inspiration, concentration, and silence.  Each of these is a gift and is also an acquired art that benefits both reflection and leadership.  We need to specifically train ourselves in stillness of body.  We need to sit still, do nothing and completely relax.  For people of religious faith, any of the present techniques for relaxation which help in the acquiring of stillness in the presence of God can be used.  This first simple stage should not be passed over.  In our present speed-prone age, it can be a real effort.  In the long run, it pays high dividends.  Linked to this outward relaxed position should be deep and regular breathing.  The stillness that reflection and prayer requires is also a fine attitude in daily life and leadership.  People who are always rushing here and hurrying there are not noted for the quality of their presence to others, whether colleagues, family, or friends.  No one can be consistently still in times of reflection, unless he or she can be still in the presence of others, giving them attention and interest. Stillness is not something that we can turn on for moments of reflection.  Rather, it must be very gradually acquired through self- training and sacrifice. This effort to train oneself in stillness and to place oneself in the presence of God is a “prayer of the body.”

INSPIRATION. To facilitate the second step in reflection one needs, throughout daily life, to train oneself in openness to the varied and continual inspirations of the day from wherever they come. To help the development of the genuine spirit of inspiration  we need to know ourselves as we are, with the good and weak sides, and express ourselves as we truly feel.  If we hide or close ourselves to the unacceptable about ourselves this just becomes a block to our reflection and prayer.  We also need to be open to being inspired by others and by the world; and here one need only apply the general principles of dialogue in openness to others and in the signs of the times.

If in times of reflection and prayer and decision-making in leadership we are able to show openness to inspiration, then it will be because we have developed in life this attitude of total attentiveness to the varied inspirations that come personally to us in our hearts, in others, in the world with its history and in daily events.  If we have not a listening heart and not trained ourselves in the art of listening, then when a critical time of change and challenge comes it is humanly impossible for us just to switch on to becoming inspired or inspirational.

CONCENTRATION. Thirdly, we must train ourselves to concentrate, then in dealing with others or in discerning institutional direction we will be able to concentrate individually and  with others in the challenging moments of life.  Here again, we have an act of reflection and prayer which is an art and we can develop it by the way we approach other aspects of our daily leadership life.  Therefore, as a remote preparation for reflection and prayer, try to develop concentration.

The ability to concentrate, which is also a common necessity in human growth, is something to be acquired by daily effort.  Only short moments are needed, a few minutes while traveling, a view in the city, a scene in the country, a person’s face, a picture, a child—all can be objects of a moment’s concentration.  On the other hand, listening intensely for a short while to a piece of music, or just one sound, or a bird, or a person’s voice, or the rustling of leaves—all can open us to concentrate on something we did not perceive before.  This is the self training and remote preparation we need for reflection and prayer and a preparation to discover the best in others.

SILENCE IN GOD. The kernel of genuine reflection is silence, and of genuine prayer silence in God.  There are several attitudes of daily life which can undoubtedly help and prepare the way for this recollected silence.  Awareness to the quality of one’s presence to others and recollection are fundamental.  Effort given to this reflective silence is generally more profitable for growth in reflection than is anything else.  To these ought to be added a cultivated sense of wonder and astonishment.  These qualities are often missing in life today, but if reflective leadership must also include an attitude of openness to the ever newness of others and of organizational growth, we will need a genuine sense of mystery and wonder to appreciate what is always ahead of us, always new, and our growing efforts at concentration will be an aid here. In this connection we need a healthy sense of aloneness, an awareness of our own unfulfillment except through others and in God—in other
words, the attitude of one who is a real searcher.

Above all, one needs patience and a willingness to wait.  Sometimes in the reflective moments of a day we try to push ourselves—disliking emptiness, we return to the normal actions of each day at the first sign of “nothing happening.”  Those who do wait are generally the ones who can come up with a new insight, can see links with vision and mission, and can see how every member of the group “fits in.”   All these above attitudes are also aspects of daily life, and

living through them in daily life can be a preparation for reflection and an enrichment of our leadership skills. Nancy Eggert suggests four means to enter into contemplative experience: 1. Through appreciation of the material world (appreciation). 2. By letting go and letting be (detachment). 3. Through creative breakthroughs (creativity). 4. By means of social justice and compassion (compassion).

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an author and workshop presenter He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog

Quality leadership

“Quality leadership lies within the heart, soul, and spirit of a leader, who has journeyed within self and discovered values, motivation, enduring purpose, and destiny.” Spiritual Leadership: The Quest for Integrity.

Some Key Qualities of Spiritual Leadership (Part II)

SPIRITUALITY AND SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

The leader must develop strategies to foster self-leadership in followers. It will require that a leader have trust in self and be peaceful about his or her own leadership; it will require that a leader spend quality time with followers, facilitating others’ leadership. It begins by insisting that followers take responsibility for their own effective performance and avoid common responses of blaming others for failure. A great leader is always ready to step back and welcome the birth of new leadership in former followers.

Every leader will always be confronted with the question of   reliability in moments of truth. Followers will examine how a leader spends time, what questions he or she asks, how he  or she reacts to critical incidents, what he or she rewards, and so on. These are among the critical moments of truth in which a leader manifests or betrays what he or she really thinks. In other words when one’s defenses are down, what are one’s real values?

Inspiring commitment to the shared vision brings together many of the values of a gifted leader. While truthful, competent, and decisive, the leader must also be a source of inspiration to search for a long-term future beyond the restrictions of the present. A vision that is worth effort  can only be attained by people working together. So, a leader has to turn followers loose, give them enough room, and let them build up parts of the vision that the leader never envisioned alone.

Showing love and encouragement is the essential for spiritual leadership, and the spiritual leader’s love shows itself in deep understanding of others, in sharing ideas and information, in giving and receiving emotional support, in giving help to others and also letting them know that they are needed. Loving and encouraging approaches are more effective than are adversarial ones, and give the leader far more ability to influence others and draw the best out of them.

The spiritual leader makes sure that other people’s needs are being served, that followers are growing as people under his or her leadership. A good leader takes care of followers and is not taken care of by them. This caring for followers must be practical too, leaders must make sure that they give followers what they need, rather than constantly cutting budgets and removing resources. Every person in a leadership position must ask if they have looked after others’ needs or their own. When a leader cares for followers he or she will motivate them more easily.

Criticizing constructively, while always reinforcing the self-leadership of followers is a skill that is not easy to develop. The leader who can’t facilitate constructive criticism has problems ahead. A good leader is sensitive to the timing of criticism and can thus bring up the negative at the right time to see its potential for betterment.

In recent years we have seen many leadership failures in top administrators whose greed and total disregard of others became one of business’ greatest scandals. Bearing the pain of an organization’s growth and struggles is also a component of spiritual leadership. A leader will need to name the pain, search for response, and facilitate healing. Great leaders do not emerge from a situation that is without conflict or struggle. Rather great leaders surface in times of adversity.

The leader who is motivated by the thrill of faith can excite others with the shared vision by generating enthusiasm in all they do together. Enthusiasm comes from the Greek words meaning “in God” for the spiritual leader is motivated by a faith that enthuses others, nurtures their optimism and passion. Leaders today are known for their inspiration, heart, inner spirit, and energy — qualities that help maintain momentum in an organization’s pursuit of a vision.