Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention.
Deepak Chopra, an Indian American author and public speaker
Are you surprised our topic this week is Spirituality?
We both know that years ago merely mentioning Spirituality in the business realm would have been unimaginable—not today. Ironically, American business seems to be a late-comer to Spirituality at work, in part, because of the separation of state versus religion guaranteed by our Constitution. But U.S. companies are clearly catching up.
Today they recognize that when their workforce comes to work as a whole person with all their gifts and talents—including Spirituality—they are far more productive and satisfied than when they leave parts of themselves at home. In fact, Spirituality is increasingly acknowledged as a positive force for both companies and its workforce.
- According to Fortune Magazine, 78 percent of Americans feel a need to experience spiritual growth—and half of them say they openly talk about such spiritual needs at work.[i]
- The Business Intelligence Journal reported that 85 percent of participants replied yes in response to the question of whether or not leader’s spirituality influenced their organizations.[ii]
- Research suggests that organization’s experience higher levels of creativity, process improvement, team performance, customer service, organizational commitment, honesty, trust, personal fulfillment[iii] when Spirituality is an accepted element of the culture.
- More spirited companies outperformed the others by 400-500 percent, in terms of net earnings, return-on-investment and shareholder value. Actually, Spirituality contributes to the life and health of the business’s future.[iv]
As Eric Klein in his article: “Values, Gifts, and Legacy—The Keys to High Performance and High Fulfillment” noted, Thus for organizations wanting greater commitment this means opening up the business conversation to include dimensions of soul and spirit that have been traditionally left at the office door.[v]
How do you measure up in Spirituality?
Or better yet how do those around you measure you?
Are you seen as someone who believes in a higher purpose or meaning in life? No matter the circumstances, do others view you as someone who is steadfast in your certainty you are supported throughout by a “higher power” or perhaps a “divine spirit” or whatever you call that voice that leads you through the peaks and valleys of your life/work experiences? Are you someone who finds comfort in knowing you fit perfectly into the larger scheme of life and others observe it too? Are you recognized as someone who is confident your purpose will unfold as it should—and you’re strong enough to stay the course? If you’ve said yes to all or most of these questions, Spirituality is the force you tap into while walking your life’s pathway regardless of how you label it.
What is a “just right” Spirituality?
Just right Spirituality has you trusting and living your life based on hope when all around you appears to be going awry. It provides an emotional balance in the midst of chaos. And it shapes your morals and values. Perhaps the best evidence you are spiritual is how you treat yourself, and just as importantly, how you treat those around you. Are you able to smile, accept and then correct your shortcomings, and bring that same balanced view when dealing with issues at work? Each night before going to bed look in your mirror and ask: Where am I most grateful? What activities am I proud of and what would I like to do better? Then, take action whether to clear up a mess or align your approach in the future to your beliefs.
What are some simple shifts you can make to engage your Spirituality?
- The Quiet Factor: At the root of most spiritual beliefs is the need for a quiet time, whether in prayer or meditation, to reconnect daily with your source. Not surprising, neuroscience has proven that getting quiet gives your brain an essential break leading to higher levels of creativity and productivity. With well-respected corporations such as Yahoo, Aetna, Deutsche Bank, Apple, Prentice Hall Publishers, AOL, McKinsey & Company, Proctor & Gamble, Target, HBO, Nike, General Mills and Google promoting the practice there can be little doubt what a positive impact spiritual practices have on a company’s bottom-line.
- The Trust Factor: The trust we are discussing is the natural bi-product of Spirituality. It is you having faith in your source to provide for you even in the midst of mergers and acquisitions or a less-than-spectacular boss or losing a job or having screwed up royally on a project or any other of the life/work events that may have you worrying or doubting your future. It is you experiencing confidence, and tranquility in the face of your personal “Rome is burning” experience.
- The Values Factor: This aspect exhibits Spirituality in action. The fact is values are your outward demonstration of what you stand for in the world based upon something bigger than yourself. These are the non-negotiable principles you base your decisions on whether consciously or unconsciously. For you to attain your dynamic future (one built on integrity), you’re obligated to be clear about your values, your belief system and how to translate both into walking your convictions at work. Your life will be richer, have more meaning, and you’ll find you’re a far more effective leader. Not only that, you’ll be fearless in the face of challenges since fear has no place in Spirituality.
Can you overdo Spirituality?
Yes, you can overdo Spirituality by doggedly hanging on to your beliefs without allowing room for another person’s point of view to emerge. Or you can be so unyielding in your beliefs that you actually close down the space of Spirituality in the workplace.
Do you know your strengths?
I hope you found value from this dialogue regarding Spirituality as this is where your security rests in a chaotic world—and as you respond to challenges from this mindset, people will connect with you in new more positive ways.
Want to learn more? If you do, I’d love to talk to you concerning your strengths to create a life and career that is engaging, fulfilling and fun for YOU. The easiest way to reach out is to click this link, schedule a FREE 10-Minute call to discuss Spirituality and how this strength (and others) can open doors for you to realize the future you’ve dreamt of having. I can’t wait!
Simon Sinek (@simonsinek) created a simple model, The Golden Circle, which codifies what makes the most inspiring people and organizations so successful and influential. This video generates a powerful thought-process on trust in the workplace.