Capturing the Heart of Leadership: Spirituality and Community in the New American Workplace

By Gilbert W. Fairholm | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
The Soul of Leadership

Spirituality is a new notion in leadership. For most of the one hundred- year lifetime of modern management and leadership, we have ignored this idea. It has not even been mentioned in our textbooks. Yet for that same period of time and, indeed, throughout all of social history, we have identified inner moral--spiritual--standards as the prime influence of human action. Our sense of spiritual wholeness defines humankind, determines our guiding values, and directs our most intimate decisions and actions. To leave spirituality out of our thinking about our leadership (or followership) is to diminish our theory, perhaps to make it irrelevant.

Our individual sense of who we are--our true, spiritual self--defines us. It creates our mind-set, defines our values, determines our actions, and predicts our future behavior. As such, spirit is a part of leadership and always has been, whether the individual leader knows it or consciously uses this fact in developing his or her leadership approach.

As our work world expands in importance and becomes, for many, the central activity of our lives, relating personal spiritual values with work values becomes the central task of leadership. Leaders must get in touch with their own spiritual nature. They must sense the spiritual essence of their followers and must deal directly with the task of creating an organization--defined as a group of people in voluntary relationship--where the essential spiritual needs of each member is considered and made a part of the group experience.

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