In previous blogs I have proposed several qualities that spiritual leaders need to maintain the quality of their leadership.
They must also develop good habits that will stay with them throughout their leadership and life.
Here are a few of those good habits a spiritual leader can focus on.
We live in a distracting world where we are bombarded by information, suggestions, novelty, and consumerism at all times. A spiritual leader needs to develop the habit of centering life, or finding that quiet central point of one’s life, that zone where true vision, insight, and clarity lie.
This is a form of recollection; we re-collect our thoughts on what is important.
It is a process of concentration in silence and simplification in the midst of complexity, in which all secondary issues fade out of focus, and the leader is left with clarity of direction.
This includes reviewing all the pros and cons of an issue, selecting, choosing, and discerning priorities, coming face to face with what are the overridingly important issues in the pursuit of vision.
Focus on Spirituality
Spirituality is the desire to become our true selves, our best selves. It constantly stresses what I am giving to this life and what I am getting out of it. It refers to the pursuit of life within the context of ultimate realities that give meaning to life.
For a leader it means the habit of daily engagement motivated by core values that come from within one’s inner spirit.
The spiritual leader never forgets his or her call to become a person of interiority. Such a leader is never afraid to speak about what truly motivates life, the values of a vision for the human community.
For the contemporary spiritual leader the focus on spirituality is integral to effective leadership.
A spiritual leader must be wise enough to be truthful at all times. Clearly, untruthfulness is damaging to leadership, but so too is a lack of full disclosure and complete communication.
A leader must be truthful in the pursuit of a shared vision, never compromising on values, never watering down the goals.
But he or she needs to appreciate that truthfulness is not owned, it is found with and through others in collaborative sharing. This appreciation helps a leader to be clear about his or her place in the world, even his or her stature.
At the same time, part of truthfulness is not to live an artificial life, claiming unreal privilege, but humbly and objectively to see similarities between oneself and others. The leader acquires the habit of being truthful at all times in life and practices.
The vision of a spiritual leader can only be maintained when aided by the habit of sharing, which is part of the vision itself. Sharing with people at all levels is a distinctive feature of vision, for there is no possibility of implementing vision without it. An organization based on sharing will unquestionably be more successful in attaining its vision.
Sharing includes identifying others’ contributions, co-working with them, and delegating at all levels, convinced that increased growth results from sharing.
This includes sharing trust, common values, vision, encouragement, decision-making, and planning.
This habit also extends to shared responsibility where authority is not centralized but through subsidiarity and collegiality pushed to the lowest levels in an organization.
A leader who wishes to implement call in a vision must focus on essentials. At a time when many leaders spend so much of their time and a misdirected vision on secondary issues, or even trivia, spiritual leaders must maintain personal and organizational emphases on what is essential to the vision.
Of course, what is of primary importance at one time becomes secondary with the passing of time, and a leader constantly evaluates the vision for its authentic focus in changing circumstances.
A vision requires adaptation, modification and renewal.
Leaders embody flexibility and a readiness to change in order to maintain the relevance and vigor of the vision; stubbornly sticking with non-essentials is not the same as being principled.
Be on the Lookout
Leaders seek out, find, and discover whatever can help further the vision of the organization. This will generally be people, often ones who are at the edges or at first seem less likely to contribute.
A spiritual leader gives importance to people over laws, emphasizing their dignity, never wanting passivity, and never neglecting to integrate them into the common endeavor.
A leader stimulates new ideas and especially the creativity of everyone.
One simple test for a leader who is always on the lookout is how he or she treats people who appear as the poorest or least qualified of the group.
When a leader is always on the lookout for good ideas, qualified people, new initiatives, fresh articulations of vision, and all forms of creativity, it becomes more likely the vision will endure.
So, how many of these practices can you personally count as “habits?” Which ones would serve you the best by adopting them as habits. How can you learn these new habits that can make you a better spiritual leader? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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