Your Spiritual Leadership Profile

IMG_1441As some of you know, I spent many years in management consulting prior to landing my current gig as a Senior Vice President in a Very Nice Company. That consulting experience drilled certain propensities into my brain for processes, charts, and matrices. I love a good flow chart.

So naturally, when thinking about solutions to help people connect business to spiritual life, I often approach matters in this way, looking for patterns or principles that can boil down complex ideas into simple roadmaps to help us move from A to B.

Not that you can put God into a box.

A Spiritual Leadership Matrix

The idea here is to help you gauge where you are on your leadership-spirituality journey, as a starting point to think about where and how you need to grow.

Here’s what you do.

Rank yourself on a low-to-high scale on two different levels.

The first, on the Y-axis, is to answer the question,

“To what extent do you feel safe, secure, and loved by God?”

  In other words, do you really trust that God is in control of your circumstances at work?

  • Do you believe that God will take care of you, regardless of your situation?
  • Do you believe that God can help you find the pathways you need to take?
  • Do you believe he is involved in your life at all?

It’s one thing to say, but quite another to actually believe in your heart of hearts. Rank yourself low to high, depending on how you would answer that question.

The second question on the X-axis is,

To what extent do you believe you are expressing God’s purpose in your work?

Do you believe that what you do each day is an expression of God working through you?

  • Do you believe your daily tasks and activities are a means of expressing God’s spirit in your workplace?
  • Do you think that God can work through you to influence and others towards His greater good?
  • Do you believe that you are making a difference in the lives of others, whether employees, co-workers, customers, suppliers or shareholders?

Rank yourself low to high, depending on how you would respond to that question.

Now. Where do you find yourself on the matrix?

 The Four Quadrants

1. Spiritual Arrogance

The leader who ranks high on Experiencing God’s love, but low on expressing God’s love is caught up in his own spiritual life, but not aware of how it might influence others. The result is a Pious or spiritually Self-indulgent behavior which most likely leads to isolation and lack of connection to others in the workplace

2. Burnout and Depression

The most miserable place to be would be the low-ranking box for both the X and Y axis. Here is one who does not experience God’s love, and who also does not express God’s love at work. Bad situation. Typically, this would be the person who feels burnt-out and depressed. Or perhaps it is expressed as an apathetic and empty outlook with very little sense of purpose or direction at work.

3. Anxious and Insecure

The flip side of this is when one is trying to express God’s love at work, but is having trouble drawing from the security and safety of God’s love. In this case, you are busy trying to do the right thing, but constantly worried about it. You are in a state of uncertainty and anxiety, lacking confidence because you are not grounded in an ability to trust God for the outcome of your work.

4. Authentic and Influential

The ideal is obviously to be in the top-right side of the box, where you experience God’s love and you are also expressing God’s love at work. This would be the basis for an authentic, influential leader, marked with a calm, confident and connected attitude towards work.

Depending on where you land, the opportunity is for each of us to move towards the top right box by practicing spiritual disciplines, getting involved in a caring community, finding mentors, and using practical tools to become the leader God has called you to be.

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About JBW

JBW is a business executive living and working in the Northeast USA.

  • Marcus Goodyear

    Ach! Your matrix put me in and out of quadrant 3 and 4. That actually matches up with my experience at work over the past few months.

    So, what is the prescription for people in quadrants 1, 2, or 3, who want to move out?

    • shrinkingthecamel

      Marcus, I suppose the prescriptions for each would be the topic of another post…I believe it’s an individual response to move from each box into quadrant #4, and this part was more awareness than prescriptive. Generally, though, I would suggest several things: 1) Meditation/allowing time for spiritual grounding times and practicing spiritual disciplines; 2) Having a mentor to talk to; 3) Professional development/training, to build competence and confidence in skills; and 4) Be in community to continually reinforce.

      How does that sound?

  • grahamseel

    I’m with Marcus – vacillating between 3 and 4. I suspect James would give us a hard time over this vacillation … Looking forward to JB’s prescriptions. I am increasdingly convinced they have to do with the solid, consistent, loving support of the church – growing in isolation is terribly difficult.

    • shrinkingthecamel

      Right on, Graham! Community was #4 when I outlined the prescription above for Marcus.

  • Loren Pinilis

    If I’m honest, I can see a little of myself in all four quadrants. I think a lot of that has to do with how I’m claiming the truths of expressing and experiencing God’s love *in the moment*. That seems to me to be the key. Do you think it’s natural to move from quadrant to quadrant?

    • manohar Paul

      Thank you so much for your article.I’m not a management guy but missionary doctor but I am so blessed by your article.I work in a government health center after working in missions for over 20 years. I find myself moving from one quarter to the other.This is a very timely article for me to pause and st things in proper perspective by HIS grace.Dr.Manohar Paul

    • shrinkingthecamel

      Yes, Loren, I think it’s a constant journey, never ending, especially with changing circumstances being introduced all the time. I agree with your key of “claiming” or believing God’s love and that our value is non-negotiable, then being able to express it through our work.

  • Robbie Pruitt

    This is so good! Thank you for putting this together.

  • D. W. Bryant

    Would really be cool to quantify this theory.

    • shrinkingthecamel

      Yes, it would, wouldn’t it? Too bad I’m not an academic research fellow! Maybe some day I’ll go get a PhD and figure this out some more. :) Thanks for dropping in, DW.

  • Susan DiMickele

    This is just awesome. I love a good chart. But here’s my problem. I think I flip between all 4 quadrants in a given week. Is that normal? Sane?

    • shrinkingthecamel

      Yes, you’re normal. Just like the rest of us, at least me, anyways. I go through a lot any given week internally, depending on the nature of the challenges I’m facing, how familiar or confident I am, how much progress I’m making, personality conflicts or power struggles, you know the deal. I think the main thing is recognition of the ABILITY to move through, with God’s help.

  • Megan Willome

    Solidly box #3. Because I love God but disapprove of his handling of my life. Work rocks, though.