Leadership is a Spiritual Exercise

Some people see leadership as an intellectual exercise.

They conclude that if they can gather the information they need and analyze it effectively, they can learn to be leaders. Leadership is about sorting out what to do. The challenge of leadership is being able to think everything through as quickly as necessary.

Some people see leadership as an emotional exercise.

They feel that if they can empathize and motivate people effectively, they can be the leaders people want. Leadership is about sorting out how to get people to work together well. The challenge of leadership is being able to get people excited about our goals.

Some people see leadership as an instinctive exercise.

They know that if they can grasp a situation and trust their own reaction to it, they can be effective leaders. Leadership is about sorting out the immediate need and not worrying about unlikely possibilities. The challenge of leadership is being able to keep things moving.

I believe that all of these are part of the truth, though none of them is complete.

People can know a great deal about leadership without becoming the leaders they can become. They can feel like effective leaders without realizing their own potential. They can respond to immediate situations without engaging their own soul.

Leadership is more than that.

Leadership is a spiritual exercise.

Leadership is about depth. People grow into and recognize the leaders they have the potential to become. The challenge of leadership is knowing who we truly are.

True leaders grow deeper, and inspire others to grow deeper, as they lead. Their leadership is a spiritual practice that opens us to the deepest and sacred all around us.

How does your leadership engage the deepest part of you?
Does your true self connect with the true selves around you?

[Image by wtl photography]

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  • http://www.leadwithgiants.com Dan Forbes

    Nice breakdown of what leadership is. We all know it when we see it and when we don’t.

    • Strategic Monk

      Thank you, Dan.

      Yes, and practicing leadership develops leaders at least as deeply as it develops the people around them.

  • Sr Wendy Stiver, OSB obl, OSL

    well said. I used to think leadership was about power; when I thought that I was a terrible manager. As I grew older and wiser, I was able to get people to work together toward goals by first developing relationships of trust and respect with each of them and then putting it all together. Now, I am in a non-managerial work role, and feel I am finally ready to be a leader because I realize that my Benedictine vows of obedience and humilty are the keys to servant leadership. The question remains of where God wants me to lead?

  • Strategic Monk

    Thank you, Wendy!

    Yes, our leadership comes from who we are.

    As we grow into deeper connection with our truest selves, we connect to the people around us more deeply as well. We listen, and our knowledge of ourselves reflects the truth of what we receive.

    Growing in relationship to our true selves deepens the way we relate to other people and to the sacred.