The Intersection of Leadership + Spirituality: Systems and Healing
Workplace spirituality, workplace healing, spiritual healing, holistic work, spiritual healing, spiritual leadership, spiritual connectedness, spiritual wellbeing. Do any of these terms sound familiar?
“Spirituality is a process in an individual’s life, in the form of meaning and purpose, and all [people] have an impact on other individuals and their environment, including organizations” (Jufrizen et al., 2019, p. 65).
How recently have you considered the impact your spirituality has on others around you? Think for a moment about the systems in which you are a part of you — your family, your workplace, your community, your place of worship, etc. Your spirituality impacts the environments, contexts, or systems in which you exist. How would you describe your sense of spirituality? Are their areas in your life that require healing? How might your own spiritual healing help heal the systems you impact? How might spiritual healing strengthen your leadership within those systems?
Let’s spend some time with the spiritual practice of healing. Over the centuries, healing has been critical in the advancement of humanity. But what role does this practice play in your daily life? Common forms of healing include prayer, emotional awareness, and the laying of hands (Ulland, 2012). Though healing practices are often associated with religious traditions, healing is not limited by dogma or specific worldviews. In a similar vein, catalysts for healing vary and include music, dancing, laughter, and liturgy (Ulland, 2012). There is an important connection between healing and artistry. Regardless of the type of artistry, art prompts us to pause, reflect, and even practice mindfulness (Norman, Rossillo & Skelton, 2016).
Consider this imagery. “The motivational power of meaningful work runs off an internal generator” (Kendall, 2019, p. 88). Spirituality involves an internal generator. Spirituality involves inner meaning (Jufrizen et al., 2019). Spirituality involves the core dimensions of a person (Jufrizen et al., 2019). A leader, realizing how critical spirituality is to their life, must see how vital healing is to the longevity and depth of their spirituality.
- Reflect on your own spirituality – your inner energy.
- Where might you have an opportunity for healing?
- What experiences, injustices, or harm have you experienced that crave healing?
A leader realizes that it is not enough to care for their own spiritual healing but must find ways to encourage spiritual healing within the contexts (teams, environments, or systems) they find themselves.
- Reflect on the systems you impact.
- What is the role of spirituality in those contexts?
- What should the role of spirituality be in a context?
Follow this logic for a moment. An individual with a greater sense of spirituality is often associated with holding a sense of greater meaning. Greater meaning is often associated with greater engagement. And, greater engagement is associated with greater productivity. Greater productivity often leads to greater financial stability. Though this line of reasoning is true, leaders must not see spirituality as a means to the end of greater productivity.
“Authentic spirituality transforms management rather than simply using spirituality as an instrumental and superficial tool to increase productivity” (Driscoll & Wiebe, 2007, p. 342).
Authenticity is critical to spirituality and a leader’s motive. If a leader only views spirituality as a means to something, people are seen “as productive units first and spiritual beings second” (Driscoll & Wiebe, 2007, p. 339). The motive of a leader is essential to the conversation of spirituality, healing, and systems.
- How might a leader ensure they influence their system toward authentic spirituality?
- How might a leader guard against exploiting workplace spirituality for the sake of profit?
- How might a leader integrate spirituality within their work context?
QUESTION YOUR LEADERSHIP
“Cultivating an environment of caring is essential… and sustaining it requires a focus on making every interaction a ‘sacred encounter’ with loving intention” (Norman, Rossillo & Skelton, 2016, p. 408).
- How can you facilitate and empower healing within your environment, teams, and systems?
- What accountability do you feel to encourage healing in others?
- How open are you to mystery and miracles?
- What connection do you see between healing and hope?
- What healing is made possible when the values of your work environment align with your core values?
- How does your current environment encourage healing?
- How might the environment be transformed to better facilitate healing?
- What actions can you take to shift your environment toward greater healing?
What about your organization?
Skidmore Consulting 2020 ©
Driscoll, C., & Wiebe, E. (2007). Technical spirituality at work: Jacques ellul on workplace spirituality. Journal of Management Inquiry, 16(4), 333–348. doi:10.1177/1056492607305899
Jufrizen, Sari, M., Nasution, M. I., Radiman, & Wahyuni, S. F. (2019). The strategy of spiritual leadership: The role of spiritual survival, workplace spirituality and organizational commitment at private universities. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science, 8(1), 64–72. doi:10.20525/ijrbs.v8i1.194
Kendall, M. (2019). Workplace spirituality and the motivational impact of meaningful work: An experimental study. Journal of Organizational Psychology, 19(2), 74–92. doi:10.33423/jop.v19i2.2045
Norman, V., Rossillo, K., & Skelton, K. (2016). Creating healing environments through the theory of caring. AORN Journal, 104(5), 401–409. doi:10.1016/j.aorn.2016.09.006
Ulland, D. (2012). Embodied spirituality. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 34(1), 83–104. doi:10.1163/157361212X645340