Leadership Decisions, Spirituality, and Values

The Intersection of Leadership + Spirituality: Decisions and Values

Have you ever considered what your decisions say about the quality of your leadership, the level of your spiritual maturity, or even the values you uphold? Have you ever considered how the little, daily, routine decisions say big things about your character?

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Shared, Distributed, & Participatory Leadership

Shared leadership, distributed leadership, and participatory leadership are styles that emphasize who is involved in the decision-making process. With these leadership styles, decisions are made jointly by a group or groups of individuals (Chitpin, 2020) as opposed to a single individual in power. Space is given to individuals of different backgrounds and varying levels within the organization to be involved in decisions (Seong & Hong, 2018). At the heart of decisions in these contexts is a belief in a unified vision and an emphasis placed on collaborative interactions. There is a commitment that is required from all the individuals involved (Chitpin, 2020).

Complexity & Change

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Often decisions are far from straightforward; environments become more complex daily. Think of the acronym VUCA. In leadership circles, VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (Hallo, et al., 2020). VUCA gives language to the types of challenges that influence leaders as they make decisions for their organization. “There is a current tendency to view our world as being particularly unstable, complex, and fast-changing — full of unknown unknowns” (Hallo, et al., 2020, p. 5).

Values & Alignment

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So now, consider what values are brought to light by the decisions made in complex, changing environments by an organization that leverages shared leadership. It is interesting to, not merely think about the outcome of a decision but, understand the values that drove the leaders to make that decision. Think of the values that the decision upholds. Consider further, do the values align with the stated values of the organization? Is there value alignment throughout this process? Does the impact of the decisions align with the values intentioned originally by the organization? Does being agile mean that situational values are at play? Where is the line? What is the breaking point for the organization, for the leaders, and for the stakeholders impacted?

Reflective Exercise

Reflection is one way to reassess the influence an individual has in their environment. Spend 15 minutes contemplating these questions:

  • What are some of the big decisions you have been involved with recently? What values would you say were upheld by those decisions? Do they align with your personal values? What about the organization’s stated values?
  • What are some routine decisions you make? What values would you say are upheld by those decisions — Do they align with your personal values? What about the organization’s stated values?
  • Do you see any discrepancies? Do you see values and decisions that bring you pride? Any areas for you to improve as a leader?
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