Spiritual Leadership in Organisations

Interest in the topic of leadership in an organization is constantly growing, as well as the search for the conditions of successful leadership. Based on this search for the conditions of successful leadership, many leadership theories have emerged: the Great Man theory with an attempt to answer the question “who a leader is”; behavioral theory with “what a leader does”; contingency theory with “where does leadership happen or occur”; and other types of leadership with “what does a leader think about, mind, and do”.

A lot of concepts have been developed that make up these theories. The reason for these theories and concepts is to search for the most effective leadership style.

However, the main theories narrowly focus on one side of leadership—on traits, abilities, skills, behaviors, or contextual factors. Thus, an attempt to find the success of a leader is constantly undertaken.

The effect of spirituality on a person’s ability to lead others has been studied. Many research studies have shown that influence through vision, values, and relationships is better than influence through fear, power, and control. Moreover, transition from a leadership-centred workplace to a human-centered workplace has led to the emergence of different dimensions of spiritual leadership as prominent in today’s world.

This topic of spiritual leadership is relatively new. However, a growing number of research in the field of spiritual leadership in management literature indicate that it is an interesting topic, gaining more attention among scholars, and it promises to contribute significantly to the growth of more holistic and sustainable organizations.

Spiritual leadership seems to be a holistic view when compared with other theories. This concerns not only a single trait, behavior, or skill, or contextual factors like previous theories. Spirituality in leadership focuses on proceeding in accordance with universal values such as honesty, integrity, love, compassion, gratefulness that have an impact on a leader’s traits, behaviors, attitudes, and abilities. The spiritual values are needed for taking responsible and ethical—meaning sustainable—activities.

Following these values, it determines what we think, and who we are, what we do, and how we manage this. Spiritual leaders are successful because they do not need to change themselves or other people, situations, and organizations. They rather awaken themselves and other people through emphasizing spiritual values and, in this way, transform situations and organizations into more sustainable ones.

The consciousness of inter-connectedness in all things of the universe and being connected to something big allows one to take responsibility for own actions and to see the impact of these actions on others, also on future generations and the environment. This leads to making responsible and sustainable decisions. Thus, it seems that the spiritual leadership theory is worth further development in the context of sustainability.

Workplace Spirituality

Workplace spirituality is one of the main developing research topics closely related to workplace sustainability. The benefits of spirituality in the workplace begin with job satisfaction, peace, commitment, feeling of a sense of job meaning and purpose, achievement goals, improved employee productivity or attainment of organizational performance, and end with social responsibility, ethical decisions, caring for others and the environment.

Many researchers have reported that spiritual leadership influences society and the world. Although that has not been the subject of this study, it shows that the concept of spiritual leadership is not limited to the context of leading employees and creating a sustainable workplace.

Exploring the relationship between spiritual leadership and the workplace provides many pieces of evidence about the positive influence of spiritual values and employee and organizational benefits. Now, it seems that the time has come to identify specific practices regarding the creation of a sustainable workplace by spirituality.

Spirituality in the context of the workplace means harmony with self and others which, in turn, causes harmony with society and the environment; this is sustainability. Spirituality seems to be the source of sustainability; thus, a spiritual workplace seems to be the source of a sustainable workplace.

This means that this concept may be further developed in order to provide a new insight into creating a sustainable workplace. It is important to determine HRM practices that enhance spiritual leadership in order to create spirituality and sustainability in the workplace; it is important to explore the correlations between variables of spiritual leadership, the spiritual workplace and the sustainable workplace as well.

Spiritual leadership is an emerging field of research, with many studies that demonstrate the need for spirituality in the workplace. The development of a spiritual leadership theory as a theoretical construct seems to be relevant and applicable for creating and maintaining a sustainable workplace.


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