This week in my M.A. course, we discussed leadership competencies, specifically the need for spirituality and integrity for leaders.
Spirituality was defined as: centered, eternal awareness, moral concern, recognition of the sacred, meaning and purpose.
Integrity was defined as: oneness, wholeness, connectedness, all parts intersect and reflect the whole; you are who you claim to be.
I view these competencies as vital character traits and essential practices for an effective leader. I have experienced the negative consequences of leadership that lacked these competencies: spiritual manipulation, pride, selfishness, ego, false pretense, corruption, and debt. Sadly, I admit that sometimes I have been the one who caused those negative consequences.
Why do you think that spirituality and integrity are important for leaders?
On the other hand, a leader with spirituality and integrity competencies displays authenticity, emotional intelligence, and consistency in being, knowing and doing. An authentic leader earns trust; a leader with emotional intelligence builds healthy relationships; a leader with life and work consistency provides a safe and dynamic environment for productive action. In my organization we call this the “heart of the leader”. I want to be a leader known by these characteristics and practices.
How are you growing in spirituality and integrity competency?
Every one of my fellow students agreed that these competencies are crucial for leaders, although many admitted that sometimes our own character weaknesses or external pressures of urgency, cost, ease, etc. make it difficult to actually live this way on a consistent basis.
What pressures make it difficult for you to practice spirituality and integrity?
One of the students reminded us that the most helpful resource for strengthening this competency is vulnerable and honest accountability relationships. We need others in our life who can encourage us to make the right choices even when it is hard, and who confront us when we are making mistakes. Those people rarely just appear magically in my life. I need to take the initiative to seek them out, and then I need to have the openness to allow them to speak freely into my life.
Do you have accountability relationships in your life?
Do you have other thoughts about spirituality and integrity for leaders? Please add a comment… I’d love to learn more from you!
More on emotional intelligence: http://www.eiconsortium.org/measures/eqi.html