A Training Program in Spiritually Oriented Leadership

Inner Growth for Outer Change

Authored by: Elsa Lau , Sarah B. Sherman , Lisa Miller

Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138915633
eBook ISBN: 9781315690100
Adobe ISBN: 9781317426110


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The literature on spiritually oriented leadership has emerged primarily from the field of organizational psychology. Spirituality has been defined in many ways, but the aggregate literature generally holds spirituality as a sense of relationship to a greater presence, a force that is positive and guiding. Spirituality can exist within a religious tradition or outside of a religious tradition. Previous work has identified the capacity for spirituality as innate, and its cultivation through religion as one path of socialization (Kendler et al., 1997; Miller, 2015). A recent literature review of 140 articles in the field has provided an overview of the quantitative and qualitative studies supporting the utility of applied spirituality in the workplace (Karakas, 2010). In the twenty-first century, with the growing evidence that spiritual concerns are intrinsic to wellbeing in the professional environment (Beheshtifar & Zare, 2013), there is a great need for leaders and organizations to understand how and why spirituality works, and develop better methods of assessment (Ashmos & Duchon, 2000). Urbanization and increased work hours have transformed the workplace into the primary source of community for many individuals. Although the time and resources for community involvement are limited, aspects of spirituality, such as the drive for connection and meaning, remain to be addressed. As employees search for meaning through the workplace, employers can lead by example, provide support, or ignore spirituality as a critical resource that directly and indirectly supports organizational goals.

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