The driving force of better leadership

BY Archana Law

Although spirituality is often associated with religion, in reality it’s possible for one to be religious without being spiritual – and vice versa. It’s similar to being able to ace every test in college and struggle in life after graduation. But if academic grades aren’t enough to prove that a person is smart, how do the world’s most successful people spot the truly, practically intelligent?

Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos looks for the ability to change one’s mind frequently. Tesla’s Elon Musk is all about examining skills over credentials. Computer wizard Steve Jobs declared the key to being truly smart isn’t deep expertise in one field but ability to make unexpected connections between fields.

Intelligence is defined as “the ability to acquire, and apply knowledge and skills.” Since German psychologist William Stern coined the term in 1912 as a quantitative way of measuring intelligence, IQ continues to be an important metric to gauge a person’s abi­lity for leadership and success.

As the term ‘emotional intelligence’ gained popularity in the 1990s however, research showed it encompasses the skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive and analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas – but he or she may still not be a great leader.

According to American author Danah Zohar, spiritual intelligence (SQ) is the ability to access higher meaning, values, abiding purpose and unconscious aspects of one’s self, and then embed these in living richer and more creative lives.

US author Cindy Wigglesworth defines SQ as the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion while maintaining inner and outer peace regardless of the situation.

From the standpoint of gauging leadership potential, results and business profitability, SQ may seem awkward! At its core however, it is strengthening one’s ability to act from a higher self.

This higher self is the source of ethical, admirable and noble qualities. It sees the bigger picture, acts from a higher perspective, makes wise and compassionate decisions, adjusts to life’s ebb and flow, and is aligned with values and life purpose. When we act from this position, our business decisions are better and stress is reduced.

According to researcher Peter Saul, the behaviour listed below indicates high levels of spiritual intelligence, which can create a cultural shift in organisations.

SELF-AWARENESS Having long-term goals and strategies, anticipating the impact of individual actions, and assessing personal strengths and weaknesses in line with how others see them.

SPONTANEITY Shows that risk taking, experimenting and exploring will add continuous value while having fun at work.

VALUE LED Being vision and value led involves expressing concern when the organisational alignment with stated values is missing.

DIVERSITY Dealing with the responses of external stakeholders to actions and decisions the organisation may take as it strives for positive impact, inviting inputs from a wide range of perspectives in decision making, respecting and seriously considering ideas that challenge the status quo, and encouraging individual expression.

INDEPENDENCE Considering the views of others but taking responsibility for decisions and actions, staying focussed while performing critical tasks and standing firm on points of view.

HUMILITY Giving credit for the knowledge and achievements of others, learning from past mistakes and deferring to others’ greater wisdom or experience.

COMPREHENSION Understanding problems before initiating corrective action, offering others the opportunity to explain their actions before giving negative feedback, and looking for core causes and patterns behind problems.

LETTING GO Finding several approaches to problem solving, preparing to let go of previously held ideas that don’t work and seeking to broaden one’s experience by venturing outside comfort zones.

PERSPECTIVE Seeking to learn from mistakes rather than blaming others for them, persisting in the face of difficulties and drawing on inner reserves of energy when things go wrong.

VOCATION Going the extra mile to achieve excellent results, seeing work as an important part of life, and expressing appreciation for opportunities or gifts received in the workplace or at home.

So as you begin 2023, evaluate your spiritual outlook and practices. It’s said that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. We’re often so caught up in the human experience that we forget our greater nature.

As you connect with a deeper layer of existence through whatever practices resonate with you, you’ll find that business and leadership life orient themselves towards more fulfilment, better inspiration and greater success.