SPIRITUALLY INTELLIGENT LEADERSHIP (SILEADERSHIP™)
According to the legendary Harvard Business School professor and leadership expert, Abraham Zaleznik, what elevates leaders over managers is their ability to inspire those around them1.
The Latin root for the word “spirit” is spiritus, which means the “breath of life.” To in-spire literally means to breathe life into something. While breathing this vitality into those around them, Spiritually Intelligent Leaders also bring passion, purpose, and cohesion to their organizations. Their teams are more passionately engaged, work harder and around a shared purpose, have lower turnover, express greater team spirit, and enjoy higher morale.
And while leaders of all types are more and more appreciating the value of becoming inspirational, it’s not as easy as it might seem. Focusing on how to inspire others before getting inspired ourselves is like putting the cart before the horse–confusing the effect and the cause. To inspire others, first and foremost, we need to become inspired ourselves—the cause. Only when our own spark is ignited and our flame shines brightly can we ignite a resonant flame in others, getting them inspired—the effect.
When you get inspired, your own passionate sense of mission, vision, and purpose makes your cause irresistible to others to join, forming a passionately engaged community, whole-heartedly committed to your cause. And their inspiration will further fuel yours. But it all starts within by finding the source and power of your own inspiration. It all starts with becoming a Spiritually Intelligent Leader.
“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born
and the day we discover why.“ – Mark Twain
WHAT IS SPIRITUALLY INTELLIGENT LEADERSHIP?
Based on Intelligensi Co-Founder and Chairman Yosi Amram’s doctoral research studying forty-two CEOs and two hundred and ten members of their staff, Spiritually Intelligent Leadership is made up of seven dimensions. Drawing upon each of these seven, Spiritually Intelligent Leaders:
Meaning: Articulate a vision for service and instill a sense of purpose
Grace: Lead with dignity, joy, trust, and gratitude
Inner-Directed: Align with and inspire others from an inner core of authenticity
Community: Foster cohesion, connectedness, and collaboration
Presence: Bring full attention, focus, and clarity to every moment
Truth: Motivate oneself and others based on truthfulness
Wisdom: Tap into intuition
By developing these dimensions, leaders become Spiritually Intelligent Leaders, creating a powerfully engaged, mission-driven, and aligned community.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Yosi’s doctoral research-validated results show that Spiritually Intelligent Leaders are more effective—they lead teams that are more committed, work harder, have lower turnover, and exhibit higher morale2, 3. Further research by others has shown that Spiritually Intelligent Leaders have greater life and job satisfaction4, 5, improved mental health6, higher individual work7 and organizational performance8, and even produce better financial results for their organizations9. These findings have been further proven through Yosi’s coaching work with over one hundred CEOs, a number of whom have built successful businesses, leading organizations with thousands of employees and annual revenues in the billions.
And, regardless of scale, many others have discovered the same results, including a research team from Bain & Co.— inspired leaders lead teams that are twice as productive10.
As people become Spiritually Intelligent Leaders, growing more trusting and centered within themselves, they mobilize deeper meaning and satisfaction in their lives and the lives of their teams. They fuel their passion with deeper purpose, becoming more inspired and inspiring thus building cohesive and aligned organizations around their mission11.
These Spiritually Intelligent Leaders strike the seemingly impossible balance of leadership: standing their ground with confidence while also listening to others with receptive openness — cultivating collaborative and creative solutions in their team. Thus, they foster a sense of community around them, multiplying the power of any individual “I” with the power of the larger “we.”
The Seven Dimensions of Spiritually Intelligent Leadership (SIL) and their associated competencies are diagrammed here.
HOW SPIRITUALLY INTELLIGENT LEADER ARE YOU ALREADY?
HOW CAN YOU BECOME MORE SO?
Click here to find out.
“In dreams begins responsibility.“ – William Butler Yeats
1. Zaleznik, Abraham (2004) Managers and Leaders: Are They Different? Harvard Business Review (January 2004).
2. Amram, Yosi (2009). The Contribution of Emotional And Spiritual Intelligences to Effective Business Leadership (PDF). Doctoral dissertation, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA.
3. Amram, Y., Luskin, F., Posner, B., & Shapiro, S (2010). The Contribution of Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence To Explaining Leadership (PDF). ITP, Stanford, & Santa Clara University Working Paper, Palo Alto, CA.
4. Yahyazadeh-Jeloudar, S., & Lotfi-Goodarzi, F. (2012). What is the Relationship Between Spiritual Intelligence and Job Satisfaction Among MA and BA Teachers? by. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(8).
5. Koražija, M., Žižek, S. Š., & Mumel, D. (2016). The Relationship Between Spiritual Intelligence and Work Satisfaction Among Leaders and Employees. Our economy, 62(2), 51-60.
6. Pant, N. & Srivastava, S. K. (2019). The Impact of Spiritual Intelligence, Gender and Educational Background on Mental Health Among College Students. Journal of Religion & Health (58), 87-108.
7. Rani, A. A., Abidin, I., & Hamid, M. R. (2013). The impact of spiritual intelligence on work performance: Case studies in government hospitals of east coast of Malaysia by. The Macrotheme Review, 2(3), 46-59.
8. Malik, M. S., & Tariq, S. (2016). Impact of spiritual intelligence on organizational performance. International Review of Management and Marketing, 6(2), 289-297.
9. Ayranci, E. (2011). Effects of top Turkish managers’ emotional and spiritual intelligences on their organizational financial performance. Business Intelligence Journal, 4(1), 9-36.
10. Bain & Company (2016). How Leaders Inspire: Cracking the Code. Available at: https://www.bain.com/insights/how-leaders-inspire-cracking-the-code/.
11. Birchett-Street, Pamela (2018). The Experience of Spiritual Intelligence in Leaders of Complementary and Integrative Medicine Organization. Doctoral dissertation, Saybrook University, Oakland, CA.