I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership lately. I’m writing several online training courses on leadership for lynda.com, inc., so I’ve been immersed in the latest research and best practices.
I’m struck by how all the latest findings are pointing to the benefits of soul-based leadership. That in order to maximize your own potential and those around you, you have to come from a place of authentic and deep connection.
Now, it’s true that some people don’t do that — but the research is clear that the most effective and successful leaders do. That in order to maximize the success of any organization, you must motivate and engage the people who work there. And you can’t get to motivation and engagement without connecting to a meaningful purpose and creating an environment where people feel seen and valued.
We spend the majority of our lives in the workplace and as a result, much of our human and spiritual development occurs there too. Mostly, this goes in the background and underneath our daily duties, but effective leaders know how to cultivate the best in others.
Successful leaders are intentional about tending to the people they work with — and realize the honor the comes with holding the space for these souls.
And I’m not just talking about top level executives. A leader is anyone who’s words or actions shape the experience of another, so you can definitely be a leader without having a certain title or role.
I’ve been reading all of the major thought leaders for a couple decades now: Bolman & Deal, Kouzes & Posner, Hersey & Blanchard, Carter-Scott, Lencioni, etcetera. And every single one of them is now focusing on aspects of servant leadership in their work.
Servant leadership is the idea that we are here to be of service to others and support a powerful purpose that goes beyond the product or service that our organization produces.
It’s actually been fascinating to watch this transformation in the literature. The more we study and learn about humans through the lenses of neuroscience, psychology, and even quantum physics, the more clear it becomes that something bigger, and more important is going on.
Our companies and corporations are part of this societal tipping point too — that we are moving to a more connected way of being in the world.
Consider how you, too, can be part of this tipping point. Realize that you are a leader — that by showing up authentically, you can help create connected and soulful workplaces. You can do this by modeling it to others as well as talking about the benefits.
Here are my favorite books on this topic — consider reading them and giving them to other leaders you know.
- Leading with Soul by Bolman & Deal
- Leading at a Higher Level by Blanchard
- Daring Greatly by Brown
- The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner
Leading with soul is something we can all do, every day, both at work and at home. And this is how we’ll create the world we want to live in.