Monday, October 30, 2006

Towards an Understanding of Leadership and Spirituality

I am chairing a panel entitled "Towards an Understanding of Leadership and Spirituality", this week at the International Leadership Association (ILA) Conference in Chicago, with Drs. Diane Chandler, Michael Hartsfield and Karin Klenke. Here is an abstract of the session:

In this session, four papers present some of the current topics and themes that deal with research in the field of Leadership and Spirituality. Bekker proposes that the ethical and theological concept of kenosis (voluntary self-emptying) provides leaders with an alternative approach to the power games of contemporary corporate leadership. Such a kenotic approach to leadership requires a resolute divesting of prestige and power and in doing so enable the leader and follower to enter into a new relationship marked by radical equality and self-sacrificial service. Chandler reports that work overload is a casualty of the modern workplace, with leadership burnout being an unfortunate result. Chandler explores how spirituality contributes to both resilience and well-being and also impacts burnout within one group of working professionals. Hartsfield illustrates that sustainable improvement in individual and organizational performance results from leaders connecting with followers at a deeper spiritual and emotional level. This presentation considers the risk this emotional labor represents to long-term effectiveness of leaders whose leadership style is marked by a deep emotional investment in followers. And finally, Klenke presents a theoretical model that integrates leadership and spiritual development. This model draws from authentic, spiritual, self-sacrificial and the life stream model. The paper concludes with recommendations for empirical research.