Published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 19, 2003
THERE ARE ALMOST as many different forms of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept. The first was the authoritarian model of leadership where a single leader demanded compliance and followers obeyed without questioning.
Next was transactional leadership that was marked by self-interest and making deals often political, economic or psychological in nature. The relationship is flitting with no enduring purpose. It often breaks down when the terms of agreement or promises are not kept. Fear and mistrust permeate in an organization governed by an authoritarian and transactional leadership.
In contrast, a transformational type of leadership engages the follower, where both leader and follower pursue one purpose, one mission and one vision.
Quality of a spiritual leader
Today, leadership has gained a new dimension with spirituality. A number of authors and researchers maintain that the difference of spiritual leadership from previous types of leadership is its being heart-driven. Writer Janet O. Hagberg cites the following qualities characteristic of a spiritual leader: self-reflective, leads from the heart, recognizes oneâ€™s gifts, full of trust, knows oneâ€™s self has a mission enabling others, connects with others and with God or a higher power, is at peace with himself and has integrity.
Another author and researcher, Gilbert Fairholm, suggests three foundation stones for spiritual leadership: morality, stewardship and community.
Spiritual leadership was likewise recognized in the writings of business researcher and writer Jim Collins.
In his qualitative research of 11 companies, Collins reveals that truly great companies are visionary and values driven. Their leaders exhibit what Collins calls Level 5 leadership whose qualities demonstrate all the characteristics present in a leader with high spiritual intelligence including strong faith and profound personal humility.
Spiritual intelligence has found concrete form in the works of Dana Zoharâ€™s SQ (Spiritual intelligence) and Dr. Richard Wolmanâ€™s psychomatrix spiritual inventory (PSI) which is a ground-breaking system for determining the individualâ€™s level of spiritual intelligence without reference to a specific religious ideology.
Zohar, a quantum physicist, establishes that there is a God-spot activity in the brain that provides each human being with a spiritual intelligence. God-spot is a area behind the temples in the temporal lobe area of the brain that triggers fundamental questions like, â€œWhy am I here? Why am I in this relationship?, Why am I wasting my time in this planet? etc.â€ A magnetic meter near the temples that registers a much stronger magnetic field during spiritual thinking measures the God-spot activity.
Zohar maintains that indications of spiritual intelligence include: one, selfawareness, you know who you really are and recognize that you are connected with the whole universe; two, a values-led vision indicative of a need to naturally want to serve which is characteristic of humanity; three, the capacity to face and use adversity which means owning oneâ€™s mistake and using pain and tragedy to learn; four, holistic which refers to how an individual sees the connection between things including being open to and interested in everything; five, diversity which means to see what is different in oneâ€™s person and say â€˜thank God for that!â€™; six, independence; seven, the tendency to ask why; eight, the ability to put things in a bigger perspective or larger context of meaning and finally, spontaneity that refers to oneâ€™s responsiveness to the world.
Wolman (2001) identifies seven factors that make up human spiritual experience and behavior. They are divinity, mindfulness, intellectuality, community, extrasensory perception, childhood spirituality and trauma.
Wolman states that being able to understand oneâ€™s spiritual make-up strengths and limitations are essential to being able to see and improve personal relationships and relationship to the world.
Wolmanâ€™s PSI has been applied to tens of thousands of individuals in leadership and administrative positions worldwide. The instrument was recently pilot-tested among a number of secondary school administrators of Region 4 through an exploratory study conducted by Dr. Roberto T. Borromeo, Chair of the Education Department of the De La Salle University. The 80-item inventory is a listing of psycho-spiritual statements that describe the spiritual experience of individuals regardless of age, gender, ethnic, cultural or religious background.
The study indicated the following results among the respondent administrators:
Community. The highest obtained score by the respondents is on community. According to Wolman, a high score on community indicates involvement with a wide variety of social activities that relate to charity like working with the less fortunate and socially disadvantaged. Likewise, high scorers often attend religious services, consult with clergy or spiritual leaders, and participate in classes, workshops and conferences concerning spirituality or may be members of a spiritual community.
Divinity. The respondentsâ€™ second highest score is on divinity. Wolman describes respondents who score high on divinity as individuals who demonstrate a strong awareness of and connection to a Higher Being or Divine Presence often when experiencing the beauty and power of nature and the arts.
Childhood spirituality. The third highest score was obtained on childhood spirituality. A high score in this factor indicates frequent and meaningful spiritual activities early in life.
Extrasensory perception. The factor, extrasensory perception, ranked fourth among the local educational administrators. Wolman describes those who score high in this factor are individuals who demonstrate psychic awareness that encompasses knowledge outside conventional ways of knowing.
Trauma. A high score in this factor indicates that many among the respondent administrators have experienced physical or emotional pain and suffering.
Mindfulness and intellectuality. The lowest scores were on mindfulness and intellectuality. A low score on mindfulness means that the respondent administrators had little concern about their own physical well-being. On the other hand, a low rating on intellectuality indicates greater involvement with rituals and less of real, deep, spiritual reflection.
Overall, Borromeoâ€™s study confirms that local educational administrators exhibit a number of characteristics that make up the spiritual leader. These are the qualities of community, connection with others and with God or a higher power and values. A gap exists however, in the area of self-renewal and the practice of a deeper, more meaningful self-reflection likewise, a most significant quality of a spiritual leader.