The Spirit of a Great Leader

Abundance Authenticity Purpose


Key Point: I strongly believe one cannot be a GREAT leader unless you lead spiritually. I’m not talking about religion or human perfection because you and I both know that’s a contradiction. As people, our very imperfection defines our humanness. I believe really GREAT business leaders, in spite of their imperfections, achieve profit more often through abundance than scarcity. They are more interested in growing, expanding, creating and giving than taking from others. They are more driven by the sustainable, people value they create than simply beating a competitor.

I appreciate the viewpoint of Rev. Scotty McLennan who is a minister, lawyer, author and the former dean for religious life at Stanford. As a lecturer in political economy at Stanford Graduate School of Business, McLennan uses literature to help students explore the moral and spiritual issues in their own careers and he emphases the following in a recent Stanford blog:

“Business people spend the majority of their waking hours at work, and many of them want to find it meaningful. I wrote a book with a colleague at Harvard Business School where we tried to help readers integrate their spirituality and ethical commitments with their daily work lives. Ultimately, I believe this leads to more successful businesses and to greater satisfaction of customers and other stakeholders… Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, has spoken and written about how he has been influenced by the Buddhism of the Dalai Lama. He considers the number one management principle in his own work life and for his company to be managing compassionately. This goes beyond empathy to walking in another’s shoes and taking collaborative action together. He is convinced that compassion can be taught not only in school, but also in corporate learning and development programs. A fellow minister who heard Jeff Weiner speak on ‘The Art of Conscious Leadership’ at the 2013 Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco described Weiner as making the most inspiring contribution to the conference. Not only was his spiritual commitment to his employees and customers strongly evidenced, but also he has a business leadership dream to expand compassion worldwide through his powerful social media company.” 

Character Moves: 

  1. What is your spiritual IQ? This is every bit as important as your IQ, EQ, PQ (Positive Quotient). If you want to measure this, the best work out there is by Cindy Wigglesworth. Take her SQ21 assessment. It’s an eye opener. 
  1. Develop or refresh your organization and personal purpose statement around the concept of making things better for people. If you do that, most employees will rally around the business. If your purpose statement is only or primarily about creating shareholder financial value and return, I promise your organization will eventually stumble. Why? Very few people jump out of bed in the morning to dedicate themselves to making shareholders richer. On the other hand, many feel terrific when their meaningful work creates sustainable value… Including a strong shareholder return. 
  1. An organization’s priority and purpose should center on creating meaningful value for humankind, followed by a commitment to team members, customers and finally shareholders… In that order!! What is your purpose and value being created for other people? 
  1. As I’ve noted repeatedly in recent blogs, put your technology away for a few minutes each day, and find time to quietly refuel. A little meditation will contribute to your spiritual quests. 

Be an intentional spiritual leader and be proud of it. 

Spiritual leadership in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: It may sound cliché or over preached, but there is a certain value and benefit that attaches itself to helping others. When you do it, it “feels” great, which in turn sparks that spiritual connection to the task. You hear about businesses doing a little something extra for their clients or customers, and that little “something” makes all the difference. It keeps your customers returning, and in turn, you profit in more ways than just through monetization.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis