The Transpersonal (Spiritual) Journey Towards Leadership Excellence – Using 8ICOL®
Travelling from Ego Based Leadership to Transpersonal Leadership where the focus is beyond the ego to the needs of ALL the stakeholders of the organisation, each given appropriate priorities. The Spiritual essence of leadership is defined as “Personal Conscience” plus “Self Determination.”
Transpersonal (Spiritual) Leadership is about the development of a leader beyond their personal ego in the areas of Personal Conscience and Self Determination. These two competencies are the most advanced personal characteristics to be attained in LeaderShape’s 8ICOL™ model which provides the path for the journey towards leadership excellence. We like to be very careful about using the terms “Spiritual” and “Spiritual Intelligence” as we wish to avoid any suggestion of mysticism, magic or religion in our programmes.
LeaderShape’s “8 Integrated Competencies of Leadership” 8ICOL™ Model:
The 8ICOL™ Model has been developed to provide a complete journey towards leadership excellence. 8ICOL™ can be used to assess progress along the journey and to identify strengths and development needs. It is a model that integrates Rational Intelligence (IQ), Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Spiritual Intelligence (SI) together with Personal Preferences (PP). The model contains 8 prime competencies, comprising of 76 sub-competencies which in turn is made up of 316 statements to define leadership excellence. Like LeaderShape’s ground-breaking LEIPATM assessment tool for emotional intelligence and leadership styles, it measures the difference between observed and desired behaviours and attitudes in a specific context.
© LeaderShape 2012 – All Rights Reserved
The 8 competencies are - working from the bottom up in the diagram below - Intellect & Judgment, Personal Preferences, Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Management, Self Determination and Personal Conscience. The first six are largely well established as primarily IQ and EI competencies which form an important part of a leader's development. Indeed, the EI competencies provide excellent correlations to 6 different leadership styles which should be used contextually in different circumstance. The last two competencies are about "spiritual intelligence" but to avoid association with mystical and religious connotations we refer to them as the transpersonal (beyond the ego) competencies of Self Determination and Personal Conscience.
© LeaderShape 2012 – All Rights Reserved
Development towards leadership excellence is an organised and continuous journey along and through these 8 competencies with frequent iterations. Continually increasing awareness, inner self confidence, understanding and self assessment are the keys to progress. However, to succeed, leaders must learn the detailed "how to" of change for themselves and others. This requires developing new habits and authentic expression and behaviour. Recent neuroscience research supports methodologies developed in the field of psychology that demonstrate that “change” (the essence of leadership) is initiated by insights which are the initial spark towards individuals finding their own solutions.
Because of the possible (mis-)understanding, interpretations and connections with the use of the word “Spiritual” we prefer the term, Transpersonal Leadership rather than the term Spiritual Leadership or Spiritually Intelligent Leadership. We believe “Transpersonal” appropriately represents what we mean by leadership that is beyond the ego. Ego based leadership is about power for control, prestige and personal reward; the kind we normally come up against! On the other hand, and although competition is a good and necessary thing, Transpersonal Leadership is about focusing on the needs and aspirations of ALL the stakeholders involved in an organisation including the community, and “yes”, the planet. Typical stakeholders in an organisation include:
- The customer
- The employees
- The suppliers
- The shareholders
- The executive
- The community
- The planet
An interesting and valuable exercise is to attempt to list in order of priority all the stakeholders in the sustainable performance of the organisation. In a transpersonal context it is difficult to justify anything other than the “client” of whatever organisation as the most important stakeholder. But there must be a clear, understood and clearly communicated symbiosis between all the stakeholders.
Based on L. W. Fry’s seminal article “Towards a Theory of Spiritual Leadership” in 2003 (see insert below), and including both related competencies of Personal Conscience and Self Determination (the latter of which is often not included in discussions of “Spirituality”) we have developed our own definition of Transpersonal Leadership within the context of leadership inside an organisation.
A Definition of TRANSPERSONAL LEADERSHIP:
The values, attitudes and behaviours necessary to intrinsically motivate oneself and others so all have a genuine desire to:
- Serve others – and in so doing deriving purpose and meaning in life, and
- Establish an organisational culture whereby leaders have genuine care and concern together with appreciation and understanding for self and others (that is, all stakeholders), while having the will, energy, aspiration and sense of doing one’s best (excellence) to achieve the highest level of performance to fulfil the organisation’s vision.
L. W. Fry in his article “Towards a Theory of Spiritual Leadership” in 2003 defined Spiritual Leadership as “the values, attitudes and behaviours necessary to intrinsically motivate oneself and others so that they have a sense of calling and membership”. He defined “Calling” as the experience of how one makes a difference through service to others and, in doing so, derives purpose and meaning in life. “Membership” on the other hand involves establishing an organisational culture based on altruistic love whereby leaders have genuine care and concern together with appreciation and understanding for self and others. This definition fits the model we have developed very well.
Before embarking on the stage of the journey to develop their Transpersonal Leadership competencies, we would always recommend that a candidate has first demonstrated a good level of competence in Emotional Intelligence** which will better enable a change in mindset. The reason for this is that developing the competencies related to Personal Conscience and Self Determination requires a degree of self awareness and inner self-confidence that is not present in the person who is not emotionally intelligent. The journey to Transpersonal Leadership excellence is difficult. Success requires diligence, regular focus and attention, and a new openness. It also requires participation in exercises that could otherwise be considered mentally too threatening or uncomfortable (though none of them are dangerous in any way). It requires mental and physical exercise (but not limiting to age or gender)
** Note: It is recommended that candidates have completed an EI competency programme and that their EI has been assessed through a tool such as LeaderShape’s LEIPA 360o. Ideally, candidates will have completed LeaderShape’s “The Foundation of a Journey Towards Leadership Excellence”, phases 1 through 5.
As explained, the two main competencies of Transpersonal Leadership are Personal Conscience and Self Determination. Personal Conscience is about:
- Ethical Behaviour
While Meaning and Beliefs should be beyond the judgement of one individual on another, it is reasonable to expect a Transpersonal Leader to be able to state their view of the meaning of life and to have a definable set of beliefs.
Morals, in this context refer to the rules of conduct of a group or society, which may differ from one to another, are based on conviction rather than proven evidence and which may or may not be ethical.
Ethical Behaviour demands acting in a way that is consistent with ones own values and doing ones best to ensure the organisation acts ethically.
Values and Principles can be broken down into the following categories:
| VALUES (“Virtues”) of a Leader:
Note *: The first three are consistently listed as the most important traits of a leader in virtually all employee surveys.
|PRINCIPLES of a Leader: Spiritual or Transpersonal Practises
SELF DETERMINATION can be sub-divided into the following categories:
For a leader to develop their Spiritual Intelligence and Transpersonal Leadership, they must embark on a journey of openness, vulnerability, understanding their shadow personality, and appreciating how they are perceived by others.
Such a leader must also further develop other so-called “sub-competencies” within the Integral Competencies of Self Awareness (eg: Spiritual Self-awareness), Self Management (eg: Vulnerability) and Relationship Management (eg: Spiritual Relationship Mastery)to a new Transpersonal level of mastery.
Within the Integral Competency of Social Awareness, one must develop Compassion and Universal Awareness.
Towards Transpersonal Leadership Excellence
The journey follows through the following phases:
- Understanding and becoming more effective in Intuitive thinking (allowing the “inner you” to guide you to do the “right thing”) and using it to increase the effectiveness of decision-making. Intuition plays a vital and often unused role in effective decisions making. MBTI Step2 can have an important contribution here to identify an individual’s position on the Sensing / Intuition axis and whether it is dominant or auxiliary.
- An introduction to neuroscience and how recent research can help us to be better leaders, combined with an understanding of the history of “intelligences” and the latest related philosophies
- Becoming an Authentic Leader. Being who you really are – perhaps more than who you think you are or want to be.
- The importance of Personal Conscience and Self Determination in the role of a corporate or other organisational leader.
- A Transpersonal Leadership Competency Assessment (TRANSASS) which is part self-assessment and part multi-rated 360o. It measures the competencies of Personal Conscience and Self Determination.
- A continuing programme to develop Transpersonal Leadership focusing on the development areas identified in the TRANSASS. This includes various interventions of both the mind and body including coaching, group facilitation, reflection, meditations, experiential events and physical exercise disciplines.
The journey towards excellence in Transpersonal Leadership is not easy. It not only demands hard work, focus and determination, it also requires the actual “transformation” from an egocentric focus to thinking beyond the ego naturally. And it requires time.
Every individual will experience this journey in a very personal way. There is no one answer, there is no one path.
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