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Leading from a Spiritual
What would you think if a senior vice-president from a
multinational telecom firm said to you:
there’s a time for spiritual leadership, it’s now. You must
connect with a person’s soul, at the deepest core. It can
sometimes be lonely but you also feel happy and grounded inside.
You also embrace your own humanness and imperfections and it
keeps you humble as a leader and yet still strong.
She and other executives like her have helped us realise that
spirituality is an emerging basis for highly successful business
leadership. While these words are an inspiration to many, they
can also evoke scepticism, doubt, and criticism.
To put these reactions into perspective, we’ve found that over
the last 100 years, four distinct contexts of leadership have
emerged in business – each representing a fundamental change in
how we view the nature of business leadership and will
therefore shape the perspectives and reactions of its leaders.
Paternal-mechanistic – From this view,
business is “survival of the fittest,” and
competition is a win-lose game, where the goal
is wealth creation (specifically,
profit-maximization) on behalf of business
From this view, the purpose of business and
leadership is still wealth creation, but with a
win-win mentality in which “enlightened
self-interest” supplants “selfish-interest.”
Holistic – From this view, the goal of business and
leadership evolves beyond "wealth creation for shareholders"
to "wealth creation for the optimal benefit of all stakeholders" – including shareholders, employees,
customers, community, nature, society, and future generations.
– From this view, the nature of
business itself is transformed – so that the primary purpose of
business and leadership is spiritual fulfilment and selfless service to society, where both are motivated from a
transcendent Source of consciousness. Wealth creation is no longer
the goal; it becomes a means for enabling and
sustaining this purpose.
Each of the four contexts of business leadership all currently
co-exist, sometimes not very peacefully, in today’s business
world. Within a company, different leaders might operate from
any one of these four contexts, and any single leader might
operate from a blend of contexts.
The following research and publications are designed to
contribute to this emerging spiritual-based context and to
empower and guide those who are committed to leading from
a spiritual basis.
The Global Dharma Center,
in partnership with Dr. Peter Pruzan, professor emeritus at the
Copenhagen Business School and his wife, Kirsten Pruzan
and former editor who worked for almost 30 years at
Det Berlingske Hus, a major publishing house in
Denmark, launched this research
programme in 2002. The aim of this
international research is to contribute to the emerging,
worldwide consciousness about spiritual-based leadership in work
organisations, through practical examples, inspiring stories, and
quantitative data on the perspectives and practices of spiritual-based
leaders around the world. Our current research focus is on business
executives whose character is grounded in a consciously held spiritual
view of life and who lead from that spiritual basis.
of Executive Interviews containing 33 full-length interviews with
spiritual-based leaders from 6 continents and 16 countries,
as well as data collected and sorted by specific search
criteria, is now available for researchers, teachers,
students, consultants and leaders.
The aim of
this audio CD programme is to affirm, support, and
develop organisational leaders in their capacity to lead from a
When this occurs, their organisations can build the character, and as
well as the competencies, required for organisation transformation.
described and discussed in this white paper, over
the last 100 years, four distinct contexts of business leadership have emerged
in the West: rationalistic, humanistic, wholistic, and spiritual-based.
Each context represents a fundamental change in how we view the nature of
business leadership. As we embrace and fulfill these contexts of business
leadership, we believe it will naturally fuel a fundamental change in the
nature of business itself, such that business and its leadership can take
its rightful place in solving what seem to be the unsolvable problems in the
Publications section, we have a wealth of resources for working and leading
from a spiritual basis. Each can be downloaded at no
cost. You can search in three categories: