Spiritual Leadership – Explained! with Example -Definition, History, Advantage & Disadvantage

The words “spirit” and “leader” are crucial to the concept of spiritual leadership. According to conventional wisdom, life’s animating energy, or “spirit,” is what gives organisms their distinctive identities as living creatures. The essence, or spirit, is the thing’s actual worth or significance.

Spiritual leaders are those who inspire others to follow their lead on an issue or persuade them to adopt their perspective. To foster a highly motivated, loyal, and productive workforce, spiritual leaders must instill in their teams a shared vision of service to the company’s most important constituencies and a corporate culture based on unselfish love.

Authentic spiritual leadership aims to provide for the spiritual needs of both the leader and the lead. Consistency in the organization’s vision and values is another goal.

Spiritual Leadership – Definition

A spiritual leader is one who upholds values like morality, cooperation, knowledge, wholeness, and interconnectedness. Strategic leadership guided by a spiritual compass is to create and sustain an appealing vision and a steadfast set of principles. This common aim and how it can be achieved are outlined in detail, showing followers how to overcome barriers and share knowledge in order to succeed. Sharing professional learning is a realization of personal utility for employees who have internalized the organization’s vision.

Spiritual Leadership – Historical Background

Transformational, principle-based, and workplace spirituality produce spiritual leadership. The principles, attitudes, and behaviors required to ensure survival which is spiritual through calling and membership, are referred to as “spiritual leadership” in the arena of business by Louis Fry.

This has two parts.

Spiritual leaders must build a mission that drives their people to do well. Spiritual leaders emphasize kindness and warmth to make followers feel loved and respected. Selfless, compassionate love can bring wholeness, harmony, and happiness. L-shaped leaders generate powerful futures and cultures. Spiritual business leaders can leverage modern learning organizations’ insights and complementing attributes to bridge the gap between profit and service, which was challenging in the 20th century.

Spiritual leadership affects school management, culture, and employees, say others. This study will use a Web of Interaction framework to demonstrate how spiritual leadership supports learning organizations. This framework comprises dispersed leadership, dispersed methods, horizontal structures, egalitarian cultures, workers dealing with knowledge, and integrating mechanisms.

The MD, Barry Garapedian, of Morgan Stanley’s The Oaks Group, controls a higher education school. He’s well-known in wealth management and for urging his workers to prioritize their personal life over professional development.

Along with Seth Haye, he’s one of the world’s top financial managers. They’ve built a business that succeeds in client trust, staff devotion, job happiness, financial success, and social responsibility. Barry Garapedian employs L-form components to achieve corporate and charitable aims.

Spiritual Leadership – Advantages

  • Having a spiritual leader can strengthen a group’s sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.
  • As a result, workers are happier and more productive, and the business saves money by not constantly bringing in new staff. Collaborative leadership may produce the same result.
  • Selfless love creates a haven for valuing diversity of all kinds. Spiritual leaders will take the time to express gratitude to their team members because they care to ensure their efforts are recognized.
  • Spiritual leadership is thought to benefit people’s mental health and overall sense of fulfillment in life, which positively affects physical health.
  • Beyond the workplace, altruistic love permeates the communities that a company supports. A significant emphasis on corporate social responsibility results from more focus on spiritual leadership.
  • To better serve the community’s needs, the company will be more intentional about doing so through environmental projects, community service, and other forms of giving back that are judged appropriate.

Spiritual Leadership – Disadvantages

  • However, some spiritual leaders may opt to use their religious beliefs as a compass to guide their actions in the workplace. Until the boss imposes his or her religious ideas on workers, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this. In the workplace, mutual respect for all employees’ religions is preferable.
  • Organizational and business goals may suffer if spiritual feelings and emphasis are given too much attention.
  • The spiritual leader must strike a balance between advancement and performance. To combat this, some pacesetting leadership might be helpful.
  • Similar to affiliative leadership, there is a chance that disagreements and criticism will be ignored to preserve the team’s sense of harmony. The team would become angry and resentful due to unsolved concerns that could fester and deepen over time.

How to implement Spiritual Leadership?

As many leaders deeply connect their spirituality and work, a significant change occurs in their personal and professional lives. Many people concur that this integration is changing their relationships and effectiveness in highly beneficial ways. There is also proof that workplace spirituality initiatives boost productivity, lower absenteeism, and lower turnover, positively affecting employees’ dedication and job satisfaction.

Workers who identify with spiritual organizations are less scared, more moral, and more dedicated. Additionally, there is growing proof that a more humane workplace fosters greater productivity, adaptability, and creativity. The growing body of studies demonstrates the potential benefits of workplace spirituality for organizational efficiency.

To establish an organically motivated learning company, spiritual leadership is a model for corporate development and transformation. People who work for learning businesses are outgoing, giving risk-takers who can think creatively in teams and inspire others to succeed. They must also have the flexibility to break away from previous alliances and forge new ones, celebrate the valiant effort while acknowledging honest mistakes as learning opportunities, and adopt a “do whatever it takes” mentality instead of a “not my job” mentality.

At all levels, committed leaders serve as coaches who work hard to listen, experiment, get better, innovate, and develop new leaders. Developing, guiding, inspiring, organizing, and keeping people engaged in the organization’s vision, objectives, and culture is the main challenge of the learning organization.

Spiritual Leadership – Example

In business, it is vital to maintain genuineness to practice operations. It ensures value-based practice. However, after creating a good reputation, people often neglect spiritual actions in their approach.

However, some examples, like Azim Premji, can be considered under this roof. After creating an emperor like WIPRO, the best software solution within the nation, he donated an amount of 7094 crores during the COVID pandemic.

Don’t forget Wipro is considered one of the reputed companies in India. Therefore, the organization needs to focus on CSR for its brand building. However, such an approach showed that after creating an emperor, it is crucial for an individual to provide value to his actions. The silent course of action in making donations signifies his honesty and spiritual approach to business.

Conclusion –

Organizational commitment is unaffected by spiritual leadership. This restriction offers numerous options for more research. First, it could be challenging to tell spiritual leadership from religious leadership.

Moreover, defining workplace spirituality is quite difficult. Since spirituality and religion are typically linked. Hence, a leader must identify a proper approach to insert such a leadership style in business operations. Understanding human behavior requires an understanding of culture.

This discovery creates new avenues for future research into a variety of topics, like the effect of spiritual leadership on worker productivity, business financial success, or societal performance. This advancement may lead to new, more intriguing, and advantageous to the organization’s study.


Klaus, L. and Fernando, M., 2016. Enacting spiritual leadership in business through ego-transcendence. Leadership & Organization Development Journal.

Fry, L.W., Matherly, L.L. and Ouimet, J., 2010. The spiritual leadership balanced scorecard business model: The case of the Cordon Bleu‐Tomasso Corporation. Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 7(4), pp.283-314.

Blackaby, H.T. and Blackaby, R., 2011. Spiritual leadership: Moving people onto God’s agenda. B&H Publishing Group.

Wipro chairman Azim Premji donated Rs 22 crore per day to tackle the covid pandemic (2020) India Today. India Today. Available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/newsmo/video/wipro-chairman-azim-premji-donated-rs-22-crore-per-day-to-tackle-covid-pandemic-1741233-2020-11-16 (Accessed: December 11, 2022).

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