Value Based Leadership and Spirituality in the Workplace

Organizational leadership and management practices have had to develop and adapt to these hyper expansive times and have subsequently started viewing and managing people in a more integrated and holistic way, in an attempt to achieve ever diminishing competitive advantage. It is through this very much necessitated management “mind-shift” that values and spirituality have become salient topics in boardrooms and academic research the like; specially in how these topics relate to leadership theory and practice.

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This is because it is known that organizational leaders have the responsibility to drive this needed change through organizational learning and the manipulation of human resources towards increasingly complex organizational goals (Fry, 2003). This paper subsequently attempts to delineate these complex terms, and explain how they link not only to each other, but to wider leadership/management theory and practice, in an attempt to show the worth of value-based leadership and spirituality in achieving competitive advantage in the modern business environment.

The role of the leader in defining values that will be congruent with those of followers as well as specific practical leadership guidelines are also discussed. A local company is also used as a case study, showing the merit of a powerful integration of values, spirituality and leadership. 2. DEFINITIONS As is mentioned above, the most important part of this paper is to clarify the terms “value-based leadership” and “workplace spirituality” in component form.

It is of utmost importance that the reader achieves conceptual clarity regarding the intricacies of, and linkages between the terms, in order to understand the value f these concepts in organizational leadership. 2. 1 Leadership It is first important to understand what leadership entails, in order to understand its importance in the organizational context, as well as the leaders role in the value-based and spirituality theories. The fundamental definition off leader is someone who has to take charge, and influence people towards a specific goal or some form of action or change.

This means that the leader will have to be able to exert power over followers in overt and covert ways, which in turn requires an understanding of the motivation(s) of his/her followers (Fry 2003; Precipitately, 2000; Yuk, 2010). This paper naturally argues that this also includes an understanding of spirituality and values, due to its deterministic relationship with follower behavior, as described below. 2. 2 Values Values are the essence of who we are as human beings.

They influence every decision we make; even to point of how we choose to make our decisions (Rue, 2001 Values can be defined as “enduring prescriptive or proscriptive beliefs that a specific mode of conduct (instrumental value) or end state of existence (terminal value) is preferred to another mode of conduct or end state” which subsequently “serve as guiding principles in the life of a person r other social entity’ (Matron, Ball-Reach ; Lodges; and Schwartz, as cited in Precipitately, 2000, p. 144).

Our values are thus in essence our “belief systems” through which we perceive our everyday world and decide how to react to it (Rue, 2001). According to Reach (as cited by Grabber ; Slapstick, 2008) a person’s major values combine to form an organized value system, wherein different values will be ascribed varying importance. A very important characteristic of values is that, due to the centrality of values in our lives, and their subsequent importance to human beings, the honoring and fulfillment of our values creates a feeling of life and vitality and deep rooted satisfaction (Rue, 2001).

Due to the fact that certain values are not just a means to an end state, but also lead towards a greater good for society and other people (for example values such as caring, empowerment and solidarity), values have intrinsic merit of their own – away/apart from any specific system of beliefs (Precipitately, 2000). Values and value systems are generally seen to be fairly stable, though as a study by Thorpe and Lo (as cited by Grabber & Slapstick, 2008) showed, they are subject to change over time.

Furthermore, professional solicitation has been hon. to homogeneous value differences among people of the same profession, reducing individual differences across at least some values (Hefted, as cited by Grabber & Slapstick, 2008). Researchers (e. G. Fernando & Hogan, 2002) have tried to divide values into distinct categories; however in the end this practice only serves the purpose of providing general overlapping clusters which merely describe a person’s general “values inclination” or character.

Examples of such general clusters are people who value achievement and success more than, for example, others who value collaboration and warmth; or people who value imagination and innovation versus people who value stability and predictability. There are also psychological tests on the market that measure a person’s values. The Motives, Values and Preferences Inventory (MAPI) for example, measures values over ten subspaces that indicate how the person’s value structure lies. These subspaces include Aesthetics, Affiliation, Altruism, Commerce, Hedonism, Power, Recognition, Security, Science and Tradition.

This tool is apparently used widely for managerial selection and development (Fernando ; Hogan, 2002). The sources of values, as well as good personal and organizational values ill be discussed in sections 5 and 7. 2. 3 Values and leadership The main purpose of this paper is to clarify the use of value-based leadership in dealing with the demands of the modern organizational environment; especially in an attempt to answer whether the phenomenon has merit over and above existing leadership theory (also see section 6). It is thus important to understand the essential link between values and leadership in general.

In accordance with the views of Fernando ; Hogan (2002), leadership is, as a relational activity, inherently value-based. Effective leaders motivate followers towards specific oils (in line with the definition of leadership above) by acting in accordance with values that resonate with followers or by aligning their own values with that of their followers (or vice versa). People will only truly follow the lead of individuals whose values align with their own. Value-based leadership is then in essence the understanding and embodiment of legitimate values and leading people towards a desired goal through value congruence (Fry, 2003).

Figure 1. Chine’s Three Three-Layer Organizational model(Gibson, Evangelic, Donnelly, & Kankakee, 2009, p. 31) | 2. 4 Values, leadership and behavior in organizations Values affect the behavior of individuals in organizations (and subsequently organizational outcomes) mainly through the organizational culture. In figure 1 is Chine’s well known structure of an organizational culture. It shows how deep basic (mainly invisible) assumptions drive/form values, which are at the core of the model; and how these values, in line with the explanation above, affect how people eventually behave in a work setting.

How this culture is formed, and where these organizational values come from, would mainly depend on the organization’s leadership; since the leaders decisions, policies and behaviors ultimately create and affect the daily operational methods, processes, norms and habits of employees (Gibson, Evangelic, Donnelly, & Kankakee, 2009; Grabber & Slapstick, 2008; Fernando & Hogan, 2002). An organizational culture refers to the generally accepted way of doing things in the organization and transcends every aspect of the business.

Culture comes down to the “personality” of the organization, what it stands for, what it is about, how its members should behave and how it defines itself in the external environment (Morris et al. , 2008). From this definition it thus becomes apparent how values re very much inherent in the definition of the organizational culture, and also how important the values of the leader are for the culture. A culture is also self- reinforcing, not only through repeated behavior, but through its attracting of individuals who identify with it (in terms of their values) (Kennedy, 201 0; Gibson et al. , 2009). 2. Spirituality Spirituality is very much defined by the individual and is thus a very much subjective experience (Grossman, 2010). One’s spirit can be defined as the vital principle or animating force believed to be the intangible life affirming force in all human beings. It is a state of intimate relationship with the inner self of morality and higher values as well as the recognition of the inner nature of others (Anderson and Fairchild, as cited by Fry, 2003). Spirituality manifests in a person’s intrinsic drive to learn and find meaning and also be valued as a member of a group (Douche & Plowman, 2005).

Vocationally, spirituality manifests in the form of a sense of transcendence, which refers to the notion of having a calling for one’s work and to feel that one has contributed to the performance of the collective; as well as a need for a meaningful social connection to those in he work environment. Caecilian and Jerkewitz (as cited by Fry, 2003, p. 703), define workplace spirituality as “a framework of organizational values evidenced in the culture that promotes employees’ experience of transcendence through the work process, facilitating their sense of being connected in a way that provides feelings of compassion and joy. Workplace spirituality must therefore be understood in a holistic context of interwoven cultural and personal values that are congruent with organizational and team values. Spirituality is in this way very strongly related to the concept of values and subsequently seems to be very such attainable in an organizational context through value-based leadership. The creation of an environment/culture, where people are motivated through experiencing the above mentioned calling and membership, has also been termed “spiritual leadership” (Fry, 2003). . WHY VALUES AND SPIRITUALITY HAVE BECOME SO IMPORTANT The first reason for the newly found emphasis on spirituality and values is due to the rapid changes in the business environment, mentioned earlier. Due to the larger need for flexibility and the management of people from a holistic perspective, with cognizance of employee wellness, there has arisen a rater need to understand the human psyche in its completeness and adapt management practices to cater for personal needs (Fry, 2003).

According to Fry (2003), spiritual leadership is required as organizations move away from traditional bureaucratic organizational design and culture. The traditional management theory and practice has largely neglected spirituality, missing core human needs in their approach. Another reason is that many people seem to have grown dissatisfied with an increasingly materialistic society. This apparently “post-materialist” society also seems to look to spirituality and holistic heliotropes as a type of “cure” for the “ills” of society, and seemingly rightfully so.

Stronger spiritual wellbeing has in fact been linked to better physical, psychological and social health indicators (Birthmark, Solaria-Twaddle & Has, 2008). Nowadays, people also seem to lack a true sense of community and coherence in so many other settings, that the work environment (also considering the large amount of time spent there) has become a communal centre and a source of meaning and spiritual identity for many (Douche & Plowman, 2005; Fry, 2003). Many prominent leaders have also started acknowledging the influence spirituality has had on their success (Grossman, 2010).

Spiritual and value-based approaches have also been shown to impact positively on organizational outcomes such as improved morale, higher creativity, trust, reduced stress and turnover and even improved work-unit productivity and improved earnings (Grossman, 201 0; Douche & Plowman, 2005; Sharkskin & Neck, 2002). Empirical evidence from over 50 studies has shown that a value-based leader’s behavior has a powerful effect on follower motivation and work-unit performance, with effect sizes mainly above 50 (Fry, 2003).

Furthermore, executives have realized that a business can achieve a large degree of goodwill in their community by embodying some of the community’s values (Grabber & Slapstick, 2008), though considering the fact that the embodiment of those values need to be authentic to have the desired effect (Grossman, 2010). 4. SPIRITUALITY VERSUS RELIGION, AND RELIGION IN THE WORKPLACE It is easy to confuse spirituality with matters of religion when first confronted with the concept. Spirituality is broader than a specific religious orientation with its prescribed tenets, dogma and doctrines.

Spirituality is the reach for what Fry (2003) refers to as one’s spiritual survival – through the sense of meaning and interconnectedness mentioned earlier. It refers to a seeking of purpose and understanding of life, and need not necessarily include the seeking of a “god” in the traditional sense. For the purposes of this paper, religion is defined as a system of beliefs, traditions, rituals, actions and institutions which assume the existence of powerful supernatural entities; and thus refers to any known religious orientation (as adapted from Fry, 2003; Bruce, as cited by Sharkskin & Neck, 2002; Grossman, 2010).

It must be said though that many people who belong to a particular “religion” are uncomfortable with the label and rather prefer to see themselves as free followers of faith – though for simplicity the general label of “religion” will be used here. Even though spirituality is a much broader concept than religion, in the quest to understand workplace spirituality, one may rightfully ask how a person’s religion may be connected to their spirituality; since many people draw most, if not all, of their spiritual experiences from their religion, or at least interpret spiritual experiences through heir religious value system.

The question can also be asked whether or not a strategic leader can draw on his or her faith/religion in not only determining organizational values, but also in daily operational decisions, in the event of the leader being strongly committed to a particular religious view. Many organizational leaders seem to integrate their religion and their organizational cultures and practices – some with great success (see section 8), and there is also much popular literature that advocates not only that this is possible, but also provides guiding principles to leaders (e. . Julian, 2002). Maria’s (2009) proved through an empirical study that applying religious values to the company value system is also entirely possible, though with certain practical considerations. The problem immediately faced when bringing religion into the workplace is that it can potentially be divisive in that it could exclude or offend those who differ in their religious orientation to that of the leader and also brings up legal (E Act) and ethical concerns (Fry, 2003).

A business environment is usually expected to demonstrate religious neutrality, and forcing conformation to a specific religious invention in the organization will certainly cause much internal discomfort through the exertion of what may be termed “spiritual labor by those who have to participate in a spiritual culture that diverges from their own beliefs (Grossman, 2010). It must be said immediately though that all of the world’s “major” religions share many core values, such as altruistic love and regard for others, and even share sacred texts (Fry, 2003; Krieger & Seen, 2005).

This in turn means that people of different religious backgrounds would necessarily uphold many of the same core values. This could mean that a value-based adhering approach – where the leader’s values are based on religious principles – may possibly find acceptance across the workforce. These major religious values are also usually respected when applied to secular practices and policies (Midriff, as cited by Grossman, 2010). This is once again due to the fact that values such as these have intrinsic worth, as is mentioned earlier.

The question arises then as to what such values are, and in a more broad sense, what values constitute good leadership values in general? 5. GOOD LEADERSHIP VALUES It is important that the leader sets positive guiding values which employees feel notionally tied to (Kennedy, 2010). Precipitately (2000) suggests three sets of guiding values needed to promote wellbeing. Firstly, there should be values for personal wellness (e. G. Self-determination, autonomy, growth and health), then also values for collective wellness (e. G. Social justice and support), as well as values for relational wellness (e. G. Respect, democracy and collaboration). As is said above leaders could easily base organizational values on religious, or at least spiritual, principles. The reason for this is that the incorporation of spiritual aloes into the work environment, which are (as discussed) deeply rooted inside every person, will certainly appeal to employees on a higher level, due to almost certain value congruence and would naturally have an extraordinary effect on follower motivation, commitment and performance.

This is largely due to the fact that this practice would appeal to follower values – thus making their sense of self-worth and fulfillment contingent on their alignment with and living of the leader’s values and mission (Fry, 2003). Laudable leader and organizational values, which are based on core spiritual values are summarized in the table low (as adapted from Krieger & Seen, 2005): Forgiveness I Trust Humility I Compassion Kindness I Courage I Peacefulness Honesty I Integrity I Patience I Thankfulness I Service I These are values that the leader can embody in his/her daily leadership activities, or in a company value statement.

A company value statement could easily further include other altruistic values such as transformation or nation building. Such values promote a sense of meaning to followers, in that their work relates not only to monetary outcomes, but to worthy principles that indicate a higher purpose to their work – which leads to the experiencing of he sense of transcendence, mentioned earlier (Fry, 2003). Other sources (e. G.

Julian, 2002; and Kennedy, 2010) do mention the embodiment of values that the organization requires from employees – which relate to behaviors that will lead directly to company performance, such as innovation, excellence and professionalism. 6. VALUE-BASED AND SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP AND OTHER LEADERSHIP THEORIES Value-based and spiritual leadership does present strong links with other existing leadership theories. These approaches have been linked to transformational, servant, authentic, ethical, environmental and charismatic leadership.

One can surely argue that no leadership theory or style is completely separate or different from another, and the spiritual/value-based approach fits in rather strongly with the theories listed above (Fry, 2003). Charismatic leadership, for example, has very much to do with the leader acting as a role model for the beliefs and values of their followers, communicating ideological goals with moral overtones and having high expectations of followers. They do this by transforming the values, beliefs and self-concept of followers and fashioning linkages between the identity of followers and the collective.

This in essence offers to leading through value congruence – mainly inspired by the leader him/ herself. Similarly, transformational leadership requires that leaders communicate a strong vision to followers and then motivate them to go beyond their own self-interest to achieve the valued changed state (Fry, 2003). Ethical leadership is equated to the spiritual approach, in that it is based on values of altruism, consideration and integrity. Although, the ethical approach is less concerned with vision and “calling” as it is with pragmatic concerns with followers’ ethical conduct.

The spiritual approach can however not be devoid of ethics, as worthy ethical values are, as explained, central to the approach (Pees, Chokecherries, Frey, Trait-Matches, 2010). Spiritual leadership is also linked to the servant leadership approach, in that, not only is it based on service to others or a higher power (Pees et al. , 2010), but in that it embodies in it concern for others and authentic spiritual values of selflessness, care, altruism, fairness, empowerment, humility and morality (Yuk, 2010; Grossman, 2010).

Leading according to deeply held spiritual values, also relates to authentic leadership, in that acting according to personal values will result in a real/authentic leader- lower relationship due to the fact that the leader is acting on actual beliefs, and not some preconceived leadership methodology; and because there is to be more likely value congruence. Authentic leadership theory also stresses the consistency/congruence of words, actions and values and a trusting relationship built on positive values and leader self-awareness (Yuk, 2010).

Environmental leadership – a new concept that has to do with concern for the environment in organizational activities – links strongly with the values-based and spiritual approach because of the embodiment of values such as serving the common DOD, as well as enhancing spiritual engagement with the natural world by caring for our planet (Grossman, 2010). This “theory” however seems, on the surface, rather to be mislabel corporate-social-responsibility or sustainability practices, rather than a leadership theory or style per SE.

One could even argue that the values of sustainability would likely naturally find their way into the strategy of the authentic spiritual leader, since it is based on commendable, and widely accepted principles in itself. In summary, the value-based spiritual approach to leadership need not be seen as a radical new way of approaching leadership, but ether merely the embodiment of values, possibly based on spiritual principles, in the leader’ approach. The theory adds value to the leadership literature because of its apparent foundation in very powerful intra-personal drives and its applicability to most existing leadership paradigms.

Any leader could embody the approach by merely seeking understanding of spiritual matters, especially in terms of their own spiritual values and by honoring those values in leadership activities. 7. IMPLEMENTING VALUE-BASED LEADERSHIP 7. 1 The role of the leader The role of the leader in leading by a values-based, spiritual style is to take hare and influence the actions and attitudes of others through building trust and compassion by modeling legitimate values in ways that foster a spiritualists culture (Grossman, 2010).

They do this by determining spiritual values that will engender a sense of congruence with follower values and by communicating and living these values through a compelling vision of the purpose and future of the organization. This means establishing and clarifying values and aligning them with the needs of the organization in order to create a culture of spirituality based on altruistic love (Grabber & Slapstick, 2008; Fry, 2003).

Appendix A shows a conceptual causal model of spiritual leadership that illustrates how intrinsic motivation is derived from the leader’s values attitudes and beliefs and translates into the fulfillment of follower spiritual needs and ultimately affects organizational outcomes. The model is accompanied by a table explaining the qualities of the leader included in the model. Appendix B is an expanded form of the model, showing the application of spiritual leadership in an everyday organizational context, alluding to the culture created by the leader’s practices. . 2 Specific leadership practices It is important to understand how a leader would go about applying the principles of value-based leadership and spirituality in a practical everyday business setup. This section explains some practical guidelines that are spread through the literature. Precipitately (2000) advocates four key actions/roles for leaders in a quest to implement value-based leadership. These, along with specific tasks, facilitating factors, potential subversion and measures of accountability are summarized in Appendix D.

The first step is for the leader to clarify the values of the organization, especially in terms of values for personal, elective and relational wellness (mentioned earlier). This requires that the leader engages stakeholders and experts in open discussion, in order to agree on worthy mutual values that appeal to the normal range of human values and ethical instincts (Grabber & Slapstick, 2008). The leader can balance the values suggested by stakeholders, with those values he/she holds dear in terms of their own value system and spirituality and must scrutinize values for moral legitimacy and also practical use.

This will require that the leader must first understand and clarify his/her own spiritual stance and value system and understand why they make the decisions they make, as well as the acceptable choices available to them. This is important due to the fact that the leader must be able to live these values everyday and could also experience great satisfaction in their work through the fulfillment of those values (Rue, 2001; Grabber & Slapstick, 2008). The second step is to create a safe environment where the wellness and interest of others is not undermined.

This entails awareness of the views of others and also the creation of a safe platform for the discussion of ethical and value issues. Spiritual reflection throughout the work day and in staff meetings has also been suggested as a method of creating spiritual awareness (Birthmark et al. , 2008). This is particularly important when the organization’s culture and/or values are defined according to a specific religious view, though in the context of a diverse work environment (see next section).

The critical third step could be seen as the creation of the spiritual culture itself through building trust and relationships with followers. This entails translating the values into an organizational vision and mission (though these could certainly be created prior o deciding on values) and also organizational structures and processes. Fry (2003) stresses the importance of communicating a clear and compelling organizational mission and vision, which will embody the higher purpose of the organization and guide people in their actions.

The key to the success of the value-based approach also lies here in the empowerment of and trust in followers to live out the vision, mission and values (Grabber ; Slapstick, 2008; Fry, 2003). Building the culture could involve simple practices like running diversity or spirituality programs, allowing volunteer work, building spiritual raciest into stress management programs or promoting practices that are spiritually and ecologically consistent with caring for the earth (e. G. Sustainability programs) (Grossman, 2010).

In the last step the maintenance of the value-based culture is ensured through confronting and engaging individuals or groups that deviate from the values in a constructive process of conflict resolution. It is important that leaders understand the values, interests and power bases of individuals and groups in the organization in terms of how this would impact on value congruence. Rewarding employees according to company values and for upholding company values are very much important in generating acceptance of values and the avoidance of value conflicts (Grabber ; Slapstick, 2008).

The spiritual leader must, once again, model the values to employees and furthermore embody them in his/her daily leadership practice and also see that it relates to organizational success in addition to creating a fulfilling spiritual culture (Grabber ; Slapstick, 2008). Teaching leaders to apply value- based spiritual leadership adequately may require some coaching (Rue, 2001). London (1999), has suggested that managers are taught skills that relate to equines diplomacy in order for them to be seen to be living the values of taking responsibility and respect for others.

Appendix D presents a powerful model showing how leader values relate to organizational outcomes (from a religious perspective). It shows how a leader can establish values according to spiritual experiences through whatever divine power the leader believes in. This model serves as a summary for the previous sections by incorporating the whole process, from leader value formation to its effects on the organization, with cognizance of the possibility that the leader’s spirituality may be defined through is/her religious beliefs.

The next section demonstrates the application of this model in practice, by referring to a highly successful leader and organization that serves as an exemplar of spiritual recognition and understanding, with the authentic religious beliefs of the leader serving as the foundation for it. The following is based on an interview with Dry Don Forester, Corporate Chaplain to the Power Group, on 03/03/11. 8. A case in point: Power Construction Power Construction is the largest private construction company in Southern- Africa and employs about 2000 employees. Its Cape Town office is situated in Quicksilver.