Spiritual Leadership

The football team I follow has a “spiritual Leader” and most of the teams we compete against do too. Generally, it’s a person on the team who performs well, doesn’t get their feathers ruffled easily and who knows a lot about the game – experienced. In my football team there are 3 or 4 men with that quality but only one is referred to as “the spiritual leader” of the club.

So, the qualities extend beyond those three elements to include: the love of the game, the love of the club, and the vision that is unwavering of success, even beyond their own self preservation instincts. Is that you?

  1. Do you love the service or product you deliver? I mean love beyond doubt, beyond uncertainty? Would you sell it to you in preference to all the competitive products because it’s that much better?
  2. Are you fully addicted to the outcome, to the value of the product or service you deliver, it’s benefits, it’s richness to the clients?
  3. Do you love the audience? Your clients, their foibles, complaints, their feedback, their rejections? It means understanding the rules of the game and having the wisdom to know what to expect? Know thy client….
  4. If the gun was the product or service and you were the bullet, and the whole thing was aimed at the target (what you want) is it all lined up? The right person delivering the right product to the right target? Are you believable?

When I first started my management consulting business I loved it. My product was a three day team retreat where we examined the whole business top to bottom. Then I’d prepare a report and help the client implement. 90% of the changes were easy, the staff cuts were always hard. I built that business in a time when my spiritual practice didn’t exist as a formal practice but I was truly a spiritual leader in my work. I loved the clients, my product and the result. I was 35 years old, experienced in manufacturing, owning my own business’ and had a host of experience in consulting. It worked. We did 66 consulting jobs in as many weeks. But suddenly something changed.

In one consulting job I found out that the CEO – owner – was cheating and lying. We were in the midst of changing the lives of all his senior staff who were in the most part loyal to him. In one foul swoop my love for what I was doing evaporated. Clients knew it and all the marketing in the world couldn’t keep the business at the level it was at. I sold out profitably and moved on. My “spiritual leadership” wasn’t strong because it couldn’t sustain my commitment to what I loved.

I created another business speaking on the international speaking circuit at conferences and creating nature retreats for corporations. It was a great success and I spoke almost daily for 4 years travelling to great places delivering life changing awareness. But a string of excuses made the going extremely tough and it was time to hang up my boots from full time travel in that work too.

Then I met, by pure coincidence, Zig Ziglar. a professional speaker in the USA. He has passed now, but at the time I met him he’d been speaking for 50 years, he was 80 plus years young and his presentation revealed a love for the audience, a love for what he was delivering and a love for himself for doing it. The event I met him at was at a small Baptist church on the lower east side of Manhattan, the laundry district, a rough a tumble part of New York. This man was and probably still is, a Spiritual Leader in his field.

You see, it’s not the profit you make, nor the business you own that makes you a spiritual leader amongst people. It’s your love of the product, the love for the audience and the love for yourself for delivering it. In Zig Ziglar’s case it was one product to one type of audience for 50 years. In mine, it is the love of one product, delivered multiple ways to an audience I love –

To love something is to believe in it. It’s no ordinary love. It’s not passion, that’s too flimsy. It’s a belief that this thing you offer is exceptional, unique, and that you and that product or service are a great team, you fit. And the client will love you back.

That’s spiritual leadership. And people around you feel it when you’ve got it and know it when you don’t and your business fortune will fluctuate with it.