Leadership is a Function of Spiritual Order
“I am familiar with Jim Collins. I believe this is too complicated and is the effect of an effect – otherwise two levels away from what is important. This has inspired a paper.”
That was my response to my friend John, who is a Bishop in the United Methodist Church. Like me, John is somewhat of a leadership junkie. He has had a successful career as a spiritual leader for his denomination. I had sent him a list of what I thought were some cool John Maxwell items and he responded with some Jim Collins stuff. All good but do they offer a relatively simple way for an individual to improve leadership?
Perhaps it is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. We need both. Knowledge is knowing your wife’s jeans are fitting a little too tight. Wisdom is keeping your mouth shut.
Several decades ago we developed a Chesapeake Leadership Model. It captures, in a simple manner, what we need to become increasingly better leaders. We drew the model as a large triangle with fours smaller triangles within it. At the very tip of the triangle was the first smaller one we labeled “DO.” It represents the behavior we see people doing. There are three components to DO:
I have seen the same basic concept on behavior many other places and they can use different words. For Disrupt, perhaps the word is “change.” For Honor, perhaps the word is “relationships” or “kindness.” For align perhaps the word is “purpose” or “goal.” If one human is interacting with another, they are exhibiting those three behaviors. Let’s use some examples.
You are the plant manager and you have just gotten new information on what products need to ship to satisfy your customers. It means a change in schedule. You tell your plant superintendent to adjust the schedule. That was disruptive. The way you address him or her is the degree you honored them. And the reason you did it was to align what was being done in the plant to what the customer wanted.
You are a thief and you are robbing someone at an ATM machine. Needless to say, you are being disruptive, you are honoring (in somewhat of a negative manner – but honoring nevertheless perhaps dishonoring) and you are aligning to your purpose although it may be somewhat selfish (and illegal).
You are heading a mission trip to Honduras. Your team is working on building a hospital for the people in a rural village. You are certainly changing, “disrupting” the village, in some way you are relating to those you are with while doing this and you are aligning to some overall better life for these folks.
Again – every interaction one human has with another reflects these three parts of behavior. It is what we “DO.”
What some people do is beneficial, and others are not. What impacts DO? Why do people behave differently?
DO is the effect of two of the other small triangles – HAVE and BE.
HAVE is knowledge – your intuition. It is what you know or think you know. It is who you know. It has been impacted and developed by:
- Your life experiences. Where were you born? Did you serve in the military? Have you been married? Have you survived a heart attack?
- Your education. This would include that school of hard knocks.
- Your friends and sphere of influence. I volunteer in a state prison and one of the nuggets of wisdom we tell them is “show me your friends and I will show you your destiny.”
- TV shows you watch, books you read, radio stations you listen to.
- Your hobbies and interest.
BE is your character. The components are:
- Love – do you care for those around you, regardless of who they are?
- Joy – Do you maintain a good attitude or are you the one that sucks the energy out of the room when you enter?
- Peace – Are you able to forgive the past, or do you always see someone as that person that did you wrong?
- Patience – Life is full of disruptions and delays. How do you handle them? Do you lose your cool or can you make the best out of the situation?
- Kindness — Do you care for and give to others? Your time and other resources.
- Goodness – Are you honest and do you have integrity?
- Faithfulness – are you loyal to those around you?
- Gentleness – How do you get things accomplished? Are you forceful and demanding or are you polite and considerate?
- Self-Control – Are you able to suppress urges that would cause you to do something dishonest or immoral? Are you disciplined to be able to improve?
The only way we change reality – what you DO, is to change HAVE and BE. If you want to improve then you must be intentional about this. HAVE and BE are going to change regardless, the only question is whether or not you are intentional about it. That brings us to the fourth small triangle; RENEW.
RENEW is effort you put into improvement. Stephen Covey used the term “sharpen the saw.” The components are:
- Physical Improvement. Eating properly, exercising, have annual physicals and dental appointments all would be part of physical renewal.
- Mental. This would include reading, working puzzles, taking classes, learning new stuff.
- Spiritual. This involves getting closer to God. By the way, God hasn’t gone anywhere – this involves you moving closer.
- Social. This involves your network of friends, fun things you do with your family, etc.
The drill here is to access your status in each one of these categories, determine where you want to be by the end of the goal setting window, then develop and execute an action plan to do that. All of this is right and necessary. However how is that done?
Let’s go off course for a minute or two and talk about Spiritual Order.
We were created with three parts:
- A spirit—when we enter into a relationship with Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit.
- A soul—there are three parts to the soul; the mind, which thinks and reasons; the will, which makes choices; and the emotions, which believe, feel and remember.
- A body—the body is given to us to carry out our plans. It has urges both good and bad.
We are spiritual beings having a temporary physical experience on earth rather than a physical being having a temporary spiritual experience. The plan is that our spirits become the strongest part of this three-part design and be the one that calls the shots for the other two.
Spiritual order provides a framework for living. For the best results you do not want the body or the soul calling the shots. Decisions will then be made by urges or feelings. If we allow the spirit to call the shots, then our efforts are in alignment with continuous improvement. Individuals need wisdom of spiritual things and how spiritual realities directly impact them.
The ideas on Spiritual Order were taken from the Freedom Course Workbook written by the Church of the Highlands.
Please understand, I am not saying to ignore John Maxwell, Jim Collins and a host of other wonderful, passionate men and women who have dedicated their lives to improving leadership. It is a necessary part of your HAVE if you are planning on being the best. Understand, the learning you will accomplish from these gurus comes from your soul. This part of who you are will perform better is it is directed by the spirit.
Cows Don’t Stay Milked:
In my book, “Cows Don’t Stay Milked,” I state that you will never reach your leadership potential if you do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. I go on to say in the book that if you do have the Spirit dwelling within you then you will reflect the fruits of the Spirit, which are the same components as are listed in “BE” above. In the book I give an example for each component (fruit) by telling stories of some of my friends and Biblical figures.