Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spiritual Intelligence - Makings of a newer consciousness for emerging leadership

George Kunnath and I finally presented our views at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. The homocentric nature of our developmental paradigms alienates us from our own selves. The over-emphasis on cognitive dimensions of life has resulted in skewed development. Restoring the equilibrium can be attempted if we recognize the integration of multiple intelligences. In the cosmos centric paradigm, the key to transformation is in the inner journey of the leader. Attributes of a spiritually intelligent leader are outlined as the Warrior’s Way. 

 Here are some glimpses, assuming as we are the components of a spiritual intelligence.

1.      Compassionate pursuit – A distinct motivation to a cause helps the equanimity with which to regard success and failure. It does not regulate outcomes as much as guides learning on a journey to the purpose oriented direction. The essential centering in the spiritually oriented leader is from the depth of the ‘heart’, where compassionate endearment and enforcement of conduct ensues.
2.      Conquering fears – In psycho-analytic traditions of diagnosis, irrational fears are often the blind spot in awareness for the client. For the mindful leader though, fear is about opportunity for emboldening the self. Confronting one’s fears is therefore about drawing more from one’s reservoir of energy. The leader is alerted to the possibility of an ‘amygdala hijack’ and recovers with a heightened awareness to befriend the unknown.

3.      Conviction in solitude – The spiritual leader has the sense of devotion to one’s cause in that he or she is willing to go it alone, even if nobody is likely to approve of the contribution being conceived. This is akin to what Gandhi quoted and Bunker Roy endorsed of his experience at the bare-foot college “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
4.      Deep connectedness and meaning – Being centred in the self, the leader’s spiritual intelligence integrates with everything around the self. There is a deep connectedness with the environment, peace within oneself and others; and a self-concept that emanates from the sense that one is worthy of love.
5.      Spontaneity in expression – Emotionally intelligent leaders gracefully express themselves and exude a fluency in interacting with a variety of others. Moreover, the spiritually intelligent leader responds with authenticity. Such expression often reflects the leader’s depth of creativity.
6.      Vulnerability – Awareness of one’s own capability does not prevent the spiritually intelligent leader from being aware of one’s limitations. Demonstrating vulnerability is the evolution of transformative experience. It is confronting the primal fears that surface blockages or rigidities in our defense systems. Thus vulnerability is a state of being, a mind-set. In the deepest vulnerability the leader finds the deepest strength.

7.      Resilience – The spiritually intelligent leader bounces back to a steadfast journey by recovering quickly from interim setbacks. To suffer the throes of crises is only a welcome challenge for the spiritually intelligent leader.  
8.      Endurance – The spiritually intelligent leader exudes a staying power to go the distance even in the face of adversity and unforeseen challenges. In going the distance, however, the spiritually intelligent leader is mindful of a paramount power that the self is only part of, and yet willingly serves. 

We invite research suggestions and experiences in light of the above propositioning.