The Secret Spirituality of Leaders

At the top of the tallest sky scrapper in the city, we were sitting in a cozy executive lounge. I was meeting with the CEO of a major national bank, a chance encounter where I was not his employee nor interviewing him for anything. I was not there to sell him anything either.

The conversation we had there was a conversation I saw repeated over and over again. Whether it be in homes of successful entrepreneurs or in late night conversations with powerful government officials in Switzerland. 

I was trying to grasp and understand what made them unique. Often coming from nothing, these incredible men and women have started large organizations: startups and corporate behemoths. They carry considerable influence and power. I have always been curious to know how do they handle life, the tough decisions they face daily.

Leading anyone, let alone yourself can be exhausting. Startup founders, entrepreneurs, and real change-makers face a lonely journey to the top. We see short-sighted thinking, we see mental breakdowns. We see politics and drama play out. 

But in many cases, we also see resilience. We see incredible strength of character. We see growth and progress, and real empathy to do the right thing, even in the face of ridicule. We see values and principles.

In speaking to me candidly about their ups and downs, they have confessed one thing that we barely ever talk about in any of the thousands of articles that are being churned out daily about success, productivity, entrepreneurship, pop-psychology.

It is this: Faith in a Higher Power is the ultimate source of strength.

They have all admitted to prayer as a source of strength as well. One CEO of a major global fashion brand said: “Everyday, I pray to God to give me the strength to do this work. Because I alone am not capable of doing this myself.”

This person is worth $200+ million dollar.

I’ve seen this played out so often. And yet, most success literature doesn’t talk about this at all.

It almost seems that we are hiding from this truth in trying to be secular. Mindfulness and meditation are safe placeholders for spirituality, but they are incomplete. They are aids in deepening your faith, but not an end in themselves.

The true lessons of spirituality are not tied to one particular religion either, they are universal. And these lessons can help us be better leaders. Either for our teams and organizations, or in our private lives as we lead our families and our lives.

That’s what this publication is about.

It is about embracing faith. This is not about proselytizing. For true spiritual principles are timeless and not bound to any particular religion.

The only thing required is faith to move forward and deepen a relationship with your true self and a higher power.

Everything else follows from that.

Has Faith Played a Role In How You Lead?

If so, share your thoughts below on how exactly faith and spirituality helps you lead yourself and others better.

Does Leadership Training Work?

Leadership is not a noun. It is a verb. Leadership happens daily, in practice.

At its heart, leadership training is about passing on skills to people so that they can effectively read, listen, influence, inspire, coach, and guide themselves and others.

  • To read yourself effectively, you need to be introspective. To read others, you need to be empathetic.
  • To listen to yourself, you need to create space to let the inner voice speak. To listen to others, you need humility and openness to see the world differently.
  • To influence yourself, you need the tools, strategies, and guides to work on the right things. To influence others, you need to coach them, ask them the right questions to let them grow themselves. You also need integrity, strength, and decisiveness.
  • To inspire yourself, you need a powerful “why”. To inspire others, you need to connect the work with their big purpose.

Can leadership training teach this?

I believe it can plant the seeds for these qualities to emerge in the right people in the right situation. And the more seeds you plant, the higher the likelihood of them sprouting, growing, and flourishing.

A training session can last for 1 day or even 1 week. But it’s up to the person to change their values, mindset, beliefs, and actions. That work is done on a daily basis.

That’s what actually matters.

Frequent Leadership Training is exactly what can help nurture the plant as it takes hold and grows.

Overcoming ingrained habits, mindsets, beliefs, and values can take a long time. Just like losing weight, starting a new diet, you need constant reinforcement, motivation, and recognition to keep going.

So, Leadership Training can work—really well! As long as it happens frequently. As long as one builds atop another. As long as the person has an interest in getting better as a leader.

In those situations, yes it can work.

I’ve led leadership workshops in rooms where the entire audience was completely disengaged. It took everything in my power to connect with their current challenges to make some of them interested in it.

I’ve also been in rooms where eager people who had just been promoted were looking for ways to be more valuable to their organization and their teams, and were committed to being active, engaged, and consistent practitioners in this process.

The later group wins. Always.

Your Thoughts

What has been the most effective leadership training for you? Did it even take place in a traditional professional setting or elsewhere? What was more valuable about it? Share your thoughts below to help others.