I have to admit to feeling a bit awkward sometimes about being a spiritually intentional leader in the secular workplace. In wanting to help business leaders and professionals, I've learned that any hint of dogma can be a turnoff, especially when talking with those who believe their survival requires extremely competitive behaviors.
One ANE Leader, John, put it this way in a recent email.
"If people think they may lose, or not fit with the organization, or not be perceived as a team player, then they resist spiritual ideas such as being more caring, less deceptive, and more ethical. The key is always to let our spiritual centers support us, rather than try to change them, as we lead. Of course, this is a bumpy journey at first!"
People often see their spiritual and working lives in separate compartments. So, as their leaders, we have to take care in pointing out the linkages. Remember, our purpose is always to help them be more successful by discovering more of the calm, confident, connected, feeling of being more spiritual at work. Doing that without first being spiritually connected to ourselves or without using language they can relate to, is futile.
Workplace diversity combined with the competitive nature of organizations suggest a far more sensitive approach to spiritual conversations than at home or one's place of worship. And at ANE, we are all learning new ways to tackle these workplace conversations by sharing experiences with each other.
You will now see why my spiritual thinking is often referred to as "a lot like an engineer." What works really well for me on this issue is this. I picture people I meet, whether individuals or a group, as having a unique level of willingness to integrate more spirituality into their activities. (Here's the engineering bit.) I call it the ANE Coefficient. It ranges from zero to infinity according to the willingness to be more spiritually intentional at work. I gauge it through conversations - in workplace language - about spiritual ideas and someone's willingness to change. A low ANE Coefficient and we move forward slowly. A high ANE Coefficient and we're quickly into using ANE's tools. A very low Coefficient and I'm out of there!
Well, that's this engineer's way of dealing with the compartmentalization issue. What's yours? Feel free to share your ideas here or on our LinkedIn Group: A New Equilibrium and follow us on Twitter for more of the engineer's view.
Calm, Confident, Connected
PS: If you are in the NJ/PA/NY area we will be sharing a spiritual tool for teams at our Feb. 9 breakfast event.