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Co-Charismatic Leadership

Critical Perspectives on Spirituality, Ethics and Leadership


Simon Robinson and Jonathan Smith

Current theories of leadership, spirituality and ethics are inadequate for the global, rapidly changing and complex environment in which leaders work today. Emerging from this book’s critical analysis comes a new theory of leadership: co-charismatic leadership. This does not mean leadership focused in ‘charisma’, or the special qualities or charm of an individual. Charisma originates from the Greek word for gift or grace. Rather it emphasises the relational nature of charisma, as both shared throughout the community and dependent upon mutual relationships within the community. The charismata are in effect virtues, to be practised in the community by all members, hence the ‘co’ in the title.
The authors argue for a leadership that enables virtues, informed by the ongoing narrative of and dialogue in the community, to be practised in the community and beyond. These virtues enable the practice of responsibility, and taking that responsibility for ideas, values and practice is itself central to leadership. Through the practice of responsibility everybody in the organisation becomes a leader in some way. The task of the authorised leader is to enable all this.
This book will appeal to both practitioner and academic audiences alike as it provides an engaging mix of theory and practical application which tests and applies the concepts explored in a range of practical case studies.
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Chapter Two: Spirituality and values



Spirituality and values


Chapter One has identified a number of fundamental elements that seem to be emerging in relation to leadership and its current challenges. These themes are connected to spirituality, values, identity and holism. As a result this chapter seeks to explore and clarify these terms. This includes an examination of relationship between religion and to spirituality in the workplace. Wittgenstein (in Jolly 2010) argues that significant concepts like spirituality involve a family of meanings, and we too emphasise this in this exploration. In particular, we argue that spirituality forms an important part of a holistic approach, and that all aspects in this are important, connected, and have to be given full value in leadership practice. We also argue for the need for a critical engagement with the spiritual, and not simply acceptance, faith, tolerance of difference or avoidance of conflict. Such engagement involves transcendence in terms of relational engagement, finding the self in relationship, as distinct from views of spirituality which stress spiritual transcendence as simply moving beyond the self. We therefore argue for an inclusive person-centred spirituality that is generic and holistic.

The topic of values is closely linked to our exploration of spirituality. We have noted already the importance of values in connection to leadership and in this section we will briefly introduce values before developing them further in Chapters Three and Four. We then move on to examine in more detail holism and holistic...

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