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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 Eight: Benefits of spirituality in work



Benefits of spirituality in work


A large element in the new forms of leadership that are beginning to emerge in this text are aspects of spirituality. We began to explore this aspect in Chapter Two and have continued through the other chapters. In this chapter we focus more specifically on the benefits that have been identified to spirituality being incorporated into leadership and management practice. Much of this literature on spirituality in leadership and in the workplace seems to present the benefits of spirituality with an almost evangelical zeal. This looks like the opposite of building a robust academic field, and at first sight does not seem helpful to leaders who are struggling with the concepts and looking for practical guidance on what might be the benefits and drawbacks of them embracing the spiritual dimension more in the work they do. In this chapter we therefore adopt a more critical stance, which will detail and critically examine techniques of spirituality, related research and broader argument. As we said in the previous chapter, we are searching also for real organisational benefits like the impact on: labour turnover; employee engagement; creativity; and long-term, sustainable organisational performance. Part of the critique will be to examine weaknesses in current evidence.

There are basically two broad categories of argument about how a focus on spirituality might benefit leadership and management. The first suggests that attention to the spiritual health of the workforce, and even...

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