If you really want to know how to be a good leader, you will need to tap into more unusual leadership skills like spiritual wisdom, love, and enlightenment. There are many qualities, skills, and leadership traits that make a great leader, but spiritual intelligence is rarely mentioned. It’s not taught in schools and it’s not always obvious in the big school of life.
In fact, in the modern world, spiritual journey and development often take place in quiet and private. However, times are changing and people with great spiritual wisdom are emerging more and more as leaders with heart, mind, soul, vision, drive, and desire to respond to the problems of the world with eyes wide open.
The definition of “spiritual” is “of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. There is something magnetic about a leader whose spiritual intelligence and belief are so well suited to the needs of people and the cause they serve.
With crises in the environment, politics, religion, poverty, inequality, mental well-being (the list goes on and on), our world is in desperate need of spirituality savvy leaders who can harness it more than ever.
The good news is that we are currently living in a global spiritual candy store. Never have we had such easy access to tools for our spiritual growth and transformation. As such, more and more people are reporting spiritually transformative experiences. It is terribly exciting as we open the door to the possibility of more elevated humanity.
But it’s also a little terrifying in that there is currently a lack of grounded support systems in place to genuinely and compassionately deal with the complexities of awakening experiences. These days, if you have visions and hear voices, you may be diagnosed quickly and medically, while at another time and place it may have been seen as a gift.
We must also remember that not all spiritual experiences lead to a more enlightened way of being. Just because a person is experiencing a moment in time when they are touching upon a larger version of themselves or a greater appreciation of others doesn’t mean that the changes are long-lasting or permanent.
Joseph Campbell, who gave us the wonderful phrase “Follow your bliss”, later realized the potential danger of his words and towards the end of his life, said that maybe it should have been “Follow your blisters”.
So how do we assess spiritual intelligence when we don’t yet have the language for it? How do we identify spiritual wisdom in ourselves and in others? How do you look beyond appearances and really see what is going on?
People that are spiritually savvy leaders have integrated their spiritual experiences and developed into spiritual maturity. With that said, here are 10 leadership qualities, skills, and traits that spiritual savvy people possess:
1. They care a lot:
Increased sensitivity and compassion go hand in hand with increased spiritual awareness. The interdependence of life becomes evident, as does know that one’s actions matter in the great web of existence.
One of the challenges that many spiritually centered people face is feeling overly sensitive or overwhelmed by the woes of the world. Spiritual wisdom invites us to develop a healthy and vibrant core so that we can respond appropriately while maintaining a soft and open heart.
2. They laugh loudly:
The Universe (or whatever you want to call this infinite force of great mystery and creation) has a wicked sense of humor. Anyone who embarks on a path of growth and exploration will soon discover the paradoxical nature of human life.
For example, how can everything be important and nothing matters at the same time? How can we be simultaneously infinite and finite? At some point, we surrender to these paradoxes and choose to laugh.
3. They love in an adventurous way:
With increased spiritual awareness often comes an expanded experience and understanding of love. Old Sanskrit has 96 ways of describing love, Old Persian has 80 and we have one in English. Only one!
In many spiritually transformative experiences, love in one form or another is often present, whether it is a love that transcends a person or an intensely deep personal love. Spiritually savvy people often become a vehicle or vessel of love, embracing life as an adventure where love is infused in all that we do and in all encounters with others.
4. They are good listeners:
Spiritually savvy people listen beyond words. They are in harmony with the whole person speaking, what is left unsaid, the body language, the vibrations, and the general resonance of what a person communicates.
Listening is done with more than the ears, it is full of presence on all levels, body, mind, heart, and spirit. It is the ability to hear a person in their own words and through their point of view.
5. They are generous:
The mind operates beyond and across borders. In fact, spiritual experiences are often known to dissolve boundaries. As such, what we call “my family” can easily shift from blood relations and a nuclear unit to one’s community, humanity, or all of life.
Sharing generously becomes natural in a paradigm where everyone and everything is interconnected.
6. They never stop learning:
Spiritually wise people understand that life and planet Earth are wonderful classrooms. Each experience is a potential opportunity for growth and learning.
It won’t always be pleasant, but there is always a takeaway, especially in life’s more difficult situations. As you mature spiritually, wisdom is a natural consequence. In other words, they are more like Yoda.
7. They create meaningfully:
One of the mild symptoms of spiritually transformative experiences can be an increased creative flow. As one grows spiritually, there will often be a desire to serve others in a meaningful way now and in generations to come.
This means that whatever we create is done consciously, with clear intention and for the greater good. To some, they may feel like a full-service vessel to a greater force, for the greater good.
8. They are authentic:
Awakening spiritually is like undressing. Far beyond getting rid of clothes, it’s about familiarizing yourself with vulnerability, openness, simplicity, imperfection, and self-acceptance at all levels.
It means being truly in agreement with who you are, how you are, what you are, where you are, and where you have been. It’s about embracing the natural beauty that is you and just doing yourself, whatever it may be.
9. They lead with grace:
Walking a genuine path in life means that you will inevitably lead in one direction. It is by the simple virtue that when you are true to yourself, you make your light shine.
And when that happens, people come together naturally. Spiritually wise people understand the responsibility and privilege of leadership and work in partnership with grace to lead and be led.
10. They live spontaneously:
Awakening spiritually changes the sense of time. The boundaries of the reality of space-time loosen and expand. Being spiritually aware invites us to stay connected to the Eternal through the present ever-unfolding moment
While it is perfectly possible to make plans and work within structures, there is also an aliveness accessible in the present moment which will often lead the way. As many spiritually savvy people know, there is the “plan” with a small “p” (the personal plan) and then there is the “Plan” with a big “P” over which we have no control. Allowing space to live spontaneously means responding appropriately to the plan and Plan as needed.
Does all this resonate? Are you one of those spiritually savvy to play your part in this time of emergency on the planet? If you’ve read this far, I suspect so. Welcome aboard. You are in good company. The world needs you.
Great article. I would also say that having the humility to have no need to have power OVER others is an additional sign that you are ready to lead.