Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Intelligence & Leadership

By Cindy Wigglesworth

Research is finally validating what many of us knew all along – that there is more to great leaders than brains. What research is now validating is that great leaders need to use their hearts and souls, as well as their minds! But let’s begin at the beginning…

In 1905 Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon developed the first modern intelligence test. Since that time we have been debating what "intelligence" is, where it comes from, and how to develop it.

Our "Intelligence Quotient" or "IQ" is generally thought of as our linear, analytical intelligence. Initially it was expected that IQ would be a strong predictor of success in careers. In fact it has turned out to be a weak predictor of success. IQ appears to be related to minimum standards to enter a given a profession. But once you have chosen your career, what actually leads to success is far more complicated.

Daniel Goleman popularized the phrase "Emotional Intelligence" with the publication of his book by the same title in 1995. In his book, Goleman cites research at Bell Labs that examined star performers, and tried to determine what distinguished them from more average performers. It appeared that star performers had stronger relationship skills than average performers. Harvard Business Review published the results of the Bell Labs study in 1993. Business interest in the study of "Emotional Intelligence" or "EQ" began in earnest.

EQ is actually a large collection of skills. Goleman has recently grouped these skills into 4 quadrants as shown below1.

1. SELF AWARENESS

Emotional self-awareness
Accurate self-assessment
Self-confidence

2. OTHER AWARENESS

Empathy
Organizational Awareness
Service Orientation

3. SELF MANAGEMENT

Self-Control
Trustworthiness
Conscientiousness
Adaptability
Achievement Orientation
Initiative

4. SOCIAL SKILLS

Teamwork & Collaboration
Developing Others
Influence
Communication
Leadership
Conflict Management

There is a fascinating relationship among these quadrants. Research is showing that EQ begins in the Self Awareness quadrant. The degree to which we are self-aware literally limits our ability to be aware of others, or to manage ourselves. The last skills to develop are our Social Skills, being dependent on the other 3 quadrants. Self-awareness is dependent on listening to feedback. So a willingness to truly hear others is a prerequisite for high EQ.

It is interesting that Socrates gave the advice "Know Thyself" approximately 2400 years ago. The historical Buddha (roughly 2500 years ago) made the study of the mind (profound self-knowledge) such an elevated practice that it became a major world religion.

So what is the link to Spiritual Intelligence? Dana Zohar, a quantum physicist, gave a lecture at the Science and Consciousness conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in April 2001. She was working on a new book on Spiritual Intelligence (or "SQ"), and at that time listed 9 characteristics of SQ. The first of Zohar’s points directly echoes the first quadrant of EQ – Self Awareness but goes beyond it to a sense of connection to the universe.

Spiritual Intelligence, according to Zohar, is:

1. Self-Awareness … you know who you really are and you know that you are connected with the whole universe.

2. Vision & Values Led – or Idealism. Children naturally want to serve, and so do we. Vision and values led is definitive of our humanity.

3. The Capacity to Face and USE Adversity…owning our mistakes and adversity and using pain and tragedy to learn

4. To be Holistic: seeing the connections between things. Being open to and interested in EVERYTHING.

5. Diversity…thriving in and celebrating diversity. I look at you and see what is different in you and I say "Thank God for that!"

6. Field Independence (Courage)…a term from psychology that means the courage not to adapt, to be independent.

7. The Tendency to Ask WHY? Questions are infinite. In Quantum Physics questions CREATE reality.

8. The Ability to Re-Frame…put things into a larger context of meaning.

9. Spontaneity. This is NOT acting on a whim…it comes from the same Latin roots as RESPONSE and RESPONSIBILITY. It is not conditioned by fear. It is appropriately "responsive to" the world.

Jim Collins became famous in the world of business with the publication of his first book, "Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies" (HarperCollins, 1994) co-authored with James Porras. In it they described their in-depth research and their conclusions regarding 18 companies that were unique in their reputation in their industry, their resilience through hard times and their financial success over 50+ years. The central conclusion: truly great companies are Visionary and Values driven. This directly echoes Dr. Zohar’s 2nd characteristic of SQ.

In his latest book, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t," (HarperCollins 2001) Jim Collins researched 11 companies who made the transition from being good companies to being "great" companies on par with the companies in "Built to Last". A key finding was that each company had what he calls "Level 5 Leadership" (see www.jimcollins.com for more information). As I read about Level 5 leaders I realized that they seemed to demonstrate most or all of the characteristics described as "SQ" by Zohar. In addition, they showed a profound personal humility and a powerful faith that they and their company would prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.

Self-awareness and cultivating inner strength (or faith) has a solid grounding in all of the major spiritual traditions. Jesus went into the wilderness to meditate and to hear the voice of the infinite creator, as did Abraham, Moses and Mohammed. Buddhists and Hindus practice meditation for these purposes as well.

The implications for leadership are clear. High IQ doesn’t guarantee a good leader. High EQ has been correlated with success. But does it alone create greatness? Sustained and recognized greatness, even in the tough world of Corporate America, is obtained by something deeper. If a corporate leader is willing to deeply know herself and her place in the universe, she can reach the graduate school of SQ. With SQ comes the ultimate success – obtaining company success in such a way that customers, employees and society all benefit. And after creating a great company, the high SQ person sincerely deflects all praise onto the "wonderful people of this organization."

What if EQ and SQ skills became part of the curriculum for all leaders? With solid analysis such as Jim Collins’ leading the way, perhaps that day will soon come.

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1  Daniel Goleman, lecture given at September 1999 Emotional Intelligence Conference, Chicago, IL

 

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Cynthia Wigglesworth
President, Conscious Pursuits, Inc.
www.consciouspursuits.com

"Conscious Pursuits, Inc has a proprietary Spiritual Intelligence Assessment Instrument which will be available for public use by January 2004.  Please contact Cindy at cindy@consciouspursuits.com if you are interested in being in the pilot test groups or for access to the completed instrument"

 

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