Science, Spirituality & Purpose

Sumant Joshi | Blog Author
Sumant Joshi September 16, 2020

In our latest podcast with Surya Prakash Mohapatra, Global Head-Talent Transformation at Wipro DOP, we focused on some of the otherwise overlooked aspects of business and leadership that tie in deeply with the core of one’s being. In this blog, we explore some of the key points highlighted by Surya and share incredible insights from a spiritual PoV.

“The core of spirituality is in being and becoming.”

It might seem odd to suggest an approach that involves spirituality in one’s business practices and especially, leadership practices, but there is a certain credibility to the suggestion, given age old linkages of spirituality on successful leaders. So, let’s explore this a bit further.

Before we jump into understanding the value of spirituality in leadership, let us first look at the meaning of these two aspects. A spirit refers to "that which is traditionally believed to be the vital principle or animating force within living beings." While, a leader is "one who shows the way by going in advance; one who causes others to follow some course of action or line of thought." The spirit refers us to the depth of an individual, or the core and essence of something, while a leader is an individual who influences others to think, act or behave in a certain manner.

So, while speaking of spirituality and leadership in the same breath, it behooves us to understand that a leader that imbibes spirituality in her leadership style will most certainly influence her followers to seek out their own spirituality. Thus, spirituality in (business) leadership can then be defines as an approach where the leadership influences employees to connect with their being and becoming.

“Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations.”

In today’s volatile business environment, leaders are always tasked with improving employee engagement, motivation and eventually the productivity and performance that will lead to optimum business results. A large part of this is motivation and rewards.

As the paper Spiritual leadership at the workplace: Perspectives and theories describes it – ‘Motivation refers to those rewards on performance-driven desires that aim to produce the best result in employees by encouraging them to show their indigenous skills to an optimum level.’

People are largely driven by two basic motivations, which are ‘extrinsic and intrinsic’. Extrinsic motivations refer to external factors like a pay raise, promotion, recognition, benefits etc., while intrinsic motivation is essentially ‘evident as autonomy, competence, and relatedness and requires a certain degree of self-management or autonomy at the working environment.”

Combining the core of being, intrinsic motivation, and the values that drive an individual, spirituality can most certainly be a large influence on leadership development in current times.

For more podcasts about leadership, visit Leadership Spotlight.