Spiritual leadership: we are not kidding!

By discovering “spiritual leadership”, one might have expected a form of leadership based on humour, self-mockery and the third degree. In fact, it’s not funny at all. This matter is very serious. And if we laugh, it is in despair. Journey to the heart of the New Age and quantum applied to leadership.

We had stopped at transformational leadership as the latest avatar of approaches to the conduct of organizations. We had deduced that to transform organizations, the Leader had to transform himself to better transform his followers through inspiration, motivation, benevolence and consideration. It was still a lot to take in. Except that, now this leadership is “disrupted” by a new variation: spiritual leadership. But then Koitece?

The purpose of spiritual leadership is to reach the basic needs of the leader and associates for spiritual well-being through calling and membership.” (Voynnet-Fourboul 2014: 64)

At the heart of this approach we find the concepts of passages (steps and tests crossed that a leader encounters in an organization with the help of his spirituality) and of alignment (“to be coherent in one’s emotions, one’s mind, one’s body, one’s soul within an identity that one can affirm to the world”Voynnet-Fourboul 2014: 82). It is therefore by initiating a “spiritual journey” which consists of three stages: purification (of thought, words and deeds), illumination, unification that one strengthens his spiritual leadership with “zazen meditation, rebirth, cri prima, holotropic breathing, gestalt therapy, brief therapy, genealogy and tarology, massages, psychoanalysis, family or business constellation” (Voynnet-Fourboul 2014: 84). Do you have the impression that this is a bit of a catch-all? It’s because you’re too rationalist, too French, too Cartesian in short. It’s true, “rationality can constitute a limit to the development of spirituality” (Voynnet-Fourboul 2014: 224). It even risks making this conceptual and theoretical bazaar a bit delusional and above all quite dangerous, like many spiritual practices offered in organizations, in training or in coaching. Judge it.

Sub-atomic leadership

The good thing about quantum is that it’s a condiment that goes with all dishes. It is the universal flavor enhancer. So here are some scientific facts that can be connected”to the metaphorical field inspiring spirituality and management” (Voynnet-Fourboul 2021: 25). Ah well if we are in the “metaphorical field“, so we don’t talk nonsense and above all we can do without any rigor or seriousness, since we tell you that we are in the image, in the inspiration and in the analogy.

Scientists, especially quantum scientists, also teach us that this “psychic sea in which we swim” is rich in properties that far exceed those of matter. Time does not exist there, information circulates there faster than the speed of light, and everything is connected to it. This is not to say that we human beings, in our physical dimension, have these properties. But that our individual consciousness, just like the collective field of consciousness, has these potentialities.(Baranski 2021: 49)

We are reassured to learn that this approach is taught by the author in a public university (Panthéon-Assas) as part of a Master’s program “Coaching and personal development in business”…

The left brain is very reassuring, it quantifies, weighs, measures, counts… but it also makes us unhappy because it projects us into a bitter past and an uncertain future, and prevents us from living in the present moment. The right hemisphere is more imaginative, creative, intuitive and allows access to all our extrasensory perceptions, it is quantum outside of space-time (non-local and in entanglement)…(Martin 2021: 53)

It must not be very pleasant to have half of your brain out of space-time, while the other half makes me unhappy. No, but since we tell you that we are in a “metaphorical field” no need to argue, to give solid bibliographical references!

I would still present to you the “Schematization of the Structure-Temple Fractal model in “n” elements” (Pasquier 2021: 304), but I’m not sure you’re ready. Don’t joke about these things. You have to be “advanced” at the enlightenment level to grasp and not sprain your left brain.

Morality, Virtues and Companies

But by the way, what is this madness supposed to be for? To make individuals and organizations moral! Except that you shouldn’t say moral, because it’s a bit… moralizing. So we talk about “virtues” or values. And these are the prerogative of spiritual leaders (Voynnet-Fourboul 2014: 149): wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, transcendence, etc.

A weak spiritual development is marked by the following attitudes: being pushed by jealousies, rivalries, thinking of having nothing more to learn in the spiritual field, illustrating self-sufficiency, presumption (…), paying more attention to oneself than to others, lacking charity. These are the positions to overcome in the quest for spiritual maturity. On the contrary, spiritual development will coincide with the adoption of values.” (Voynnet-Fourboul 2014: 159)

Damn! Fortunately by Pierre Bayle, as early as 1682, raised the possibility that atheists could be virtuous, because otherwise it would be the stake for a lot of people.

And for organizations, what is the advantage of having a spiritual leader? Well… it’s actually not very clear. But we can glean the following advantages: “be more enlightened” (sic), “produce new behaviors“, “face the challenges“, “reconcile with oneself“, “attract more people around him (the leader)“. In terms of KPIs, we are not yet very sharp!

Skippy and brouzouf

No wonder to find in this magma of bullshit, references to Scharmer “Theory U” or Laloux “Reinventing organizations” among other things, since one of the references common to these two authors and to “spiritual leadership“is Ken Wilber and his”integral theory of consciousness” which is based on almost nothing serious and borrows a lot from the New Age that it also inspired.

On the other hand, there is cause for concern to see the development, worse, to see such nonsense being taught in university establishments. We must take seriously the ambition of the admirers of this new avatar of leadership who are surfing on the cream pie of the “crisis of meaning” and which aim to infiltrate organizations:

But in France the elites have disinvested in the field of the common good, which is justly dear to spirituality (…). And they are unfortunately relayed with a certain contempt by the media establishment in the name of an arrogant right-thinking and an ideology which wants to be without equal.

This is why the company could offer an alternative by becoming a sort of third place capable of fulfilling a mediating role in this spiritual dimension which is lacking in civil society.(Voynnet-Fourboule 2021: 15)

Truly, spiritual leadership is no laughing matter! But not at all !

References :

Baranski, L. (2021). “Governing in five dimensions”, in Voynnet-Fourboul, C. (dir.) Spiritual Leadership in Practice. Cormelles-Le-Royal: Editions EMS, p. 45-9

Martin, P. (2021). “Altered states of consciousness” in Voynnet-Fourboul, C. (dir.) Spiritual Leadership in Practice. Cormelles-Le-Royal: Editions EMS, p. 52-7

Pasquier, F. (2021). “Mobilizing the dimension of the spiritual in education” in Voynnet-Fourboul, C. (dir.) Spiritual Leadership in Practice. Cormelles-Le-Royal: Editions EMS, p 302-8

Voynnet-Fourboul, C. (2014). Lead with your soul. Leadership and Spirituality. Cormelles-Le-Royal: Editions EMS.

Voynnet-Fourboul, C. (ed.) (2021). Spiritual Leadership in Practice. Cormelles-Le-Royal: Editions EMS

Spiritual leadership: we are not kidding!