Whenever I introduce myself to a group of professionals as the author of The Disquieted Soul, I am routinely asked if the book is an academic publication. This is logical given that I’m now in academia and am expected to publish within the domain of business scholarship, which I also do.
However, most business scholarship does not center on phrases like, “Everyone must do their own introspection, but I have written this book for those who look inside themselves and see—as I have—a strong propensity for disquiet. If you intimately feel the burden of restlessness, instability, anxiousness, and dissatisfaction, with a never-ending need to control your circumstances at any cost, I hope you find some keys to discovery and deliverance in this writing.”
Why not? Because the concepts of personal spiritual health and business acumen don’t always seem connected—at least not at first glance. But I think they should.
As one example, let’s consider the business leader’s sense of self. Consider…
· John is a relatively new project leader. He knows that people in general respond well to praise, but he finds it hard to muster up the will to deliver it. He views himself so inferior that his team would not value his praise—therefore he does not offer it. His team, in turn, comes to believe they are not worthy of it. This leads to a common problem. A leader who feels he is unworthy, can never bestow worthiness upon those he leads.
· Susan is the president of her firm. Despite her position, she feels very insecure in her role. Her credentials do not match others in her station. She believes others may view her as a “poser.” Therefore, she leads with a very tight fist. She will not delegate. Her centralization is very high. In short, she becomes known as a micro-manager because she lacks the self-confidence to trust and enable others. This leads to organizational dysfunction. A leader entrenched in personal insecurity will inevitably restrict their followers.
· Randy is a high-flying executive. Gifted and talented, his abilities seem to know no limits. He is able to make others in his presence feel like “a million bucks.” Yet rumor has it that Randy is not so kind behind others’ backs. In fact, he is known to crucify others to promote himself. At the same time, he appears to need to constantly prove himself to his team members, even while he climbs the ladder at their expense. All this points to an extreme need for validation at any cost. And it often comes at the cost of Randy’s follower’s trust.
Each of these cases, and many more that we can think of, reflect the leaders’ damaged sense of self that ultimately hinders, if not devastates, the team’s ability to perform. Does this directly relate to spiritual health?
I don’t expect every reader to embrace the spiritual conclusions of The Disquieted Soul. Everyone is left to draw their own. But may I suggest that, at a very minimum, the leader’s “sense of self” addressed in The Disquieted Soul directly relates to our ability to really lead effectively?
If so, I think we are off to a wonderful start.