What is the spirituality in your workplace?

This consideration was evoked by a conversation this week which, in turn, reminded me of an insight that arose in a workshop on spirituality in the workplace that I co-facilitated about 15 years ago.

The conversation was with Cindy Wigglesworth, founder of Deep Change and a pioneer in the study, skills and practices of Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).  Prior to our talking, I read her insightful article entitled “Deep Intelligence: The Critical Intelligences for Leadership Success in the 21st Century.”

For many, a question such as the one above raises resistance and can provoke cries of “out of bounds” in most workplaces.  One of the reasons is the blurring of distinctions between religion and spirituality.  The first has to do with a set of beliefs and particular path.  Spirituality, on the other hand, is wonderfully defined by Cindy as “the innate human need to be connected to something larger than ourselves…”

We will return to that definition in a moment.

In the reading and speaking with Cindy, I was reminded of the “Spirituality and the Workplace” workshop of many years ago.  As the workshop began, a participant asked the question “Is it even appropriate to speak of Spirit in the workplace?”

As we entered into dialogue around that provocative question, I verbalized a thought and insight that arose in that moment: the question of “is their Spirit in the workplace?” is actually a moot question.  There is always Spirit in the workplace.  The question is what is the quality and characteristics of the Spirit that exists in your workplace?

Is your workplace dominated by the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) and the toxic interplay of Victims, Persecutors and Rescuers?  If so, the Spirit will be one of reactivity and anxiety and the persistent focus on problems.   Constriction of energy, defensiveness (aka “CYA”) and turf protection will prevail.

Or is your workplace one in which TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic), and its roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach are cultivated and practiced?  If so, the Spirit will be one of creating, passion and taking the baby steps that produce envisioned outcomes and responds to challenges in service to creating shared results.  Collaboration, generativity, creative problem solving, and sustainable change are much more likely.

A TED*-based workplace culture is one that is high in SQ and that harnesses “the innate human need to be connected to something larger than ourselves.”


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