By Cindy Wigglesworth
Great leaders work toward creating a company that can outlast their own leadership. What kind of skills does leading for long-term success require? It requires a high IQ and appropriate technical know-how. But it also requires emotional intelligence (EQ), and even spiritual intelligence (SQ). In fact, I would argue that the skills associated with SQ may be the key differentiator between good leaders and great leaders. In three decades working with corporate leaders, I’ve observed that those who inspire trust, creativity, productivity, and long-term commitment from their teams have one core characteristic in common: they have learned to listen to the voice of their noblest self, which is the foundational skill of SQ.
That may not sound like hard-nosed business advice. Yet, don’t the best business decisions come when listening to our naturally unselfish, compassionate, calm, and wise self? And haven’t the greatest mistakes come from those times when listening to other voices inside – voices that are more selfish, impulsive, greedy, short-sighted, and immature? To be a great leader, a high-SQ leader, learn to listen to the wiser part the voices when it really matters.
Learning to listen to the noblest self – a higher self – takes consistent practice. Spiritual Intelligence is not a matter of beliefs, it is a skill-set developed over time. Here are three things that can be done on a daily basis to learn to tune in to the wiser side.
Find True North
A higher self is aligned with the values that matter most. Thinking about those values can act as an “inner compass,” pointing in the right direction. For example, my highest value, my “true north,” is Love (defined as wisdom and compassion acting together). So when I want to make a spiritually intelligent decision, I ask myself, “What would Love do?” If true north is not immediately clear, think about those leaders most admired, and then think about what traits they have that make them inspirational. There may be a theme that emerges. Try to find a word or a name that captures that theme, and insert it into the question, “What would ______do?” Ask this question in challenging moments and listen to the results.
A higher self tends to look for the best in people, and seek the most compassionate and constructive interpretation of a situation. When jumping to quick conclusions about another person or a situation, pause for a moment. Is there a dramatic tone to the voice inside? If so, it’s likely the situation is being “framed” through a less mature, more egocentric self-voice. In order to shift perspective, see the situation through wiser eyes. Ask, could there be another explanation? What else might lead this person to act in this way? Or, consider what would have to be going on in my life to cause me to act in that way? Through reframing, there is a calmer, wiser self that stops the momentum that might have led to making faulty assumptions and weak decisions.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
A higher self doesn’t waste time complaining or feeling sorry for itself. When feeling frustrated, angry, or victimized, one of the quickest and most powerful ways to get in touch with that nobler person is to think about what there is to be grateful for in that moment. In almost any situation, there is something to be grateful for – even if it’s the strength gained from surviving the problem, or learning patience. Gratitude calms the fight-or-flight system and changes the way we respond to the situations in front of us. With practice, gratitude becomes a habit. It becomes easier to see what is right in the world; a very good antidote to the more immature, selfish voice that distracts. Gratitude is the voice of a higher self.
Setting a New Example
It seems to be human nature to have moments of selfishness, short-sightedness, greed, impulsiveness, and immaturity. But I believe it is also human nature to be unselfish, compassionate, calm, and wise. We simply need to learn – and practice – the all-important skill of listening to the best part of ourselves. Too often, as the headlines reflect, leaders in the corporate world have been examples of the worst parts of human nature. What if a new breed of spiritually intelligent leaders and change agents could demonstrate, by example, a calm, compassionate, visionary approach to business? Such an approach would be rooted in their own most deeply held values and their noblest selves. I firmly believe the leaders of the future will be those who develop this capacity.
Cindy Wigglesworth is the author of “SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence” and the founder and CEO of Houston-based Deep Change, Inc. She is an Ambassador for Conscious Capitalism. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cindy-wigglesworth/
Oct 03, 2015 Comments Off on Conscious Capitalism
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