You may wonder if it is appropriate to say our role as a leader is to raise spirits – I argue it is, but I am not talking about the vodka or bourbon type spirits. I am talking about our role as a leader is to raise the human spirit. The term spirit can evoke many things for each of us; some interpretations that are offered by Harrison Owen in his book “The Spirit of Leadership” includes breath, life and energy.
Have you ever reflected on previous jobs, remembering with warmth the people who came to work and lifted your spirits when things were not going well for you? In essence, these people were comforting your spirit.
Or what about the amazing leader who has vision – they can evoke our spirit through their vision, they create an energy that can lift us out of the day-to-day mundane and engage, energise and inspire us to be passionate about what we can create.
Owen’s says that “Though it may be true that leaders have a multitude of very practical tasks, they have one task that outweighs all others: to care for Spirit.”
Have you ever stopped and thought about how you ‘care for the spirit of those around you?’
The central task of leadership is to liberate and focus Spirit, or create the environment and space in which the work gets done.
Owen says we can ‘Lead with Spirit’ by including the following in our leadership repertoire:
- Evoking spirit with vision – as a leader share your vision!
- Growing spirit through collective storytelling – invite stories from those around you about themselves and the work they are passionate about
- Sustaining spirit with structure – put in place regular catch-ups with people, have team meetings, create regular spaces to connect
- Comforting spirit when things end – declare when programs have ended or when people leave, acknowledge endings
- Raising spirit – hold celebrations, acknowledge achievements, encourage innovation
What simple practices can you put in place as a leader to ‘Care for Spirit?’ For a conversation contact nicky@ nickyhowe.com