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The Spiritual Dimension of Leadership

The Spiritual Dimension of Leadership
8 Key Principles to Leading More Effectively

Foreword by Dawna Markova

Other Titles in:
Ethics & Spirituality | Leadership

April 2006 | 176 pages | Corwin
'In this book, Paul Houston and Steve Sokolow sow seeds of wisdom that offer hope and sound guiding principles for America's educational leaders' - Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former Governor of South Carolina

'This book fills a troubling void in the leadership literature by highlighting the vital spiritual side of a leader's role' - Terrence E. Deal, Author Leading With Soul and Reframing the Path to School Leadership

'Houston and Sokolow focus on how leaders can remain true to their core beliefs and still lead successful organizations. This should be required reading for all leaders and prospective leaders' - Vincent L. Ferrandino, Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals

'I can't imagine a more timely and important book for educators' - Margaret J. Wheatley, Author, Leadership and the New Science

'Houston and Sokolow have done an extraordinary job of looking beyond the traditional view of leadership to incorporate a spiritual dimension' - Dr. Gerald N. Tirozzi, Executive Director, National Association of Secondary School Principals

'The Spiritual Dimension of Leadership reminds us that the job of leadership is complex, but the actions we take can be very simple and yet have a big impact' - Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director, National School Boards Association

Busy school leaders rarely have the time to reflect on what motivates them to do the difficult work they do. The authors argue that many of the values, beliefs, and principles that guide and sustain school leaders have underlying spiritual roots. The more in touch school leaders can be with those spiritual roots, the more enlightened their leadership becomes, and the more effective they become in leading others to a better future.

This book offers eight principles of enlightened leadership that, the authors suggest, are accessible to everyone. Each principle is clearly outlined, defined by several examples, and then applied to the practice of school leadership, offering ways for readers to become more mindful of enlightened leadership principles in their own work and lives.

Foreword by Dawna Markova
About the Authors
1. The Principle of Intention
Intention Is a Fundamental Principle of Enlightened Leadership

Thought Is More Important Than People Think

When Thought Becomes Prayer

Spoken and Written Words Are Keys to Manifesting Your Intention

Leaders Must Align Their Actions and Intentions

Enlisting Spiritual and Nonspiritual Forces to Manifest Your Intentions

Using Your “Third Eye” to Manifest Intentions

Leaders Use Attention to Focus the Lens of Intention

Leaders Focus Energy to Manifest Their Intentions


2. The Principle of Attention
Attention Is One of the Key Principles for Enlightened Leaders

The Role of Attention in the Thinking of Enlightened Leaders

The Role of Attention in the Doing of Enlightened Leaders

The Role of Attention in the Being of Enlightened Leaders

How Enlightened Leaders Maximize Time on Task

How Enlightened Leaders Focus Power and Energy

How Attention Serves as a Magnet for Enlisting Others

How Enlightened Leaders Keep Their Focus

How Enlightened Leaders Use Images to Communicate


3. The Principle of Unique Gifts and Talents
Leaders Need to Be Aware That Everyone Has Unique Gifts and Talents

Discovering and Developing Everyone’s Unique Gifts and Talents

How to Help Others Cultivate Their Unique Gifts and Talents

Enlightened Leaders Facilitate the Sharing of Unique Gifts and Talents

How Enlightened Leaders Extend Unique Gifts and Talents

How Uniqueness Contributes to the Tapestry of Life

How the Divine Helps to Clarify Life’s Purpose(s)


4. The Principle of Gratitude
Having an Attitude of Gratitude

The Importance of Being Mindful of Life’s Blessings

The Effect of Showing Gratitude for Help and Support

The Importance of Being Grateful for Progress

Enlightened Leaders Are Grateful for Obstacles and Adversaries

Showing You Are Grateful for Love Received

Showing You Are Grateful for Love Accepted

Showing You Are Grateful for the Opportunity to Help Others

How You Can Show You Are Grateful for Your Gifts and Talents

About Being Grateful

Enlightened Leaders Experience Boundless Gratitude

The Importance of Being Grateful for Divine Guidance


5. The Principle of Unique Life Lessons
Using the Experiences of Daily Life to Grow Personally and Professionally

People Are Given Life Lessons to Promote Spiritual Growth

Problems Are Actually Opportunities in Disguise

Clouds Do Have Silver Linings

Learning Life’s Lessons the Hard Way or the Easy Way

Using the Weaknesses Within Strengths to Understand Life Lessons

Mastery of Each Life Lesson Opens a Gateway to the Next

Endings Create the Opportunity for New Beginnings


6. The Principle of a Holistic Perspective
Spiritual Truths in the Story of Three Blind Men and the Elephant

Enlightened Leaders Are Aware That Everything Is Connected

The Butterfly Effect and Its Implications for Leaders

Leaders Must Know How the Parts and the Whole Are Related

Fractals Can Be a Valuable Tool for Leaders

A Holographic Perspective Is a Valuable Tool for Leaders

The Spiritual Lessons of Oneness, Unity, and Holistic Thinking


7. The Principle of Openness
Openness Is an Important Principle for Leaders

The Spiritual Aspects of Openness

Enlightened Leaders Create Open Systems

Leaders Must Be Open to Many Things

Opening Your Heart and Mind

How Openness Maximizes Growth and Creativity

Why Openness Is the Key to Creating Infinite Potentiality


8. The Principle of Trust
Why It Is Important for Leaders to Be Trusting

Why It Is Essential for Leaders to Be Trustworthy

Why It Is Important to Trust Yourself

Trusting Your Higher Self

Enlightened Leaders Must Learn to Trust the Universe

Why It Is Important to Give Trust as a Gift Whenever Possible


Selected Bibliography

"In order for teachers to empower their students, teachers must first be empowered themselves. At a time when teachers are feeling frustrated and disenchanted, this inspiring and insightful book offers a series of spiritual principles of leadership that can help empower both teachers and students alike."

Reg Weaver, President
National Education Association

"When asked by some aspiring young song-writer or folk-singer how he or she might pursue success, I always tell them that first they must believe in something, authentically, and only then can their music inspire and touch the hearts of listeners. This book makes a parallel assertion, inspiring us even as it speaks to the nature of inspiration as a necessary component of communication, empathy, and empowerment of others; all of these are fundamental to the practice and art of true leadership."

Peter Yarrow, Folk Singer
Peter, Paul & Mary

"When I served as Governor of South Carolina, improving education was my top priority. As U.S. Secretary of Education, I was honored to lead President Clinton’s crusade for excellence in education. Wise leadership, especially in education, is one of the keys to America’s future success. In this book, Paul Houston and Steve Sokolow sow seeds of wisdom that offer hope and sound guiding principles for America’s education leaders."

Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former Governor of South Carolina

"For most of human history, leadership was inseparable from wisdom. Today it’s mostly about power and cleverness. Paul Houston and Steve Sokolow’s practical and down to earth guide will help many find their way back."

Peter Senge, Founding Chair
Society for Organizational Learning

"A fine piece that will be of great support to a great many people."

Parker J. Palmer, Author

"Houston and Sokolow have identified 42 principles that have guided their own work. Included are some we all would immediately see as essential—intention, attention, trust, and openness—as well as those that don't come so readily to mind—such as unique gifts and talents, unique life lessons, a holistic perspective, and gratitude."

Principal Magazine, January/February 2007

Sample Materials & Chapters




Chapter 1 excerpt

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ISBN: 9781412925785