Conscious and Spiritual Leadership - a Discussion About the Research

Conscious and Spiritual Leadership – a Discussion About the Research

Organisational Success Podcast

Conscious and Spiritual Leadership

What are conscious and spiritual leadership approaches? How do they fit together, and what does the research say about these two perspectives on leadership?

In this podcast David talks with consultant, interfaith minister and researcher David Wetton about all aspects of spiritual and conscious leadership, dispelling several myths and misunderstandings about these two forms of leadership.

About David Wetton, researcher and spiritual leadership consultant

David Wetton
David Wetton

David Wetton is based in London in the UK. David is one of our members and holds a First Class degree BSc in Economics from Bristol University  an MBA from Warwick Business School and a research Masters from Durham Business School (all Russell Group top UK universities). His research and work centres around Conscious and Spiritual leadership.

Podcast – Conscious and Spiritual Leadership

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– Okay, welcome back. Today I’m talking with David Wetton, who’s based in Birmingham in the UK. David’s one of our members. He’s got a First Class degree in Economics from Bristol University. My daughter’s just finished her bachelor’s in Economics in Manchester and I know from vicarious experience and a lot of heartache, it’s not an easy degree. He’s got an MBA from Warwick Business School and a Research Master’s from Durham Business School, which are all Russell Group top universities in the UK. David’s also an ordained interfaith minister and his research work centers around conscious and spiritual leadership. Anyway, welcome David.

– Thank you, it’s great to be here.

– It’s great to have you along. So, could you just start by giving us a little bit more about your background, who you are, what you do and tell me a little bit about the research that you’re engaged in.

– I will do, I’ll give you a very short, brief kind of part of history and that was, as you said, university, did my degree in Economics, went then and trained to be a chartered accountant ’cause everyone said chartered accountant gives you great options. So, I’m a trained chartered accountant here in the UK. And then I had a sense, David, that actually, I loved when I was a chartered accountant, I always loved going out and exploring the wider aspects of the company, the strategy, what they were doing, what they were about, what was happening. So in, it would have been around, then you mentioned, I went, I think it was around about in the late ’80s, it was late ’80s. I went and did an MBA there at Warwick Business School, and I realized two things. One, I realized how much the current business world relies on finance because a lot of people go on to get an MBA to get their finance knowledge. But my approach, to give you a sense of my research approach was that I didn’t take the easy way through the MBA. What I mean by that is I didn’t just go, well, I’ll take the finance options ’cause I’m an accountant, I can do those. I purposely chose disciplines that I did not know anything about at all, so I did HR, I did services management, operations management. These sorta things, and absolutely loved it. And saw then how all the pieces fitted together. So, coming out of that I then became a strategy consultant out in some big companies actually here in the UK, so including, I think, NatWest, Prudential Building Society, with EY, Volvo Truck and Bus, and a number of things and just realizing that actually what I was was people said, “David, you’re like an insider from the outside and that you feel like one of us, but you bring this objective sense and this compassion which really helps us move forward.” And I loved doing that. So I was very happy really kind of in that sort of structured role after my MBA. And then what happened to me actually was I went on a retreat to, if you know the place, in Holy Island, Lindisfarne, Northeast England, and got deeply touched by the beautiful nature of the place and the sense of the really grounded reality, I talk about evidence-based research and being grounded, the grounded reality of the Celtic saints of the particularly seven saints, St Aidan, Saint Hills, St Cuthbert and it really sent me off and I just felt there was something about these people and I was on a Christian faith that really moved me and touched me. So it sent me off on a journey and it’s a couple of years later and I looked at our country for this podcast. I went to, so many listeners will be familiar with the Academy of Management, which tends to meet in the States. And I went out for the first time in 2008 to the Academy of Management in the States, ’cause I was only interested in what does this spiritual thing mean in respect of business? And I honestly with you, David, I thought, am I going crazy here? I’m trying to combine spirituality with business. Did the two ever meet? And when I went out there, I met someone out there, who sadly, has recently passed on he was someone called Professor Andre Delbecq. And he was professor at Santa Clara University in California in their business school, such a gracious man. And I actually get some time to speak with him and he sat me down and he was the first one that said, “David, you’re not going mad.” And he drew a triangle for me and on one corner of the triangle, he put evidence-based research and he said, “To be relevant in research is really important, David.” And then on the other side, he said, “It’s about practice as well.” He said, “If we don’t put this evidence into practice, it makes a difference with practical business results as far as I’m concerned, it’s not worth doing.” And I absolutely agree with him there. And then on the third part, he then put spirit, spirituality and spiritual. And he said, “Actually, when you bring facts into the equation as well,” he said, “You have a firm platform on which to venture out into the business world.” And he explained what he was doing from a university perspective, being a consultant and taking the spirituality into the workplace. So really from there I had a sense and a feeling, actually, this is a grounded sense. And that’s then when I went to Durham University Business School and did my master’s in business research on exploring the role of spirituality in the workplace. And as you mentioned, roundabout, the same time, 2011, I got ordained here in the UK as an interfaith minister. And the reason I did that is I felt if I’m going into business and I’m talking about spirituality, I don’t want people to think well, you’re pushing just one strand of Christianity, whatever, ’cause then faith minister, he’s here for people of all fates and those of none. So that’s the kind of grounding that then I kind of took in. And it does, it’s perhaps sounding less bizarre these days after all the COVID regulations, but it just really kind of seems to work and people connect with it. And the sense of actually I’m how can people make there’s a lot of talk in this area about meaning and purpose and the so much now, isn’t it? In the world around meaning and purpose that, and I believe everyone has a spirituality, we’ll probably come on to that later as to what’s the definition of that. Cause that in itself from an academic perspective, research perspective is so interesting.

– Yeah, it’s interesting actually. I was talking to somebody else last week actually about purpose-driven or purpose-led leadership. And we’ll come onto this in a second. So we’ve got kind of two things going on here. We’ve got the idea of conscious leadership that you’ve kind of mentioned this more consciousness I suppose, and spiritual leadership. Would you start with a conscious leadership? What do you mean by that?

– Thank you, that’s a good question. And on my journey, actually, my journey is full of bizarre meetings but wonderful meetings actually. As part of my journey on my spirituality, I found myself doing my research actually for my master’s at Durham University Business School. I went out to the Bay area in San Francisco, and I had the pleasure of meeting, there’s a guy out there called John Renesch, he is a futurist, he’s somewhere in between a sort of academic and a practical consultant as well, but he takes his research really seriously. And I met him and actually he was the person who actually coined the term conscious leadership. So actually out of the horse’s mouth and what he said to me, cause I’ve also got the podcast “Conscious Leadership Now”, when he came on that he actually said, “Well, David, when I coined that back in the 1980s, what I meant by conscious leadership was to communicate the quality we now call for people who are leaders in organizations and society for determining a positive future for our children and grandchildren to inherit.” And he said, I call it conscious because he believes our circumstances call for a higher state of consciousness. So a sense of actually what’s needed for the whole of humanity, not just for me or this organization, how can I actually make a difference for the greater good of all? And the second thing he said, which actually is a theme that runs through this, he says, David he said, “When I define conscious leadership, I don’t define this as an absolute term.” Because he said, “I believe there are a number of people have their own definitions of what that might mean.” And he said, “I think that’s important that people do that. I’m giving you my view as to what it is.” So there isn’t really a defined view of conscious leadership out there. And maybe that might be a good way to actually link it into when I was with the Academy of Management going back to really evidence-base a big group of academics and practitioners that are out there from around the world. And what I quickly discovered is, again, there’s no agreed definition of spirituality in that group, which actually was giving them some real issues because from an academic perspective of the things that like to be defined and agreed upon and built upon, but because there was no one single agreed definition, they said, actually, this can be a concern for this particular chapter as they call it because in Academy Management, they have the management spirituality and religion chapter, which interestingly enough has more members than the chapter of operations management, which I found incredible.

– Oh really? I didn’t know that. That is interesting.

– So I can still help if you like listeners, I’ll give you what, when I did my research, my definition I lent on for what does spiritual mean was one from somewhere I know actually Georganne Lamont in a book she wrote in 2002, she said, “Spirituality is not religion, it’s not about beliefs, creeds, or dogmas. It’s about being fully alive, relationships and what gives meaning and purpose to life.” And I find if I look in conscious leadership and in my podcast, when I ask people, what does conscious leadership mean to you? Those kinds of themes tend to come through. So it’s about relationships, emotional intelligence, it’s about meaning and purpose. It’s about actually being fully alive. So I’m actually me actually making a difference in the world. What really ignites and excites me and finally, I think coming back, I think it’s just fascinating. You can tell, I really love this era because I think it is really so important after Andre Delbecq died in 2016, in 2017, there was a group of academics and practitioners that met to actually discuss what does it mean to be a spiritually and developmentally mature leader?

– The next question.

– Beautiful, isn’t it? He left this heuristic as a challenge. He’d said, what does it mean to be spiritually and developmentally mature leader? So they met and there is a book that’s come out of this retreat that I have, which I’ve got, which is fascinating, but they came up with three key elements. So these academics said actually the first one is that this spiritual and developmentally mature leader has an awareness of themselves and of others. So for this self and others, I kind of see this come back to the work of emotional intelligence and Daniel Goldman. The second one, not surprisingly is that they have a sense of meaning and purpose, which I’m not sure they said also they bring in values, a sense of love and making compassion, making a difference. And again, finally, which is what I said before that committed to the greater good. So there’s an aspect of them, they transcend the ego, they’re here for the greater good, they’re not this autocratic leader or this even the charismatic leaders that’s after you know, the good for them and the organization, they’re committed to the greater good.

– Yeah and I think this is important and I think it’s an important exploration for all leaders. Is this, the idea of purpose and meaning beyond their immediate goals for the business or their own immediate goals is what’s the bigger picture here? What is it that I want globally on a larger scale for the people for society and how does my piece fit into that? And quite often, certainly in kind of leadership development circles I tend to see a lot of the discussions around purpose, having a smaller meaning for individual purpose or the purpose of the organization, the aim and the goals of just the organization in a kind of a profit or a growth kind of way, as opposed to how do we fit into society, a global society, how do we fit into what’s happening here and what I’d actually liked this planet to be like, and how are we helping that? Now that’s takes you onto a completely different journey as a leader and takes you onto a completely different track of thinking about what you’re doing, your business, your actions, the activities, and the activities of your people as well.

– And I think David, this is where I get excited to get from this perspective Oxford review and whatever, because I don’t know if you’ve come across him? I interviewed for my podcast, Professor Alex Edmans who, and I’m guessing here he’s a young professor and he’s at London Business School. And he’s professor of financing at London Business School. And he’s got a PhD from MIT, Fulbright scholar. Now he’s written a book about “Growing The Pie How Great Companies Deliver Both Profit and Purpose”. And he’s on the steering committee of the Purposeful Company Task Force, which was established in 2015 with support of Bank of England, to transform Ritchie’s business with purpose-led companies, to create longterm value through serving the needs of society. So when I spoke with him, I’ve got this rear sense there’s a thread going through, British society and world society, where people look around in this sort of thing. And they’re asking deep questions because sometimes actually to use the word people go, oh, it’s spiritual, it’s conscious leisure, oh, that’s a bit fluffy. But what I want to be clear here is actually the people that are really going deep in the research, and they’re saying actually leading in this sort of way really does make a difference.

– It makes a big difference inside and I think-

– Wellbeing, isn’t it? This sense of that, that no one, I said my definition around feeling fully alive, how wonderful that is to be, and I’ve always said that people spend so much time at work, or they could say they’re spending time, oh, and COVID, but what I mean is that they devote a lot of time to their work. So if you’re connected to a purpose led business, that is making a difference for the greater good of all the community, whatever that is, whatever your passion is, I just think that is just wonderful as opposed to just turning up at work, doing your job and waiting for Friday to arrive.

– Yes, definitely and just going for, and not just short-term goals as in time, but short goals, as in terms of just a small niche of, I’m just engaged in these things. And one of the big realizations that I had certainly about what I’m doing in terms of the Oxford Review was, and it felt like a non-religious spiritual moment of the realization about evidence-based practice, about getting proper research evidence to practitioners so that they’re making decisions based on something that’s not just opinion, but it wasn’t that it was that wider sense of what’s happening at the moment, in terms of politics and things to do with fake news, this feeling that kind of politicians and people can just say whatever they want, that all opinions are equally valid when actually, if there’s no evidence for them and evidence can be challenged or a lack of evidence can be challenged, but fitting into a bigger ecosystem then becomes a feeling. And that’s how I would describe it, a sense of something deep inside that connects you to the rest of what’s going on. And that there really is a deeper purpose in what’s going on.

– Absolutely, yes and this sense of purpose, meaning what I wanted to clarify. Cause I’m having a conversation this week, actually, one of the questions I often get asked is asked the question, how can you be professional and take spirituality into the workplace? And quite often, when you dig underneath that, what they really mean is is people get confused and actually equate spirituality with religion. So for me, there is a difference from an academic research perspective that actually have spirituality and my own stance, this is my own view is that everybody has a spirituality that which brings me in purpose. That’s what brings you alive. You know, I’ve coached atheist who says, I love being out in nature and he said, that’s my spirituality. Then for me, you have to have spirituality. Then you have faith, so if you’ve got a faith, it’s a faith in something bigger. Now that might be in the divine, the universe, whatever it could be in Covey’s “Seven Habits”, you’ve got real faith or something your grandma said. And then on top of that, you’ve then got religion. So religion brings together threads to say, this is what we believe in, our faith is based on this. Do you agree with these creeds and dogmas enough so you can join us? So that’s why I think the big gap between religion and spirituality. So when I’m speaking and actually it’s really interesting though, because whenever I go and speak somewhere, quite often, the hackles are up. People are expecting a talk about religion. When I get talking quite often, people catch me afterwards and say, I love what you said. I thought you were going to come and convert us to whatever faith, but when you spoke, it really resonated with me, thank you.

– Yeah, so I think it is important too, that they’re connected, religion and spirituality are connected, but they’re not the same thing.

– Here’s, almost a paradox here that actually, once you work around those definitions, you begin to understand that actually also religion does have its place. It’s not inverted commas, bad. Sometimes people hold tightly onto their beliefs. So they can be perceived and received by the others feeling uncomfortable here, but for me, there’s a lesson for me in there as a researcher ’cause sometimes I can hold onto my research beliefs perhaps too deeply. We know that, don’t we? So it helps me, if that makes sense.

– Yes, I say that a lot. Yes, definitely and you dropped in another word into this. Quite candidly, I think that the whole idea of sense-making and our sense-making changes from when we’re looking at things on a micro scale to things on a macro scale. So if we’re thinking about our place in the world in society, whether we’re doing good things, our sense-making is very different and our decision-Making from that sense-making is very different from just looking at a micro scale of how much money can I make or how can I, whatever it happens to be, how can I grow this business to 10X or whatever it is, when we actually extrapolate out into a bigger context, both the sense-making and the decisions start to change as well and I think that’s an important part of this.

– I was going to say, actually and again, for those listening, I would encourage them to have a look at this piece of research and just to dig it out. When we talk about spirituality, one thread that we’re hear in society is confident around mindfulness, and you’re probably aware there is a mindfulness all party parliamentary group in the UK, which was set up in 2014. Now the really interesting thing, is there’s something called Mindfulness Initiative, which she also has a basis, probably in Oxford. But they’ve recently released a report last year in 2020, which is called “Mindfulness Developing Agency In Urgent Times”. And I urge people to have a look at that because the three areas they look at in respect of mindfulness is one perceiving. And they define that as gathering and processing information, the second one, and then say understanding, making sense and making decisions on what’s important. So when I looked at those and there’s a third element, I thought, my goodness, that’s the first two for me are Oxford review. That’s where you have it, then the third one, here’s the interesting thing, the third one is then doing. So how do we then use that information to live together in the world, collaborating for the greater good. And I just thought, wow, that is just really wonderful. It felt really solid, it felt exciting. It had a sense of, we can really, we can develop agency in these urgent times through these sorts of things. And that’s why I wrote it down for today, ’cause I thought Oxford review, that’s what you’re doing.

– Thank you, yes, yes, exactly. And just a note here, we’ll put links to all of the things that David’s talking about in the show notes. And certainly with that report, we’ll put it in the members area anyway, brilliant. Okay, so in the research for this podcast that I was doing and I kinda mentioned to you at the beginning I started having a look at the research numbers for, and so I’ve separated out conscious and spiritual leadership, start to have a look at the research numbers, which I found fascinating, actually. I hadn’t actually done it before for these terms. I do it quite a lot for other terms, ’cause I like to get an idea of what kind of an overview of what’s going on within the research area. So last year and we’re talking about conscious leadership now, there were just over 200 published papers in conscious leadership. Conscious leadership is part of the study or that was the main topic of this study. And overall there are only about 2,500 studies in total and that’s out of about four and a half million studies about leadership generally. Now the largest tranche of that is taken up with things like transformational leadership certain leadership and things like that. So from a research point of view, this really isn’t mainstream and the most cited source was the book “Beyond Change Management: How To Achieve Breakthrough Results Through Conscious Change Leadership.” By Anderson and Anderson and the most cited paper is Barrett Brown’s paper, but what’s interesting is it’s a master’s dissertation, which I really wasn’t expecting ’cause usually it’s a peer reviewed paper although they are peer reviewed in a way I suppose, but it’s a master’s dissertation that’s titled “Conscious Leadership For Sustainability How Leaders With A Late Stage Action Logic Design And Engage In Sustainability Initiatives.” Now I really wasn’t expecting that. So I suppose the question to you is why do you think that this is such a small research area? Cause I was quite surprised.

– Yes, that’s true and it’s stepping back that the question, I guess I’ve been reflecting on myself is, as I said with my research master’s at Durham University Business School, that was actually on spiritual leadership. So I thought it was challenging, but where I drew it from is actually the work of professor, well who is known as Jody, Professor Jody Fry, who’s Texas A&N University and he spent 20 years on researching spiritual leadership. So that for me is my go-to for like everything base and he’s written, we’ll put it in, he’s written the book he’s written what’s called a prac academic book. So ideal for those and also review with Melissa Nisiewicz who’s actually, she’s a management consultant, but that’s called “Maximizing The Triple Bottom Line Through Spiritual Leadership.” And it’s a fabulous read, fabulous read. So why did I choose this conscious leadership? And I think I chose it because my sense is for me working with, coaching execs, working with executive teams, I just have a feeling and actually that I’m being a bridge for this higher form of leadership. I chose to call it conscious leadership because people tend to relate to that. But within that, almost on that sort of level, if that makes sense though, as you’ve mentioned, so thank you for that. So whether it’s spiritual leadership, servant leadership, transformational leadership, sometimes it’s authentic leadership. And Jody Fry has written a paper around this, which those might be interested because there’s a certain almost we moved to, I don’t want to come from the ego of a higher level of leadership, but he calls it, he’s written a paper called, let’s have a look. Well, this is called the let’s have a look, “Towards A Theory Of Being-Centered Leadership: Multiple Levels Of Being As A Contest For Effective Leadership.” And that was published in human relations journal. And that gives you an insight as to where I’m coming from. Cause he looks at actually five levels of leadership. So for me, why I interpret conscious leadership it’s around that spiritual leadership, servant leadership, transformation leadership barrier. And because people are doing different things, writing different things, acting in a way it’s almost like, David Ansys makes sense, it’s almost like you get a sense that that would use old analogy that we’re singing off the same hymn sheet here. So if someone says, oh, I believe in servant leadership, I’m not going to try and say, actually it should be spiritual leadership or conscious leadership. It’s like, I get servant leadership and it’s brilliant, how can I support you? if I’m working with execs, I’m not going to come in and say, actually, I’m going to tell you, it has to now be in this organization conscious leadership. It’s like, servant leadership, brilliant. Let’s get it moving on. And I’m doing some work with, there’s something called “the Trusted Executive” with John Blakey. And he’s recently done, he’s a world-leading coach, but he’s done a PhD out of Aston Business School. And he started the trusted executive foundation. So he’s done a whole model called The Trusted Executive with three pillars of trust and nine habits. And I love that because that’s evidence-based in what does trust mean? What the elements of trust for an exec, what a fabulous model. And he’s taking that out through just your exec foundation out into organizations. So it’s these sort of things I’m passionate about because as we’ve just been talking, he grounds it. He has a sense of faith. He has those three pillars I’ve been speaking about and the companies I’ve spoken to, we were working with him are like, we really love this. So I turned it on its head people once it’s grounded and you’ve got a sense and people can move with it. And they’re like, actually, this just makes, again, from that sense of how much sense, we love it, but it’s finding this, it’s finding the definition, the particular almost flavor that resonates with you.

– Yes.

– That makes sense. Some might say actually servant leadership is good and there’s issues around servant leadership to say, actually, how do we really, how do we activate this? Cause servant leadership is on 10 kinds of competencies, but people such as some academics have done Sipe and Frick have written the book “Seven Pillars Of Servant Leadership”. So they actually activate servant leadership through these seven pillars. And I love that book. So whether it’s spiritual, there are ways of doing it. I think that’s what I’m trying to say is that sometimes people get hung up on it has to be this way and I’m like no, we’re working towards meaning and purpose, greater good. There’s a number different models out there. Let’s get excited about it, people researching it let’s work with it. Let’s see what happens when we use it.

– So if I’ve got this right, what you’re referring to here by conscious leadership, I just want to go back to that at the moment, we’ll come to spiritual leadership in a second is that it’s thoughtful, that it’s purposeful, that it’s mindful and that the leader and the people engaged with the leader are committed and engaged in this purpose, whatever it happens to be. That’s what you’re saying conscious leadership is? Or is it them all?

– For this one, I would actually just link back to that definition I gave around spiritually and developmentally mature leadership. So, awareness of self and others, which for me, awareness of self and others, if I put it into real practical business terms, awareness of self and others really means are we living the values we have in this organization or not? The thing about a sense of meaning and purpose means that actually in that organization, there’s a vision, there’s a mission that really milks about making a difference. Then the third one is actually, we’re committed to the gate of the greater good. We have a greater, we have a mission here that we actually really want to make a difference to the world. And so that for me then brings together these elements where people are saying, actually we’ve got a vision, mission makes sense. Our values are aligned and we actually live them and then at the heart of it, there’s something that’s really driving us because we really do want to make a difference in the world. We’re not just churning out something to make money. I won’t name any products, but you know what I mean? We’re actually doing something which our service or product is making a difference to our community, to the world. And we’re proud to be part of it. And then that’s the work of Professor Jody is actually showing and that’s why I got Jody into this. Cause he’s saying, the outcome of his result, his research, was that when you get these elements right, and he’s shown it in his research, it increases personal commitment of employees. It increases personal productivity, it increases their wellbeing and it increases the profitability of an organization. So for me, it was a bit of a, gimmick a bit of a, this is really important to look at when you’re going through wellbeing something, who wouldn’t want to have a look at this?

– And certainly the connection that you were mentioning before to trust is critical. It comes out time and time again in the research that we turn into research briefings, it’s probably one of the top terms that comes through to do with leadership and management is in terms of trust being an enabler for organizations, for organizational development, for what they’re doing the goals, but also for people working with some form of purpose within the organizations who want to be there, who are engaged within the organization, who are demonstrating what we call organization citizenship behaviors. So they’re going above and beyond for the organization. They’re helping other people. There’s this feeling of altruism, which is actually one of the five areas of spiritual leadership. And they are kind of hope and faith, vision, altruism and love, membership and calling this sense of calling that can be on a religious basis, but it doesn’t have to be on a religious basis. It can be on any of that kind of level of basis as well. And I think that certainly trust is another critical element here. And as I say, it comes out in so many, there’s a number of, certainly this year, I’ve been kind of keeping kind of a score tabulation of the kinds of concepts that have come up in different types of paper. And there’s two things that keep on cropping up and they’re becoming more and more common in the research. The first one is trust and I think that’s an indication of the level of importance of trust within organizations, but it is any way in relationships. I can’t say any more, any relationship is founded on a level of trust and where we go with that level of trust, deepens the relationship or makes it less deep. The other thing that keeps coming up is a learning orientation, and I’m seeing that more and more and more, which is also connected to trust. We know that trust and learning, but also things like purpose and vision are important in all of that. What I’d be interested in, and just exploring for a couple of minutes, is that those five things, hope, vision, altruism and love, membership, calling, just from your perspective, how they’re kind of interconnected and why they matter for organizations and leaders.

– Yeah, well, first of all, for those who wanted to see more on that, Jody Fry is the founder of the International Institute for Spiritual Leadership. So if people look at that, they will find the their spiritual leadership model, which he goes through those elements that you’ve just spoken about and just quoting from and one of his things in his books is what’s spiritual leadership anyway? So he says that spiritual leadership involves intrinsically motivating and inspiring workers through a hope or a faith in a vision of service to key stakeholders and having an organizational or corporate culture that’s based on ultra strict love. This aspect is really values that are lived. And what he says to that is in an organization, the organization then has a calling. So there’s a sense that it’s here to make a difference that working here has meaning and purpose. That’s the kind of top level visuals of the mind thing then at the heart, which I love, he has this, something about membership to this organization and what it means is that as members, as workers of the organization, we feel understood and we feel appreciated. He says, “When you put the elements together, when you have a vision, which is grounded in hope and faith.” So hope and faith is something he says can’t often see, but you know, you have an inner feeling that is there. So we have a vision on that, you have a calling, you then have the values of love, which you live out properly and it helps drive this membership aspect of feeling appreciated and understood. And the really interesting thing is which excited me from my inner minister perspective is he says that the basis of spiritual leadership is actually an inner life. Now he’s purposely done this model, so it’s not a particular specific religion or anything like that. But for him inner life comes back to actually says this, “Source of spiritual leadership in our life, and that can be, have a number of possibilities. It could be time in nature. It could be a religious practice, it could be meditation, it could be reading yoga.” He said, there’s a source there that people draw upon. And I think in this COVID pandemic, we’ve seen people going out into nature and on then saying thank goodness for nature and being resourced through there. So he’s kind of saying there’s something at the center of the spiritual leadership that really fuels us. And for me, it has a sense of clarity of purpose, of meaning of, and we can come back to this, this greater good and I think people get that, people in businesses starting to understand this is important. And we’ve seen here in the UK, when executives have made decisions during COVID, which have been to the contrary of the community, quite often, they’ve been quickly picked up on it because people said this doesn’t align with what we really want now in this moment in time. So at times, almost the older paradigm of the 20th century where we’ll do this, because it makes us a lot of money, is now actually yes, money is still important. And Jody Fry in “Spiritually Leadership” will say, you need to have sustainable business, but at the same time, you need to say, is this sustainable business making a difference to our will, our planet and how you’re doing that?

– Yes and whether it’s sustainable in a macro context. Yes, definitely and I think that’s important and that connection to a kind of a bigger, bigger, ideal, a bigger thing than us, that we’re part of, which also comes back to the idea of membership. I think the memberships at a couple of different levels, there’s obviously membership within an organization or a group. But there’s that sense of connection both within the organization, but also something larger than that.

– There is and there’s something, and you’ll have to correct me on the research, but it’s something about us and about the generations, whatever it is, XY whatever generation we’re in now, but I know my younger generation, my two daughters, they seem to have more of an innate sense of this importance around making a difference. And they tend to choose and make their decisions more on that sort of thing than perhaps my generation would do, I’m in my fifties now. So, I think there’s a sense as well. I think something that’s brought through that, it also makes sense for the workers coming through this age, because they want to connect with this sort of organization.

– Yeah, they want to feel part of something as well. I think most people want to feel part of something. And when people no longer feel part of something that’s bigger, that’s helping to kind of drive a sense of purpose. I think that’s when things can start going wrong for them both in terms of mental health, but also their decisions and their actions that they kind of engage in. And I just kind of looking at the research on spiritual leadership. We’re talking about a completely bigger body of work here. Overall is roughly about 34, 35,000 studies on spiritual leadership. And Jody Fry, you say takes up it, so if you look at the top 10 cited papers he takes up the six of those. And this is really nice citation numbers. So that towards the theory of spiritual leadership that was published in 2003, which is a really interesting paper there’s three, almost three and a half thousand citations for that. So other studies have referenced that one, which is probably one of the premiere papers on spiritual leadership. So we are talking about something that’s growing in consciousness within the research arena within organizations as well. And is becoming more important, I think, in people’s lives, particularly in troubling times and times of change, because it acts as a kind of a grounding or an anchor for people.

– And just out of interest, I just want to, just to reiterate a point that he’s got his his spiritual leadership model, as I said, what I find fascinating advances, when you sit down and look at it, whether you have a faith or not, you can kind of map out your views across this model. So if this makes sense, one of my larger things, when I read it, I suddenly got it. Then actually you can sit down a group of executives, whatever faith or not faith there may be. They can share from a heart about what this means to them at a deep level. And so not coming to a point where that blows across a religion, but actually saying, this is what’s important. It’s almost like the golden rule. We can agree that that’s important and he’s done that. And one of the people that’s with him, Ellie Egel, she’s actually written, done this paper on spiritual leadership as a model for Islamic leadership. So she’s put across the Islamic faith onto this model and it works beautifully and it gives a great depth to those that Islamic to follow. And to do that, I believe I would have having done that, I believe, you can do it for any faith or even if you kind of say nature is important to me map that across this model. And there’s almost like there’s a common language then I think that’s what one of his contributions that he helps people think about what is our vision, what’s our meaning, what’s our membership. What are our values really cleverly? And he integrates the business balance scorecard for those that, I recognize that that’s business? It says, yes, I think this is where it fits into the business balance scorecard. So he really grounds it. That’s what I love about it because he brings it into live research and real-life things that are happening in the workplace and people go, oh, I didn’t realize he did that, yes, absolutely.

– I think one of the things about spiritual leadership just engaging with it from a leader’s point of view is it really gets you to question what it is that you believe in and not just about your business, but wide in terms of wider terms, what is it you believe in, in terms of what you want this planet to be like, what you want society to be like, and do I have a part to play in that? Am I saying something about it? And am I doing something to help to move it into that? Or have I just completely disconnected what I’m doing to those values and beliefs that I have? And certainly when I’ve been coming up with papers about spiritual leadership having conversations about it and certainly my own explorations on leadership, but this idea of kind of purpose and what I believe in it really does get you to question, what am I believing in? And are those beliefs that I have? Because the beliefs that we have and the values that we have, and this is an area that I’ve done quite a lot of reading around and research into, particularly the values side from an educational point of view. And what education is, is that we quite often get into a situation where we have conflicting and paradoxical values and beliefs inside us. We don’t like that, but we have them. And a lot of the research that I’ve been involved in to do with paradoxes, and that there’s some really interesting studies around how humans deal with paradoxes, particularly internal paradoxes, is that we tend to ignore them. And then what we tend to do is polarize them. So we jump from one side of the paradox to the other, without really being aware that that’s what we’re doing so that we can take this paradoxical view over here to the left, and then over to the right. We can take this other paradoxical view without referring back to the other one. And it’s like, we separate our brain and we can support this thing and this thing, even though it’s paradoxical, without ever being aware that that’s what we’re doing. And certainly the spiritual leadership, what it certainly does, is it gets you to start to examine what your beliefs and your values are and you start to notice these paradoxes. And at that point, you can be mindful of them. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to remove them or resolve them even, just allowing them to be and to be aware of them actually starts to change the way that you’re engaging in them. And there’s been one or two really interesting pieces of research around while it’s started to become known as paradoxical leadership, which a little bit of an issue with it, but that’s something else. But I think that’s critically important for leaders. I think it’s important for anybody, but I think it’s important for leaders.

– There’s two things I wanted to sound. So thank you, that’s really wonderful. I love that. The two things, I think it comes back to me again with when speaking about self-awareness. So I think that paradoxical, you said, when you notice it brings into self-awareness and one thing I love saying actually then brings into leadership, this aspect of, and I believe it’s a choice. I always say, choosing to respond, as opposed to choosing to react. So reacts, tends to kick out, we do something because it’s a holistic is a way with the belief behavior just unconscious. When we choose to respond, that actually we put a pause in. When we put a pause in that gives us an opportunity to bring in other insights. So I think that again, I come back to Oxford review. I think that’s what you’re doing, you’re quite often putting something in there and you’re going well, I’m not sure about that, but you pause and you reflect on it where I’m in relation to this? And the second thing I wanted to say was when you talk about this paradoxical leadership, what comes to my mind is the work of the quantum physicist, David Bohm, who, brilliant quantum physicist, who was actually the spiritual advisor to the Dalai Lama.

– I didn’t know that.

– Yeah, he was, yeah, spiritual guide to Dalai Lama and David Bohm got very interested in the whole Buddhist and spiritual science. Cause he could see the quantum field and the spiritual field would speaking similar languages. But what I to mention about David Bohm not many people know there’s a book that’s been pulled together on his work and it’s called “On Dialogue”. Now, the reason this book “On Dialogue” is fascinating is that what David Bohm said, if you can have conversations which are quantum and what he meant by that is you bring people together with different views and you set it up. So actually you say the different views, allow them to stay here and see what emerges. And I just think it’s just golden. And he actually did this with groups he brought together over a longer period of time. So part of my interest would be what would that be look like if we did that in business? Because quite often people have these beliefs, we’ve got to sell it low. We’ve got to source it from here. We’ve got to do this. We’ve got to do that. What if all the views were brought to the table of the senior leaders? And they said, actually this month, we don’t have an answer, but we want to follow this on dialogue because we understand something could emerge from this, which is actually when we bring all of this to the table, something emerges, which we haven’t seen before.

– Absolutely, in fact, there’s some really interesting research, we did a briefing must have been about three or four years ago now that was looking at bringing people together in the Middle East, around Israel, so the Palestinians and Israelis and groups of people around there and whether it was possible to get them to work together, to get teams to work together that were coming from very polarized sets of beliefs. And it comes back to the thing that you were saying, which I really liked about this idea of responding rather than reacting. And the question that kind of comes up from all of that research and one of the things that came out of it was and it’s exactly in line with what you’re saying here is that just getting people to sit down and say, do I understand what this person is saying? And exploring that, giving people the tools and the time to explore that actually started to move these people in quite deep ways together so that they were actually forming teams naturally, where they were trusting each other and working together from a place when they walked in the door, they were almost hissing at each other. And it was quite a profound experience, both for the facilitators, the researchers and the people involved. And I think you’re right, quite often, and we do this in academia as well. If we write a paper and somebody disagrees with it, our immediate reaction is, hang on a minute, I’ve got to show why they’re wrong rather than sitting down and say, do I really understand what they’re saying here and what the evidence base is?

– And to me, that just kind of thing touches into our humanity in the sense of bringing our whole self to the table. And I was going to mention, because she’s quite important in this whole meaning aspect, there’s a New Zealand academic called Marjo Lips-Wiersma who has set up a body of research around the map of meaning. And this research came out of her looking at reasons for why people change jobs. So what meaning would they have to go into new jobs? And she’s written a great book actually with Lani Morris called “The Map of Meaning”. And one of the interesting things she said to me or we spoke to me, she said, actually, I’m in the academics. She’s a professor of academic research, said, one of the things I’m really struggled with is I wasn’t allowed to bring my emotions into my papers. Well, that was my perception. So she started doing this and challenging the aspect of, can I bring my whole self into my academic papers? I absolutely adore and love her for doing that sort of work. And I see her as I was kind of saying that actually, when I did my research, I do it I stand on the soft shoulders of some of the giants who took a stand when it was very difficult to take a stand like that. Jody included, Marjo included, Judy Neil, as well written wrote a book about angel walkers which is now becoming more mainstream. But I want to honor them for actually taking that stand for saying, actually we can bring our emotions into research because it’s important.

– Well, you can’t actually separate them out. And there’s this is the same idea that we get in business. So a lot of the research that I’ve been involved in, a lot of work that I’ve been involved in is around emotion regulation. So my primary research is to do with uncertainty and one of the kind of big lessons if you want and one of the big takeaways fairly early on in the 2000s that we realized was that an individual’s emotional intelligence their emotion regulation capability is critical to their ability to be able to deal with uncertainty, to be able to sit with it, look for the emergent properties and things like that. So when I was doing my master’s research and doctoral research many years ago, one of the big things that was starting to come out largely because one of one or two of the tutors was the idea of reflexivity about thinking about the impact of the way that I’m thinking, the kind of models that I’m doing, but also how I’m emotionally reacting to this situation, to this piece of research, these people and what impact that’s having. Now move that forward years, one of the interesting things that I’ve kind of come across with people in organizations and particularly in management and leadership positions, is this idea that they want to make objective decisions. Now, when you start to explore what they mean by objective, what they’re saying is they want to remove the emotion. I say, well, okay, you need a computer for that because you can’t remove emotion from humans. And in fact from the research that I’ve been involved in on the side of, and I know of with colleagues, is that there isn’t a lot, I would say with much certainty, but virtually, well, I would say every decision we make and like, I’m not given to say every for anything really, but every decision we make is an emotional decision first, regardless of how you think-

– That was the book, and you probably know better than I do. There’s that book like “The Seven Thinking Seven Hats” or something.

– That’s right, “Seven Thinking Hats”.

– “Seven Thinking Hats” and I remember the author, but I do remember his outcome. And that was actually, you can go through all of these processes, but when it comes to the important decisions, it’s always whatever it was, must have been the red hat, but it was the emotional hat that makes, that takes the call on the decisions.

– That’s right, yes. And we start out, in fact, there’s some really good research that’s coming out of some of the FMRI studies and MRI studies showing that the vast majority, not all, but the vast majority of our decisions starting in more of the emotional areas of the brain. And then the cognitive side starts to click in and there’s a kind of a very strong theory at the moment that we make a decision and then we rationalize it. So we start to fit it into all of our schemas, our mental models to make it make sense. But the decision originated in more of a an emotional site. Now that’s not for every decision because there are more routine decisions and things, but a lot of the complex decisions we make, certainly there’s good evidence that they started a more emotional connected place.

– Don’t we know, don’t we know through the work of HeartMath that this is a brain connected in the heart, and there’s now research saying actually there’s a brain in the gut as well, which we support.

– Yeah, we got gear-ons, definitely. Yeah. And the other thing, so just from this idea of objectivity, so during a lot of the research that I was doing in the ’90s and early 2000, so through to fill it and things like that, we will, I was engaged in looking at this idea of objectivity and kind of what I came down to was that objectivity’s learning. You are objective if you’re there to openly learn whatever the data’s telling you, then you’re more objective. It’s not about removing the emotions. It’s about saying, right, okay. What is the evidence actually telling us? What we’re particularly really not very good at is doing that, being really open to whatever this is saying, because we work from theories.

– Being conscious of the paradigms you bring to the table, as you’re doing this research, because as you just said, I will do, I will have this conscious bias towards looking for things, perhaps the spiritual or whatever it is, I will bring that to the table. So if I can be conscious for that, and this is where it’s, if I can then bring other people to the table, this is where I think it supports because they can then challenge me to say, yeah, but have you thought of this? Are you looking at it from this perspective. And when I can go, tell me more, as opposed to defend, I think this is when the door opens for us to then to be able to how she, not just deep in the research, but actually come to a richer outcome together.

– Definitely and it’s kind of a lifelong journey for all of us anyways, to work out how we’re thinking, how that’s affecting, what we’re doing, what are we feeling, how that’s affecting it. And once you put two people together that becomes infinitely more complex because those levels of conscious awareness of reflexivity, vary, people are in different kind of places on that journey. Some aren’t even on the journey, they don’t have that kind of level of metacognition, or they’re not thinking about it. They’re just reacting or whatever. The moment you’ve got a boardroom, then things get really complex and it’s kind of unpicking that but if people are on the journey, at least, and they’re here to learn and I think then work.

– Also they move and change things. Because one book I picked up this week, I haven’t bought it, but I saw it and went, what a great book to take into a boardroom is there’s two people from Said Business School also reviewed in Oxford that Gay Haskins, Lalit Johri have just released a book called “Kindness in Leadership” a research book, now isn’t that wonderful? Because that for me can go against this sense of we’ve got to deliver, we’ve got to be harsh, we’ve got to make sure it’s all about the results. And they suddenly then researching and saying the impact of kindness in leadership. It’s suddenly like for me, it’s almost an aspect where you take a breath as a leader and go, okay, well, what does this mean? What’s happening here? Or how am I responding as opposed to reacting to this? So there’s some fascinating research is coming through, which we’ve spoken before can really support, I think business.

– Yeah, interestingly what I say that there’s an interesting kind of schism happens in some areas of business. So in some sectors financial services is one way where this can happen. Doesn’t always happen, where there’s this kind of disconnect of the only thing that matters is the outcome. You just churn through it and if there are bodies, then so be it. Whereas if you go to somewhere where you’d think that that would be the case, the military, which is my background and the police, which is also my background, what you find is that the senior officers are all schooled and educated. The first thing you do is you look after your people and because it’s the people who are doing the work and if you’re not looking after them, and that’s not just looking after them in terms of feeding them and making sure they’ve got the right equipment and the right tools, it’s also making sure that they’re mentally fit as well, that they’re mentally well, that they’re able to go out and do what it is that they need to do with the right positive mindset. And it’s weird because in the places where you wouldn’t expect to see this kind of thing, you see a lot more of it and in the places where you’d think maybe there’d be a little bit more reflection going on. And it’s just, I think there’s a lot of work to be done. So can I just, ’cause I could talk about this stuff all day with you And so the research that you did at Durham, what was that? And what was your finding?

– That was me actually having a look at Jody Fry’s model, really of spiritual leadership and exploring that as to what difference does this really make in the workplace. And so for me, there were things which I looked at was what difference perhaps does gender make to spiritual leadership, there’s a difference, if you’re male or female. And one of my threads of what I’ve been working with is, and I speak from a straight white male privilege position really is a thread for me in there, that kind of says, actually, when we’re talking about leadership, I bring a deck which is loaded in my favor in the current climate. So the conscious leadership for me, when I was looking at that and was, what does that then really mean in practice? How can I, if I’m saying I’m talking about conscious leadership or spiritual leadership, what does that then put on me as a white privileged male, I should say, to be more conscious around actually how do I become more collaborative, more inclusive which is something that touched me deeply, something that I hadn’t realized, because I just taken things for granted, which I guess I have a lot of white male leaders do and just think, well, it’s just the same for everyone else. And it was a wake up call for me to realize that it wasn’t. And I think also from the research as well, it really got me thinking about how often have I been in organizations. I’ve been some big ones where we’ve had values, but as Brene Brown said, the values have been like cat posters. And what she means is they’re up on the wall. They look cute, but they mean nothing in practice. So what I’ve been looking at, and it linked in fully enough to my research and where at business school, MBA, because my research there was all about understanding the links. How do you link things together? So what I looked at was spiritual leadership, why I was fascinated with Jody’s model is you don’t look at them in isolation. So if my values are here, how do my values link into my vision? If we’re looking at aspects of membership and we’ve got values, how are people being understood and appreciated in reality, not just in a theoretical thing, what does it mean? And if it is about hope and faith and having this driving force, what does that look like with two feet on the ground? ‘Cause I think my research like Andre Delbecq is very much about two feet on the ground. How does it make a difference to the individuals and their wellbeing and how do they act together as a community, which they not only enjoy being there, but they know they’re making a difference. So I think that’s what my research kind of brought those threads together if that makes sense. And that for me is one of the beauties of this of research is that you suddenly see actually, you know what, there’s a grounded aspect ’cause you just said beautifully, I’m open to moving in different directions, but actually to stand with this groundedness and be able to say to people, we can explore this element and this might fit together like this, let’s explore it together. I’ve found that to be very powerful in business because people come from then are up for that conversation because I’m not telling them what to do. It’s like let’s go on a journey with this, ’cause I think this is, and that’s what I think the best research does. It kind of says, let’s go on a journey with this and see what we can find.

– Yes, yeah, so from all of the reading that you’ve done and the research that you’ve done around conscious and spiritual leadership, for people who are listening, so leaders or people in organizations, managers, things like that, if there were two or three takeaways from your perspective, what would they be?

– I think it’s what we’ve been talking about is this aspect of we go back again to the asking themselves, how conscious or how self aware am I of how I’m showing up at work and how am I taking care of others? How am I thinking in respect to this is this emotional intelligence aspect?

– And the altruism.

– The altruism, this aspect of also just questioning actually I’m doing this job, but what difference does it really make out in the world? What difference am I making? And also this work that I’m doing, is it aligned with really my deepest longings, my desires, what do I truly want to see birth them? And what am I passionate about, am I waiting until I retire and then I’m doing the thing that I really want to do. So I kind of would not challenge, I would just gently say, don’t wait, why don’t do it now?

– So, it might mean cause people said, David, if you’re doing this sort of work, does it mean that people might leave and go to another organizational set of their own? And my response is, do you know what, if someone isn’t quite aligned with that organization, isn’t it better that actually they moved somewhere where they are? So someone who is more aligned can actually move into their position? That for me, seems to be a win-win all around for the organization and the individuals involved. So it would be really looking at those elements for them and as well as actually engage with some great reading, YouTube, there is so much, I think that the depth of resources out there for people to explore. So I would encourage people, I think, I know this might be my bias coming in. It is I’ll own it, that book, I mentioned “Maximizing The Triple Bottom Line Through Spiritual Leadership” is a great read I should say. And I was going to say for those that are listening and I’m sure there are those that are perhaps what I call deep divers in this area, have permission, there’s someone who I know, one of my mentors is Dr. Lynn Satchmo. She did a PhD, but it’s such a readable PhD, and I know Lynn well, and she’s just excellent and the title for the PhD is “Fostering Innovative Organizational Cultures And High-performance Through Explicit Spiritual Leadership.” Now her organization was a center of excellence in leadership and Jody Fry wrote a book called “Spiritual Leadership in Action”, which was called “The Cell Central Excellence And Leadership Story”. So that’s a great book, but what she said to me is that through me for ease, if people want a copy of her PhD, we’ll put my details below, they’re welcome to email me and I can forward it onto them. The reason why I think her PhD is important is we speak about research being advanced. Those in the era of spiritual leadership has said her PhD has probably 10 or 20 years ahead of the curve. And I personally do believe it is so ’cause she links her own personal spiritual journey to spiritual leadership in the workplace. So it’s almost like not quite a monastic in the workplace, which for her, she had spiritual growth in the workplace through her own journey as a leader. And she actually puts that down in evidence. And it’s absolutely fascinating. I do firmly believe that she’s highlighted one of the areas that will come out of further spiritual leadership research, but as someone is like, I really want something that’s cutting edge to see where we may be going. I just can’t recommend that PhD research highly enough.

– Well, I definitely want to read that now, I haven’t seen it. And from the description you’ve got, I think I might be contacting Lynn and seeing if we can do a briefing on it. Really interesting. Really interesting. So your now a consultant. And you do work in organizations around these topics, conscious leadership, spiritual leadership. What kinds of things do you do for organizations?

– As I said, it’s really I work either one-to-one or the exact, so I work with leadership groups and it really is for those groups that I call a bridge for conscious leadership. But it’s for those organizations that really want to understand how these things fit together, what we’ve been speaking about here. How can I really get this company motoring for the sense that that has been saying, our vision and our mission and our values and the way we actually treat our employees are really aligned. So actually we’re not just having a great, sustainable profitable organization, but we’re making a real difference in the world. And what I’ve found through my work, there’s always a wellbeing aspect that comes in that’s unforeseen, where people are actually kind of saying, oh, it’s actually, that’s made a real difference. And just one example of that, there’s one exec I worked with, and this is an important point, I think, that when I did work with him and I got to know him well, and he invited me back home and his wife had cooked this wonderful meal. And as we sat down and she turned to me and she said, “Thank you, David, for giving me my husband back and so much more.” So if that makes sense, it’s a beautiful, it’s only way I can describe it. It’s a beautiful piece of work. And what I do is I don’t come in with an answer. I actually look to see what if he got so far, ’cause all organizations, we’ve got some things that are working well. So I look to keep those and I don’t come in and say, okay, move everything to one side. I’ve got the answer it’s no, I’ve got a big bag of tools here. Whatever really resonates with you. Let’s bring that in because that then helps it be sustainable because I’ve been in big organizations where consultants come in, they bring in the latest trend, six months later, we’d thrown it out because we don’t understand them. So I’m like, my job is done when you own it. And I can just go out the exit because it’s yours. It’s not mine.

– Brilliant.

– So back to that outside on the inside someone who’s there to really help them build and develop and grow in an organization. That’s going to make a real difference in the world. And quite often, the question I ask is, what’s the legacy you’re looking to leave to the world through this organization. So there’s no mean takes a breath around that. That’s a real great, almost holistic question, which we work with. So for those who are really looking to say, that sounds great. I really want to do this and someone it will people say to me, David, you hold a space where actually you really honor others. You don’t come in and say it’s right or wrong, but you honor what’s there and you really help us move forward. So if people are interested, that’s the sort of work I do. And I was going to say, I’m shortly doing some master classes on conscious leadership and what I’m doing it for, I’m doing them one for coaches. I’m doing one for consultants who are working, as we said at the top of the program where they’re doing servant leadership, transformational, these master classes will be useful for them. And then if there’s execs out there, they might say I’m interested in one-to-one because I do a lot of mentoring where there’s actually a lot of leadership groups. I’ll come along to the one on consultants because that’s more about leadership groups. So, the reason I’m doing those is just as you’re doing it, you’re just trying to get the information out there a bit wider so people can see what’s available ’cause as we’ve spoken today, there’s such a rich seam of research and of practical examples of organizations that have done this sort of thing that they can draw upon. So that’s what I think we share a similar passion today. Let’s get this out there in a sense of being evangelistic about making a difference, but it’s people owning that difference, which in itself is a difference, isn’t it? It’s like, what are you interested in? All right, let’s really help you on that.

– Yes and to be able to think about what it is that we are doing and being in a place where we think I’m going to leave a legacy, and I think that’s important and we’ll put links to David’s masterclasses, his website and everything else in the show notes on the blog page for this podcast. So thank you very much. Where, and how can people find you, David?

– It’s David Wetton and it’s Wetton, W-E-T-T-O-N. So you can look me up on LinkedIn. You should be able to find me there on LinkedIn or you can email me at [email protected].

– Brilliant, i will put those links in the show notes as well. Thank you so much, David. This has been a revelation and a fascinating area, but more than fascinating, kind of deeply touching area as well. That I think more and more leaders and leadership program should really be looking at. And I think too many people shy away from the idea of even looking at spiritual leadership. And I think it’s got an awful lot to offer. As I say, the research numbers actually bear that out. There’s a lot of research activity going on in this area. And from a practitioner’s point of view, it’s certainly having quite an impact on people and their lives. And for those reasons alone, it’s well worth looking at. We’ve got some research briefings around it. There’s going to be a lot more and in fact, as we’re talking, I’m thinking we’re going to do a special report on spiritual leadership and the connections. And maybe we can do it together.

– [Wetton] It be wonderful. Thanks you.

– [Wilkinson] Brilliant, thank you very much, David. I really appreciate it. I’ve really enjoyed it.

– [Wetton] That’s wonderful, thank you for having me on. I really appreciate that.

– [Wilkinson] That it’s an absolute pleasure, absolute pleasure.


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Disclaimer: This is a research review, expert interpretation and briefing. As such it contains other studies, expert comment and practitioner advice. It is not a copy of the original study – which is referenced. The original study should be consulted and referenced in all cases. This research briefing is for informational and educational purposes only. We do not accept any liability for the use to which this review and briefing is put or for it or the research accuracy, reliability or validity. This briefing as an original work in its own right and is copyright © Oxcognita LLC 2024. Any use made of this briefing is entirely at your own risk.

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page