Spirituality in the workplace has become increasingly more prominent in the past decade, and the study of spirituality and leadership and the role of ethics in today’s business environment continues to gain popularity in many business schools across the United States. Courses on ethics and values-based leadership are more routine in many MBA programs now, including those outside of faith-based institutions. These courses help expand students’ understanding of the ethical challenges and responsibilities they will face in today’s evolving global marketplace and to prepare them to work and lead with integrity.
Some of the interest in the acceptance and application of spiritual values and principles to the workplace is due, in part, to people working long hours — they are spending more time with coworkers, customers and clients than they do with almost anyone else. The modern workplace is not only a place to work, but, for some people, also a place where they can form friendships and socialize. As a result, the workplace has become a source of emotional connectivity for some people, says Dr. Joyce E.A. Russell. “Workers are searching for a deeper meaning for life at work,” she writes. Russell defines spirituality as “the force that gives meaning to our lives (our private activities), contrasted with religion, which is often seen as the organized, institutional membership.” In an effort to introduce spirituality into their places of employment, many workers are asking fundamental questions, such as “Who are we as an organization? What is our greater purpose? What are our values and ethical principles? Is our work worthy and what kind of legacy will we leave?”
Some of the things organizations are doing to encourage spiritually based activities in the workplace include creating health and wellness programs; offering programs that integrate inclusive, work-family culture; bringing in chaplains or religious leaders to help employees cope with stress, illness, divorce and death; organizing support groups for employees; organizing retreats for employees to discuss their spiritual journeys and share ideas; giving employees time off to volunteer in the community; and recognizing employees for not only their efforts at work but also out in the community.
Research shows the benefits of spirituality in the workplace include improved morale, increased worker satisfaction, stronger employee commitment and increased productivity. Spirituality and leadership in the workplace can also lead to the greatest competitive advantage, according to a nationwide study that shows spirituality can improve an organization’s financial bottom line.
What Is the Role of Leadership in Promoting Workplace Spirituality?
Not all corporate executives and managers endorse spirituality in their organizations, but for those who do, their leadership is essential. Leaders lead by example, and those who demonstrate integrity, diversity, respect for others and fairness in all business activities encourage their employees to do the same. Effective spiritual leaders understand the importance of employees finding meaning in their work, and those leaders establish an organizational culture based on values, employees’ well-being and corporate social responsibility. Leaders who assist employees in integrating personal growth, learning and faith into job performance benefit the entire organization.
Managers and others interested in gaining the skills and expertise necessary to effectively introduce spirituality into the workplace can benefit from Baylor University’s online MBA program because it weaves ethics and leadership throughout the curriculum. Baylor’s online MBA program will provide both a foundational understanding of key business concepts and applications as well as preparation for faith-based service in today’s diverse global society.
Learn about the Baylor University online MBA program.
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