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Why Spiritual Intelligence Is Essential to Mature Leadership?

The life conditions and problems we face as a species, as countries, as organizations and as individuals demand increasing complex/elegant solutions. The type of mature leader who can respond to such situations is a “Tier 2” leader—embodying an advanced stage of personal development. These high levels of adult development are inseparably linked to spiritual intelligence. Thus, mature leadership requires spiritual intelligence development. The result is a leader who leads from the inside out: who she is, is how she leads.

To realize the value of spiritually intelligent leadership we need to first understand the following:

  1. What life conditions do we face now as humans? What do we need leaders to be able to deal with?
  2. Multiple intelligences—what they are and specifically what is spiritual intelligence?
  3. Stages of adult development and their relationship to leadership.
  4. Stages of adult development and their relationship to spiritual intelligence.

Multiple Intelligences

When people talk about multiple intelligences they usually mention physical, cognitive, emotional, moral, spiritual and possibly musical or spatial relations as separate lines (see Figure 1). Ultimately how many lines are needed for the discussion depends upon the topic of interest. For leadership the intelligences we deal with the most are the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual lines. I would include the moral line as a subset of emotional and spiritual intelligences—although I show it separately in Figure 1 since some authors do separate it.

Physical intelligence (PQ) is body skills. A newborn infant has little PQ—as it struggles to focus its eyes, lift its head, and so on. Most of us are of average development on the PQ line. An Olympic athlete would have highly developed physical intelligence, as would a dancer or a marital arts expert. “IQ” or Intelligence Quotient is the nickname for the cognitive line. This typically includes mathematical and linguistic intelligences. IQ in US and some other Western societies is heavily emphasized, often to the exclusion of EQ and SQ. Emotional intelligence (EQ) includes relationship skills (see more in Table 1 below). Moral intelligence is the process a person uses to determine right from wrong. At the lowest level “anything I want” is right. At a higher level people learn to follow rules about what is right and what is wrong (the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments, for example). At the highest levels people develop the ability to think through complex moral situations by looking at and caring about all the viewpoints of all the people involved and the short term and long term implications of a moral choice. Spiritual Intelligence is defined differently by different sources—so getting clear on what this means is important (more on this below). I do not split moral intelligence from spiritual intelligence. When people separate moral and spiritual intelligence they are often thinking of spiritual intelligence very narrowly as some kind of connection to the transcendent (which is just one of the 21 skills of SQ as I define it). Center of Gravity (COG) means that the dominant behavior of the culture is centered in that stage of development. However, cultures typically have some people above that level and some below that level in terms of their personal center of gravity. And a person or a group at “COG Blue” has access to all the stages preceding his/her current stage.

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