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

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This book illuminates many of the core values, beliefs, and principles that can guide, sustain, and inspire leaders during difficult times.

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Editorial Reviews

Margaret J. Wheatley
"I can't imagine a more timely and important book for educators. Where do we find the courage to continue? Where do we find peace when surrounded by aggression and corruption? What sustains us so that we can remain strong in serving the interests of children? The answers to these questions are in this book. The authors, with great wisdom and generosity of spirit, offer the perspectives and practices that enliven and vitalize our spirits. They have given us more than a lifeline - they have given us solid ground to stand on in the midst of turbulence."
Richard Farson
"Being both a non-believer and a person wary of books whose titles suggest that there are eight principles of leadership, I approached this volume with some trepidation. What I found was a description of leadership that actually transcends the outdated idea that it can be reduced to a few principles or acquired by learning some skills. Instead the book honors its complexity, casts it mainly in terms of creating sound relationships and offers what I would call a posture toward leadership, which I regard as far more valuable."
Chuck Bonner
"This book is GREAT! The authors have taken a very slippery topic (spirituality & leadership) and made the connection from the spiritual roots to the practical fruits. It's seamless! "
Anne L. Bryant
"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. There are valuable insights here for leaders at every level."
Vincent L. Ferrandino
"Finally a book that examines leadership from a human perspective! Houston and Sokolow cut through all the leadership jargon and 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."
Scott Thompson
"This book is loaded with insight into a crucial dimension of leadership."
Frances Hill
"I felt as though I was having a conversation with God when I read your book . . . as though I'd been blessed with the opportunity to touch the essence, the wonder, the silence of God's presence . . . it felt like a tear . . . Is there a greater or more pure joy?"
Kathleen Alfiero
"I know this book of wisdom will make a difference to the important people who care for our children in schools . . ."
Terrence E. Deal
"In our attempts to improve education, we are snuffing out the very thing that would make it better - human spirit. This book fills a troubling void in the leadership literature by highlighting the vital spiritual side of a leader's role. Schools don't need any more testing; they need a big dose of zest, buoyancy, and meaning. Reviving the spirit is the critical challenge. This book shows us how."
Gerald N. Tirozzi
"Houston and Sokolow have done an extraordinary job of looking beyond the traditional view of leadership to incorporate a spiritual dimension. They show how enlightened visionary leaders can use their own innermost spiritual principles to bring about the best in themselves to create a working environment that builds on collaboration and sharing. It breaks down the communication barriers that separated us - and builds on the essential concept of connectedness between and among people. "
Reg Weaver
"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. "
Peter Yarrow
"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. "
Richard W. Riley
"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."
Peter Senge
"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."
Parker J. Palmer
"A fine piece that will be of great support to a great many people. "
Principal Magazine
"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."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412925778
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul D. Houston has established himself as one of the leading spokespersons for American education through his extensive speaking engagements, published articles, and his regular appearances on national radio and television.Formerly executive director of the American Association of School Administrators from 1994 to 2008, Houstonhas served asa teacher and building administrator in North Carolina and New Jersey. He has also served as assistant superintendent in Birmingham, Alabama, and as superintendent of schools in Princeton, NJ; Tucson, AZ; and Riverside, CA. Houston has served in an adjunct capacity for the University of North Carolina, Harvard University, Brigham Young University, and Princeton University. He has served as a consultant and speaker throughout the United States and overseas, and he has published more than 100 articles in professional journals.

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Table of Contents

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

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