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Über dieses Buch

This open access book brings together works by specialists from different disciplines and continents to reflect on the nexus between leadership, spirituality and discernment, particularly with regard to a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA). The book spells out, first of all, what our VUCA world entails, and how it affects businesses, organizations, and societies as a whole. Secondly, the book develops new perspectives on the processes of leadership, spirituality, and discernment, particularly in this VUCA context. These perspectives are interdisciplinary in nature, and are informed by e.g. management studies, leadership theory, philosophy, and theology.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Open Access

The Metanarraphors We Lead and Mediate by: Insights from Cognitive Metaphor Theory in the Context of Mediation in a VUCA World

Abstract
We live in a superdiverse and supermobile world which is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). Diversity management, social cohesion, mediation and negotiation skills are needed in such times. In all discourses, within the context of leading and facilitating the resolution of disputes metaphorical frameworks of meaning are created. The challenge for the mediator is to become aware of, and keep in mind how metaphors affect the process of mediation and the mediator’s own role in it. Those unaware of the dynamics of metaphor theory might implicitly be limited in the mediation process due to the socio-cognitive confines and frames of the metaphors being used in a given mediation context. By becoming aware of the dynamics of metaphor, by means of critically reflecting on metaphor theory, that which is often overt in the mediation dynamics, could be reflected upon covertly. This in turn will empower not only the mediator, but also the parties to a conflict or dispute as they reflect critically on the “metanarraphors” (meta-narratives and metaphors) they mediate or are influenced by.
Jacobus (Kobus) Kok, Barney Jordaan

Open Access

The Quest to Lead (with) Millennials in a VUCA-World: Bridging the Gap Between Generations

Abstract
Western workplaces are currently experiencing a leadership challenge that relates to a conflict between the senior leaders in organizations and the so-called Millennial generation. This has resulted in traditional leadership approaches being less effective in a “dynaxic” (dynamic and complex) world. The purpose of this chapter is to help senior leaders better understand the essence of the conflict between Millennials and the previous generations. It is an attempt to increase understanding of the conflict and solve the problem by suggesting a leadership approach that could work for both generations and help organizations survive in a VUCA world. After the nature of the conflict is described, a relatively new leadership approach—responsible leadership—is suggested, in combination with mentoring. Responsible leadership combines the essential qualities of three well known leadership styles: transformational, servant, and authentic. The transformational aspect of responsible leadership relates to encouraging teamwork, setting high performance targets, and encouraging out-of-the-box thinking among followers. As servants, responsible leaders put the interests of subordinates and organizations first to create an empowering experience for followers. An authentic leadership approaches ensures learning agility, flexibility, and the participation of others. Through mentoring, Millennials may come to identify with their mentees and even adopt some of their values and attitudes. So-called reverse mentoring may provide a very valuable double function: increasing Millennials’ involvement within their organizations while at the same time engaging and educating Baby Boomers.
Johann Kornelsen

Open Access

Personal Leadership as Form of Spirituality

Abstract
In theories on leadership a paradoxal development can be perceived. The growth of social constructionist theories on leadership with a strong focus on both leaders and followers goes hand in hand with a call for strong leadership with a focus on skills and traits of the leader. Situational and reciprocal theories on leadership flourish as much as theories on effectiveness of leadership in relation to personality traits and leadership skills. This paradoxal development can be overcome when the paradigms of spirituality are taken into account. In this chapter three perspectives are discussed: the impact of spiritual concepts on leadership, the contemporary developments within religious leadership, and the connection between leadership and learning in the concept of personal leadership. Spiritual concepts open the domain of leadership to growth and values. Contemporary developments in religious leadership reveal the redefinition of traditional forms of religion and the impact on leadership. Personal leadership brings in the notion of learning, and offers a promising way of connecting contemporary needs in a complex world to sources of spirituality.
Joke van Saane

Open Access

Leading Organisations in Turbulent Times: Towards a Different Mental Model

Abstract
Organisations that are able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances in their operating environment have a competitive advantage. This level of “agility” involves more than simply developing new strategies and organisational structures to enable the rapid gathering of relevant information and equally rapid response times. Agility also—if not primarily—requires an ability on the part of people in the organisation to collaborate effectively to improve their decision-making abilities both as far as speed and quality of outcome are concerned. Collaboration involves more than the mere acquisition of a particular skills set, e.g., to listen and communicate effectively, or procedural adeptness. Creating a collaborative working environment requires a climate of trust within the organisation and a mindset that is focused on working with, rather than against others to achieve common organisational goals and objectives. Given the human propensity to compete and the so-called trust deficit prevalent in organisations, trustworthiness on the part of leaders and an ability to instil a culture of collaboration are required. However, a number of human and organisational obstacles would need to be overcome to achieve this.
Barney Jordaan

Open Access

Spirituality and Leadership in a South African Context

Abstract
This chapter discusses spirituality and leadership in a South African context. Leadership theories that are situated in the spiritual paradigm such as authentic, servant, spiritual and transformational leadership are considered in this chapter. It is argued that leadership practices and styles in South Africa are heavily influenced by British and American approaches. The notion of “ubuntu,” which is a central component of Afrocentric leadership is thus largely ignored in literature on the topic. This chapter draws attention to the influence of Western approaches on leadership in South African organisations with particular reference to the Afrocentric notion of ubuntu. It is recommended that further research be undertaken on ubuntu leadership in the South African context and beyond. Another recommendation is that research should be undertaken on blending Afrocentric and Eurocentric leadership styles in order to identify how this combined leadership approach can be implemented in South Africa.
Anoosha Makka

Open Access

Still Points: Simplicity in Complex Companies

Abstract
Building on a previous contribution on “negative capability” (Lombaard, Leadership as spirituality en route: “negative capability” for leadership in diversity, Increasing diversity: loss of control or adaptive identity construction? 103–114; 2017) as a non-directive but actively searching and highly influential (Chia and Holt, Strategy without design: the silent efficacy of indirect action, Cambridge University Press, 2009) style of leadership, this paper investigates aspects of the concept of simplicity and its relation to leadership. As management literature has recognised of late, simplicity as a spiritual orientation to life has deep historical roots and various dimensions. One predictable response to simplicity as orientation points to societies invariable complexity. Hence organisations, companies, and almost all human social systems defy attempts at effortless, simplistic illumination. However, niche building within complex systems allow leaders and managers influence. Such influence either aligns interdependent parts of a complex system or distorts the illusions of cheap harmony within it. Here, in these niches, insights and practices of simplicity cultivated in various spirituality traditions may fruitfully be employed. Such insights and practices might steer groups and entities, always awash in entropy, towards coherence, constrained (i.e., strategically guided) action and consistence. Thus, neither social system’s complexity nor their entropy are denied or disingenuously reinterpreted. Rather, they are acknowledged and valued as key operational kernels giving structural stability, strategic progress and conceptual clarity to the whole. In this manner, simplicity contributes not only to the resilience organisations and companies but also to sense-making amongst people involved, namely as a dimension of experiencing fulfilment in life. Examples are provided, and spheres of applicability indicated.
Calvyn C. du Toit, Christo Lombaard

Open Access

How to Integrate Spirituality, Emotions and Rationality in (Group) Decision-Making

Abstract
This chapter presents a model on decision-making published by Ignatius of Loyola, which integrates spirituality, emotions and rationality. The three different modes are analyzed. Some parallels to modern management advice are shown. The model is then especially applied to group-decision making, which was already done by Ignatius and his “companions of Jesus.” I then use the Six Thinking Hats method developed by Edward de Bono, which I adapt in order to integrate the Ignatian model of decision-making.
Volker Kessler

Open Access

Embodied Realism as Interpretive Framework for Spirituality, Discernment and Leadership

Abstract
There appear to be two ways of knowing, the one driven by scientific evidence, the other by practice and intuition. The concept of embodiment brings these two ways together. Embodiment is now widely studied, as in the disciplines of nursing (Benner), cultural psychology (Voestermans and Verheggen), and cognitive psychology (Lakoff and Johnson). These developments point to the philosophical perspective of “embodied realism,” as initially outlined by Merleau-Ponty and Dooyeweerd. Our human system of knowing is directed and limited by the way our bodies enable us to interface with the world we inhabit. It requires dialogue to transcend our individuality, without arriving at universals, as research on cognitive bias by Kahneman has demonstrated. The centrality of embodiment, then, implies that spirituality is not in opposition to material concerns, but rather that embodiment is foundational for spirituality, as evident in religious ritual practices as well as in the Christian confession of the Incarnation. Moreover, spiritual discernment takes shape, not as a disembodied practice of meditation to access the divine, but as embodied seeing, listening and feeling in a collective effort to understand God’s call in the middle of one’s rapidly changing world. Finally, leadership can be seen as the embodied performance of providing a safe holding environment amidst liminality in order to enable people to cope, to be transformed and to develop a new sense of personal and social identity.
Jack Barentsen

Open Access

A Well-Played Life: Discernment as the Constitutive Building Block of Selfless Leadership

Abstract
Selfless leadership is a full-time calling, and a summons to be of service to others. It is a vocation, not as a position of power or an opportunity for self-enhancement. Selfless leaders know that discernment is not just another useful tool in the ever-expanding leadership toolkit to make their organisations more profitable, streamlined, or desirable. It is a gift, but also a learned ability to think, desire, know, feel, choose and do what is right for the present moment, and to influence future circumstances for the welfare and common good of others. Discernment is a habitual ability to read “the signs of the times” wisely and to act thereupon with clarity, wisdom and soberness. At the same time selfless leaders deliberately choose to focus on the potential, abilities, strengths and gifts of people in their organisation and on how to harness them to the best of their abilities, as well as to the advantage of their organisation. Just as any editor would ensure that an author produces the best possible manuscript by assisting him/her through all the phases of writing and rewriting, selfless leaders assist those within their spheres of leadership to become the best authors of their own and their organisation’s stories. Their fine-tuned ability to discern the right paths to follow in planned and unplanned ways create safe spaces for good decisions, relational growth, creativity, the right kind of profitability, and healthy relationships.
Stephan Joubert

Open Access

Discerning Spirituality for Missional Leaders

Abstract
The concept of missional church represents a confluence of ideas on spirituality, discernment and leadership. The very idea of participating in the missio Dei implies a spiritual journey and underlying spirituality, and discernment is widely described as the “first step in mission.” The missional church recognises the importance of leadership to envision, shape, and facilitate missional transformation. This chapter acknowledges the urgency and importance of discourses on spirituality and discernment, because of the context of the church finding itself in a complex world. The church is a complex system and finds itself in a dynamic reality where the dynamism also entails complexity—to the extent that Friedman (Thank you for being late: An optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations. Allen Lane, London, 2016) typifies our age as the “age of accelerations.” The research will introduce the idea of missional leadership and its relevance in the light of the renewed attention to concepts of missional church in South Africa, in many other contexts, and in ecumenical organisations. Defining missional leadership as the Spirit-led transformation of people and institutions by means of meaningful relations to participate in God’s mission, the chapter will attend to an appropriate understanding of spirituality. This will be against the background of a shift of spiritual formation from knowing and believing, to hungering and thirsting. In the final section, discernment will be described as entering into a trialogue: the discerning interaction between church, culture, and biblical narrative—to seek, discover, understand, and share in what the Holy Spirit is involved in the close-to-the-ground particulars of the church’s engagement in, with, against, and for the world.
C. J. P. (Nelus) Niemandt

Open Access

Challenging the New “One-Dimensional Man”: The Protestant Orders of Life as a Critical Nuance to Workplace Spirituality

Abstract
While recognizing the increased attention to spirituality in the workplace as being a good development overall, this chapter focuses on some problematic aspects of this new emphasis. In particular, three problems are identified: (1) the danger of instrumentalization and narcissistic misdirection; (2) the adoption of pragmatism in solving conflicts between conflicting spiritualities in the workplace, and (3) the dominance of radical social constructivist approaches, which don’t take into consideration the metaphysical claims inherent in many (especially religious) forms of spirituality. Together, these problems amount to a new “one-dimensionality,” referring to the famous description of modern society by Herbert Marcuse. In order to address these problems, I make recourse to the Protestant concept of the different orders of life, particularly as developed by the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In this chapter, I focus on three characteristics of his concept and argue that they can help in addressing the problems with the new emphasis on workplace spirituality that I have identified.
Steven C. van den Heuvel

Open Access

From Spirituality to Responsible Leadership: Ignatian Discernment and Theory-U

Abstract
In its desire to build a bridge between self-awareness and morally responsible leadership, this chapter seeks to contribute to the theory of authentic leadership. The central thesis of this chapter is that Ignatian spiritual discernment is a valuable resource for making this connection. Ignatian Spirituality is directed at the world, the world beyond the self and the world beyond our primary experiences. It is inherently aimed at the common good and is therefore an interesting source when contemplating moral leadership. We will discuss the Spiritual Exercises of humility, silence, and detachment, the prevalence of emotions and imagination, ethical evaluation, and journaling and mentoring as means for increasing self-awareness. We will do this in dialogue with the new Theory-U. This, too, is an approach where societal meaning is fundamental and seeks to increase awareness and genuine openness to the future by letting go of the self. This makes for an interesting dialogue, leading to a deeper understanding of spiritual discernment.
Patrick Nullens

Open Access

Correction to: Leading in a VUCA World

Jacobus (Kobus) Kok, Steven C. van den Heuvel
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