Spirituality and Leadership: Integrating Spirituality as a Developmental Approach of Improving Overall Leader Effectiveness
George Gregory Houston is a 2014 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.
Dr. George Houston with his committee at his Dissertation Defense.
Left to Right : Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts, Committee Member, Dr. George Houston, Dr. Carol Baron, Dissertation Chair, Dr. Alan Guskin, Committee Member.
[Not Shown: Dr. Karen Eriksen, External Reader]
leadership, spirituality, definition, effectiveness, development, quantitative, competency, correlation, T-test, regression analysis, Campbell Leadership Index, CLI, Executive Dimensions, ED, leaders, senior level executives
The role of leadership continues to be a consistent topic of discussion whether you are considering the seminal work of Stogdill (1974), Burns (1978), Kouzes and Posner (1995), or Van Hooser's (2013) Leaders Ought to Know, one of Amazon's 2013 Top Ten Leadership books. A consistent question in leader development circles is-how can leaders be more effective in their role given the current state of leadership? One dimension of leadership development that is often overshadowed, downplayed, minimized, or completely ignored is the concept of spirituality. If the spiritual development of individual leaders can be integrated with other accepted leadership skills, such as job specific technical skills, emotional intelligence, and physical fitness, then there is an exponentially greater possibility that both the ineffective and the good leader will improve their effectiveness. Without improving the effectiveness of individual leaders and the organizations they lead, not only we can expect a continued decline of leadership as we know it, but all aspects of society, organizations, groups, and individuals will be compromised on multiple levels. In this study, the relationship between spirituality and leadership effectiveness was explored in ways that identify spirituality as an additional factor that may contribute to the effectiveness of leaders. Based on study findings a definition of spirituality is proposed: Spirituality is accessing a universal understanding that life can be greatly enhanced in all relationships by developing our inner wholeness and other connectedness. Survey results indicated that six Campbell Leadership IndexTM items that were rated as at least quite descriptive of spirituality by 80% of the respondents. These items included: considerate, encouraging, enthusiastic, helpful, trusting, and trustworthy. Correlation analysis found that the spirituality items were correlated to the Executive Dimensions leader effectiveness competencies, particularly in the area of Leading Others and Leading by Personal Example. T-tests showed that the six spirituality items distinguished between high and low scores on most of the sixteen Executive Dimensions competencies, except in some of the Leading the Business competencies. Regression analysis showed that the spirituality items most influenced the competencies of forging synergy and interpersonal savvy. The results of this study are a part of the next step in affording spirituality its place in the development of leaders alongside more traditional leadership competencies or behaviors. The electronic version of this dissertation is at Ohiolink ETD Center, www.ohiolink.edu/etd
Houston, G. G. (2014). Spirituality and Leadership: Integrating Spirituality as a Developmental Approach of Improving Overall Leader Effectiveness. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/87
Developmental Psychology Commons, Industrial and Organizational Psychology Commons, Leadership Studies Commons, Organizational Behavior and Theory Commons, Organization Development Commons
George Houston, Ph.D.
Global Markets Design & Delivery Manager
Center for Creative Leadership
George is the Global Markets Design & Delivery Manager at the San Diego, CA campus. In this role he is responsible for the overall strategic utilization of faculty and he assures the design integrity in client proposals and programs. His client work spans a wide array of businesses and industries including government, insurance, pharmaceutical, legal, medical, manufacturing, software, all levels of education, and all branches of the military at the senior level. His work during the past five years has focused primarily on senior executives and their teams. In September 2010 George Led a CCL team into Iraq to support the US State Department and the Department of Defense with Operation New Dawn. George is also a certified executive coach. His work takes him across the country and around the world (South Africa, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Canada, Iraq, Belgium, and Switzerland).
George’s undergraduate degree is in history and his graduate degree in education, both from Colorado State University. He is a graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University 2014
George’s leadership profile includes publishing Wholeness at Work, an article on social identity at work and contributing to a Guidebook, Social Identity. In 2011 he co-authored Boundary Spanning Across Leadership Cultures: A Leadership Strategy for the Comprehensive Approach; this was a summary of CCL work with Operation New Dawn.
He has over 25 years of community service that includes the Center for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Ronald McDonald House, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a USATF sports club, Speed, Inc., and Atlas Preparatory School.