Servant Leadership: Authenticity and the Spiritual Journey


Leading with a Noble Purpose and pursuing a life of service to others only becomes authentic, dynamic and revitalizing when your spiritual practice evolves to the higher stages.

Until then it is mainly a “prepersonal” exercise firmly anchored to your egocentric self.

Being Selfless or Selfish

Leading without a spiritual purpose boils down to a simple ego-boosting technique that may make you feel better, but it will not lead to authenticity and into the ranks of the BIG L Leader.  Doing good and being your highest self is not the same thing.  Doing good can have at its essence an inflated ego drive – at a prepersonal level.

Authenticity and right motives may be repressed by the cocoons of denial and self-deception always assuring you of what a good person you are.  When in reality, Authentic Servant Leadership requires brutal self-honesty (as to your true intentions) and that you truly acknowledge with kindness and compassion your own vulnerabilities.

You have no choice here!

“Be the most ethical, the most responsible, the most authentic you can be with every breath you take, because you are cutting a path into tomorrow that others will follow.”  Ken Wilber

Detaching From Self

This developmental process is ongoing throughout life and it presents itself at both our strongest and weakest times.  If your understanding of “self” is deep and broad enough, you will have the opportunity to detach from ego and with work, experience your higher self.

Then your Servant Leadership style will move towards authenticity and it will resonate in all you do.

This is the true meaning of service and responsibility blended within the presence of a true seeker seeing from multiple perspectives and choosing right actions in being in the world.  Alas, you are awakening; you are beginning to know who you are and what matters to you.

“If you put yourself in God’s position, you will see that you wouldn’t be able to create the future in and through a selfish, self-centered person who deeply experiences incarnation as a burden.  There simply wouldn’t be any room for you in such an individual’s heart, mind, and soul.  This is why our enlightenment – our development beyond ego – has become nothing less than an evolutionary imperative.”  Andrew Cohen

Making a Difference

If you have or are about to take up the practice, you have chosen to use yourself in modeling your beliefs, values, and gifts each day.  You are now truly being in the world, however beautiful or ugly each day presents itself.

This is where you will stand with no excuses, apologies or wavering.  You are here.  You are not lost.

The manifest and absolute realities of life will show themselves.  You are beginning to understand what you are here to do and have accepted the reality that your story (indeed all our stories) will end.  As a Big L Leader, you will take a spiritual stance in your leadership beliefs and actions.

This path leads you to discover how you will make a difference by contributing what only you can give.  Is there any nobler path other than the one that leads to your inner self?

“What is this precious love and laughter budding in our hearts?  It is the glorious sound of a soul waking up!”  ~ Hafiz

A New Frontier

As many of us have discovered, these moments of spiritual depth and insight may strike us suddenly and leave us a bit unsure about our previous worldview.

They illuminate for us a new frontier of profound growth and development.

That what we seek – our true self – is right in front of us.  Are we ready to tap into this awesome potential?  Deep experiences of this scale are essential for next stage progression in consciousness and awareness. Helping us evolve spiritually and integrally.

But we need the courage and commitment to step up and out on to this new frontier in order to feel the solid ground that will hold and lead us to our new-found “self” and the dangers, opportunities, responsibilities and obligations that await our arrival.

  • How will you find your true self and immerse yourself in the authentic leadership experience that offers you the noble purpose way forward in your life and work?
  • How do you continue to grow and deepen continuously, even when you are not in touch directly with these deeper developmental insights?

To paraphrase Rumi:

“These spiritual window-shoppers, who idly ask, ‘How much is that?’

Oh, I’m just looking.  They handle a hundred items and put them down, shadows with no capital…

Even if you don’t know what you want, buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow…

As a leader, can you hear the spirit calling? If you cannot, what can you do to tune your ears, heart, and soul toward your calling? If so, what are your next steps in influencing others to greater heights? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Doug Ramsey

Doug Ramsey is Managing Director at Designed Management, LLC
He serves with Company Building, Growth, Leadership Development, and Coaching
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L2L Contributing Author


  1. Bryan Moore on April 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Reblogged this on A Call to Leadership.

  2. Chris Smith on April 25, 2013 at 10:44 am

    The path that Doug lays out has many distractions. To minimize the detours and landmines, find others who are on the same journey so that you can support each other with honesty and compassion. I highly recommend “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Your Life” by James Hollis. Its themes are totally congruent with Doug’s message, and it can serve as a compass whenever you need lose your bearing.

  3. J.R. Hurt on April 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Doug’s insight challenges us to truly consider, why do we do what we do? I have had the privilege of working directly with/for Doug and he was inspirational in me “getting over myself”. I can tell you first hand that Doug demonstrates servant leadership on a daily basis and in today’s self-center, immediate gratification world, it does us all good to remember the term, Servant Leader, because we are all leading someone.

  4. LaRae Quy on May 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Doug,

    I’ve been traveling and missed this post a few weeks back . . . thank you so much for sharing. I love this: “That what we seek – our true self – is right in front of us.” A great reminder!


  5. Doug Ramsey on May 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Hello LaRae,

    My apologies as I have been remiss in not thanking you for reading my blog and for your kind comments. I am sorry and I appreciate your feedback and being connected..

    I hope all is well…