Articles of Faith: On Spiritual Leaders and Their Call to Love


Spiritual leaders insist that people and relationships precede structures and tasks. This implies leaders need to think positively of others, try to understand them, forgive when necessary, and always show compassion.

After all, the journey to spiritual leadership begins with an awareness of being loved, not with the leader’s love for others.

Being Loved or Showing Love

The latter follows on the former and is a response to the call to leadership. It is a journey in which the leader daily makes decisions based on love. Thus, the leader changes their attitudes to life; rejecting selfishness, greed, self-satisfaction, and consequently moves away from self-centeredness onto a life of service to others.

Appreciating that one can transform leadership with love is a rigorous self-training.

When a leader is motivated by a conviction of the transforming value of love, he or she treats others with a natural benevolence, wishes them well before any encounter, appreciates the good in others, and presumes that they will do good. This positive, optimistic approach to others has a healing effect on relationships and opens up the development of a different kind of leadership.

Love Always Wins

Loving and encouraging approaches are more effective than adversarial ones and give the leader far more ability to influence others and draw the best out of them. In such an environment followers sense they are loved and grow as people and then contribute more to the common vision and mission.

When a leader focuses on the love of others in daily life, they emphasize simple human qualities that are also a noble part of being human—attitudes that are humanizing, caring, trusting, and supportive.

Focusing On Others

Focusing on others requires tolerance of their differences, dialogue, forgiveness, and reconciliation.It means mutual respect, appreciation of each other’s gifts and genuine solidarity.

A leader can do so much good to others by allowing them to be themselves, living in interdependence and mutual esteem. For such a leader the welfare of others is as important as one’s own.

This includes concern for others’ health and well-being, both material and spiritual.

Engaging in the welfare of others calls the leader to delight in others’ growth and advancement, furthering their rights, protecting their justice, and celebrating their achievements and progress.

Called to Love

A spiritual leader who recognizes that they are called to love makes a positive difference to other people’s lives by respecting their dignity, empowering them in whatever ways possible, thus releasing their human energy, talent, and dedication.

A spiritual leader can look into others’ hearts.

Such a leader does not impose views, vision, or priorities, but influences others to be the best they are capable of being. Part of that response will be to help others appreciate their own basic values, enduring purpose, and mission in life. The leader can also train others to be visionaries; helping them to see what others do not, but also challenging them to look at things in a different way.

This requires:

  • Understanding
  • Building connections
  • Giving visibility and significant responsibilities to others
  • Collaborating
  • Challenging constructively
  • Working toward shared values and mission

Recognizing that one is called to love has serious consequences, for love is very practical and demanding on a leader at every moment of each day.


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Dr. Leonard Doohand

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an author and workshop presenter
He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership
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  1. Maryle Malloy on July 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. However, as a conscious leader and a spiritual leader, I recognize the importance of the 50/50 rule:

    “There are two critical factors in improving any organization. One is transforming systems. The other is transforming (loving, supporting and growing people.) Both are equally important and create an integrated whole. ” Excerpt from the works of David Dibble, The New Agreements in the Workplace.

  2. scott_elumn8 on July 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Reblogged this on elumn8 and commented:
    Great post that touches on some of the ideas we have been discussing in the bring your soul to work series.

  3. davidwpierce2001 on July 26, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I agree with everything written here. So, my next comment should not detract from that agreement. It is just an expression of the struggle. I still find it very hard affirming the antagonist. But, I believe Jesus addressed that directly.

    • Leonard Doohan on July 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you David. I agree with what you say. I try to remind myself that in everything that is negative there is the potentiality for good and in everything good there is the possibility of an obstacle.