Spirituality in workplace LO20218

John Zavacki (jzavacki@greenapple.com)
Fri, 18 Dec 1998 05:23:32 -0500

Replying to LO20195 --

It is not the place of the industrial manager (of which I am one) to teach
religion (a common misinterpretation of spirituality) in the workplace, in
particular, not in the Southern half of the US Mid-West. For every belief
here, there is a separate church. One church believes firmly that
Pharoah's daughter found Moses in the bullrushes. The next broke off from
it, because they believe that's just what she told Pharoah.

Spirtituality is the sum of teachings and learnings in many arenas. It is
best understood behaviourally. Do unto others and love thy neighbor are
some of the highest visibility behaviours which result. They cannot be
seen as an integral part of one sect, or even one religion. By practicing
them as principles (along with many other principles which are or should
be a part of the community) the community becomes stronger, more

Look at Stephen Covey's "Principle Centered Leadership" or Deming's "New
Economics". They are full of the spirit, but rarely, if at all, mention
it. I realize many of this group work either in academia or as
consultants. You have the ability to appear to the student or the client
as gods. You can preach heresy and they will think about it. In the
industrial environment, it is a different tale. The reporting structure
is not always enlightened. The union leadership may see the spirit as a
threat to its authority. There are many other problems along the way. I
teach principles and behaviours, for the most part, by example, with my
staff, through dialogue, with my leadership, by exception. If I speak of
the spirit, I will lose ground unless that ground is already sprouting the
seeds of awareness that teamwork breeds respect, honesty, openness, etc.
The teaching cannot be the goal, it must be the learning.

John Zavacki


"John Zavacki" <jzavacki@greenapple.com>

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