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Spiritual leadership


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Article describing the benefits of spiritual leadership in the workplace.

Published in: Business, Education

Spiritual leadership

  1. 1. MaRi EagarM Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) M Phil (HRM) (PPL) Professional Leadership Spiritual Leadership (SL) in the workplace September 2004 This report contains 24 pages Report for University of Johannesburg
  2. 2. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004 Contents1 Spiritual Leadership in the Workplace 11.1 What does spiritual leadership in the work place mean? 11.2 What is the link between spiritual leadership in the work place and productivity? 41.3 How can the work environment undermine or enhance self worth? 101.4 What can be done to promote spiritual leadership in the work place? 162 References 21Spiritual Leadership
  3. 3. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 20041 Spiritual Leadership in the Workplace“With this urgency comes exhilaration, certainly, but also stress anduncertainty about the future – stress for everyone in the organisation, not justfor CEOs and senior executives, who traditionally have shouldered theburden of steering a safe course for their companies, but stress also formiddle management, supervisors and front-line people, who don’t know whattheir job will be tomorrow, or even if they will have a job at all. And as thepace of innovation and vibrancy in the web picks up – even escalates, as itsurely will – urgency, exhilaration, stress and uncertainty will inevitablyincrease too.” (Lewin, R and Regine, B, 1999: 343)1.1 What does spiritual leadership in the work place mean?Why the need for spiritual leadership in the workplace?“The death of old ethics – perhaps the death of old ethics and the wholeframe of mind on which it was based, gives us a precious opportunity to forcea new ethics based on our own spiritual intelligence (old ethics based onabsolute truth, universal principles for all) Spiritual compass in times of crisisand fast change.” (Zohar and Marshall, 2000: 199-200)Applying the principles of chaos and complexity sciences, Margaret Wheatleydescribes how in applying the framework of these sciences will increase theunderstanding that turbulence will not cause the organization to dissolve intoincoherence. Instead, she states that “the strength of our organizations ismaintained if we retain clarity about the purpose and direction of theorganization. When things become chaotic, clarity keeps us on course.”(Wheatley, M, 1999:131)Spiritual Leadership 1
  4. 4. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004Panarchy, a new form of “anarchy” is an emergent mindset that indicatesthat leaders, unlike in the past, do not stand as independent observers in anordered, rational world. Instead, leaders are involved participants inside thesystems they serve – systems where concepts such as power to the highestauthority are seen as based on an old Newtonian paradigm that was inconflict with natural laws. Panarchy is a view embracing holarchy (nestedholism) instead of traditional imposed hierarchy – an order that emergesthrough natural processes.However, in a more turbulent and fast changing world, the new sciences areshowing us that the world, including organisations, are more complex andexhibit unpredictability, diversity and that leaders are members of the system.All of the above indicates the new for a new type of leadership, which can befilled by the framework offered by spiritual leadership as briefly explainedbelow.The meaning of spiritual leadership in the workplaceSmith, D (2004) defines spiritual leadership as the deep seated will andcommitment to actualise one’s ability towards Connectedness to self, others and higher beingness Harmony and peace Meaning and purpose Livings what matters most (one’s values) Living with gratitudeSpiritual Leadership 2
  5. 5. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004 An attitude of service and stewardship Transcending one’s ego for the greater good Total well-being Congruency between one’s True North and reality Positive expectations Moral awareness Adding value to self and othersIn the work place this is explained by various authors as spirit basedmanagement (Verrier quoting Honek 2002) such as following your ethics,showing care, empowering others and building team work.It is also described as enhancing business ethics, sustainability andsocial responsibility (Verrier quoting Gibbons, P 1999).Verrier, D R (2002) summarises spiritual leadership in the workplace asmeaning: Purpose and meaning at the workplace Bringing human values to work Ethical and interesting workThe strong focus on purpose and meaning provide a valuable paradigm forleadership and form the essence of spiritual leadership at the workplace.Spiritual Leadership 3
  6. 6. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004ConclusionPutting on a new perspective, it is clear that organisations, consisting ofpeople, have always been complex adaptive systems and not carefullydesigned by highly intelligence managers using perfect blue prints.In this new understanding of the world with increased turbulence (chaos), it isclear that concepts such as command and control leadership will not besustainable, and that a new form of leadership would be required.Such a leadership would act as strange attractor in times of turbulencewhich will pull together the shape of the organisation. In fact,organisations self-organise into a shape, and the type of leadership willdetermine whether this shape is life-enhancing and sustainable.The application of the principles of spiritual leadership will result in shapingorganisations into generators of spiritual capital. In the workplace meanstranslating the paradigm of economic capital of materialistic affluenza andshort term profit towards maximization into a spiritual capital orientationfocusing on decent profit, common good and meaningful work (Smith, D,2004).1.2 What is the link between spiritual leadership in the work place and productivity?The prevalent paradigm within the workplace is a focus on financialbottom line, exasperated by short focus demands from large investmentshareholders. For the concept of spiritual leadership to become acceptable inthe workplace, a causal link would have to be established to determine theimpact on profitability.Spiritual Leadership 4
  7. 7. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004In this short analysis the argument is made that spiritual leadership (or lackthereof) have a direct link on not only long term profitability (includingsustainable profitability as defined in the triple bottom line approach – profit,people and planet) but also short term pure financial profit.To maintain and grow profitability, companies focus on strategies to increaserevenue, achieved through increased sales (marketing, sales and service)and innovation (such as introducing new products, processes and businessmodels). They also focus on managing costs, using budgetary control,procurement control, staff cost and others.Thus spiritual leadership (although self-evident once it is understood) shouldmake a direct impact on those main profitability variables for companies tofocus on its acceptance and support. Arguments for implementing spiritualleadership at the workplace would provide evidence of the positive impact onrevenue generation as well as cost saving in companies (return oninvestment).Impact of SL on revenue the positive impact of a spirited workplaceCharlton, G (2000: 17) describes how participatory practices contributetowards outperforming other companies. Examples of this include: 1,6 times growth in sales 4,5 times growth in profitability 1,8 times growth in equity 1,49 better dividend growth 1,09 times better price earning ratioSpiritual Leadership 5
  8. 8. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004Spiritual leadership unleashes creativity and the core essence of employees.Creativity is a key component in innovation, which will improve revenuegeneration and growth in the workplace.Satisfied and physical, emotionally and mentally well employees who interactwith customers will be better at generating not only sales, but also customerexperience and service, both important aspects of revenue growth inorganisations.Impact of SL on cost in the workplace- the cost of the spirituallystunted workplaceDefinition of bullying"Persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse ofpower or unfair penal sanctions which makes the recipient feel upset,threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self-confidenceand which may cause them to suffer stress"MSF Union, 1994"Bullying is a compulsive need to displace aggression and is achieved by theexpression of inadequacy (social, personal, interpersonal, behavioural,professional) by projection of that inadequacy onto others through controland subjugation (criticism, exclusion, isolation etc). Bullying is sustained byabdication of responsibility (denial, counter-accusation, pretence ofvictimhood) and perpetuated by a climate of fear, ignorance, indifference,silence, denial, disbelief, deception, evasion of accountability, tolerance andreward (e g promotion) for the bully."Tim Field, 1999Spiritual Leadership 6
  9. 9. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004The definition of bullying above clearly indicates characteristics of spiritualstuntedness. BullyingBullying is reported to be the biggest complaint on the TUC Bad Boss Hotlinein December 1997 (38%) well ahead of low pay (25%) and other complaints,such as unfair dismissals (The TUC Website as quoted by Bullyonline asviewed on their website 7 September 2004 – )Bullying results in various health psychological and mental problems, such asdepression, severe stress, chronic fatigue and anxiety.Examples of the cost of bullying as quoted from the Bullyonline website isprovided below: UMIST published research in February 2000 that revealed that, out of 5 300 employees in 70 organisations, 47% witness bullying in the last five years (UK). The cost of lost work days lost due to lack of engagement. Bullying poses a serious threat to employee self-worth, and coping strategies include either work addiction (which ultimately result in reduced creativity and increased error rate which increases cost of operations) or usually work avoidance strategies (such as increased absenteeism from work, slow work and other activities that reduce productivity). It is estimated that lack of engagement (work avoidance) cost the UK between £39 to 48 billion a year. (Gallup Organisation survey of British workers over a period of three years published in October 2001). A combination of high effort and low appreciation is associated with increase risk of alcohol dependence in men and poor physical health in women.Spiritual Leadership 7
  10. 10. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004 In the UK around 19 million days are lost annually because of abuse. In 1998 in the UK 8.5 working days per employee were lost (estimated at 3.7% of working time).Other symptoms of spiritual stuntedness in the workplace relate to“meaninglessness and the stress to which it gives rise which is the majorcause of illness in the developed world today. Diseases like depression,anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide areobviously stress related. Stress related people are bad for business, theyreduce overall creativity (thus reduced innovation and thus reduced newsources for revenue) and reduced productivity (thus increased costs andlowered profits).” (Zohar and Marshall, 2004: 13)It is clear from the short explanation above how lack of spiritual leadership inthe workplace increase the cost of production including staff cost inrecruitment, increased legal costs to deal with employee complaints andother costs on productivity due to ill health and employee absenteeism andhigh staff turnover.The impact of unhappy, depressed and anxious employees would ultimatelyspill over to customers. It will be difficult for unhappy, depressed and anxiousemployees to provide customer service. Gartner survey data shows thatcustomer service and support has a 10 percent to 25 percent greater impacton customer loyalty and revenue than sales or marketing initiatives (Moaz, Met al) (2003) (Gartner Research on the Gartner Website).Spiritual Leadership 8
  11. 11. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004How spiritual leadership can improve cost management in theworkplaceVerrier (2002) quotes research conducted by McKinsey & Co in Australiathat, “where companies engage in programs that use spiritual techniques fortheir employees, productivity improves and staff turnover greatlyreduce.”If bullying is an antithesis of spiritual leadership and have such a devastatingimpact not only on people, but also on company profitability, spiritualleadership would realistically reduce the negative impact of such lifedraining behaviour towards employees.Companies employing ethical business practice (not only because of socialdemand but true implementation which can only be achieved through spiritualleadership) do better financially than companies that do not make suchethics a key management component – McLaughlin, C, 1998 (quoted byVerrier, 2002).ConclusionThere is a causal connection between spiritual stuntedness and staff relatedcost and reduced revenue generation ability. Similarly, there is also a directlink between a spirited workplace and sustainable profitability. That isbecause spiritual leadership touches the deepest core and motivation insidehuman beings – those spiritual beings having a human experience.Spiritual Leadership 9
  12. 12. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 20041.3 How can the work environment undermine or enhance self worth?Corporations are about making money and they define work as the pursuit ofmoney. But we as human beings are essentially spiritual creatures (Zoharand Marshall, 2004: 14).The enmeshment of work and self worthWorth can be experienced on its own or through work only. Most peopleexperience worth through work, and thus rely on their work to evaluate whatthey are worth as human beings. This confusion between self worth and workefforts is called the enmeshment of self worth with work (Humphreys,2000: 11).Humphreys (2000) explains that, because of this enmeshment, we start withparticular coping strategies to either enhance our worth through workaddiction, or through reducing the threat of loss of worth through avoidanceof work.Because individuals as well as organisations are ignorant about this problem,work place strategies and environments will actually reinforce thosecoping strategies employed by individuals working for the organisation. Thisreinforcement has a devastating effect on organisations, such as increasedfear of risk taking, job burnout, reduced innovation and increased costs (suchas absenteeism) (Humphreys, 2000: 50).Capra, F (2002:128) also mentions how the increased utilisation of machines(computers and other technology) result in life-degrading workenvironments that were designed with only economic profit in mind. DueSpiritual Leadership 10
  13. 13. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004to the non-systemic understanding of such systems, it is becoming clear thatsuch life-draining practices are not sustainable in the long run.Undermining of self worthReinforcement of the enmeshment of worth through work addiction (workdetermining self worth)Work addiction has various advantages for companies, which, on thesurface, appear to promote bottom line performance. These are listed byHumphreys (2000: 90) as being: High levels of commitment High levels of competence Willingness to take on extra responsibilities Over-conscientiousness Honesty Little or no absenteeismExamples of work environments where such work addiction is reinforced canoften be found in professional firms, such as accounting, legal and consultingfirms. The international accounting and auditing firm, Anderson Consulting,was known for ensuring this work “ethic” was drilled into staff during an initialtwo week “ boot camp” style induction program (as indicated by ex-Andersonstaff to myself).Spiritual Leadership 11
  14. 14. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004Furthermore, the current relentless drive towards short term performance isreinforcing this type of work environment. In many organisations workaddiction is supported as signs of loyalty towards the organisation and pre-requisite for promotion. Some of the characteristics mentioned byHumphreys (2000: 44) that indicate work addiction are  Working long hours  Hardly ever taking lunch breaks  Always available  Works weekends  Takes work home  Thrives on successThe above are considered as positive attitudes towards work by mostorganisations and hardly questioned in terms of individual self-worth beinglinked to work performance.Reinforcement of the enmeshment of worth through increasing the strategiesof work avoidance (work threatens self worth)Some immediate causes of work avoidance are indicated by Humphreys(2000: 70) as being: Authoritarian or laissez-faire type management style Unclear communication Public humiliationSpiritual Leadership 12
  15. 15. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004 Low salary Punishment of failure Absence of praise or affirmation Unrealistic or low expectationsWork avoidance result, for example, in staff being late, forgettingappointments, doing things slowly, not being inventive, turning a blind eyetowards wastage and other direct avoidance strategies (Humphreys, 2000:59). These clearly have an impact on organisational performance.Enhancement of self worth (independently from work)Apart from the impact on individual self worth, organisations can benefittremendously through promoting a work environment that will stopreinforcing work addictive or work avoidance strategies, and promote thedevelopment of self worth independent from the work place and work.Paradoxically allowing people to develop themselves separate from work, willresult in increased benefits for the organisation which will have a directimpact on the bottom line (profitability) of the organisation through increasedinnovation and reduced wastage.The following aspects in the work environment can contribute towards suchdevelopment, (Humphreys, 2000: 127 – 133) being: Physical safety: provision of not only basic physical safety, but also an environment free of violence, bullying and harassment.Spiritual Leadership 13
  16. 16. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004 Sexual safety: providing a strong message that the right to sexual safety is recognised and that violations will be dealt with seriously. Emotional safety: an environment where emotions are recognised, accepted, understood and where acting on feelings are valued. Intellectual safety: respect for intellectual capacity and acknowledgement of intelligence and where threats to intellectual safety are prevented. This includes an environment where mistakes are seen as learning and not punished. Creative safety: reduced pressure to conform and allowance for diversity and expression of uniqueness.Other ways in which the work environment can enhance self worth is wheremanagers encourage workers towards personal development (such asfocusing on the development of physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, socialand career/financial domains).“Employers need to set about creating an atmosphere that is respectful andcelebratory or individuality, is happy, caring and kind, and welcomesemotional expression and creativity. Where the work atmosphere is life-giving, wonderful things can occur.” (Humphreys, 2000: 173)Capra, F (2002: 125) mentions a new type of leadership which does notfocus on holding vision and charismatically hold it on behalf of the group, butinstead a leadership which moves towards facilitating emergence ofnovelty. Capra holds that leaders need to bring life into organisations byenhancing dignity and humanity of the organisation’s individuals as theyconnect with those qualities in themselves. In his view focusing on life andself-organising qualities of social systems will empower the self.Spiritual Leadership 14
  17. 17. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004For Csikszentmihalyi (2003: 87) managers need to ensure the following is inplace to promote a positive experience of work: Making the objective conditions of the workplace as attractive as possible Imbuing the job of the person with meaning and value, and Selecting and rewarding individuals who find satisfaction in their work“… you don’t build something like this if you’re going to go public in threeyears and cash out and walk away. So we really do try to act like thiscompany is going to be here a hundred years from now.” Csikszentmihalyiquoting Yvon Chouniard, the founder of Patagonia, a manufacturer ofoutdoor gear (2003: 11).In his book, Encouraging the Heart, Kouzes and Posner (2003: 13) statesthat “study after study” points out how fundamental it is to encourage“the heart”, I e making them feel appreciated. This is done through sevenprinciples, such as settling of clear standards, expecting the best of people,paying attention, setting the example, telling the story (that deservesappreciation), personalising recognition and celebrating together (Kouzes,JM and Posner, B Z, 2003: 18)ConclusionTo provide a work environment which supports self worth, the connection andconfusion between self worth and work needs to be understood first, as wellas a review performed of how the current work environment contributetowards reinforcing the confusion.Spiritual Leadership 15
  18. 18. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004With current performance focus in organisation in South Africa, this would bechallenging most traditional views of work and work ethic, as well asresponses towards dealing with work avoidance and the encouragement ofwork addiction.Finally the development of spiritual leadership will contribute towardsdevelopment of self worth at work, as spiritual leadership contribute towardsmeaning and purpose, which will allow people to experience work asmeaningful and life-enhancing. The qualities of a work environment thatpromote self worth are linked to a spirited workplace.1.4 What can be done to promote spiritual leadership in the work place?Once organisations understand the link between spiritual leadership andprofitability and self worth, they can start fostering a culture that promoteshigh spiritual intelligence. Zohar and Marshall (2004: 132 – 135) believesthis can be achieved through developing: Good communication Fairness Caring and mutually beneficial relationships Trust Power re-allocation TruthSpiritual Leadership 16
  19. 19. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004 Flexibility EmpowermentZohar and Marshall (2004: 80) urges us to use our spiritual intelligence toaccess our deepest meanings, values, purposes and highest motivation(Zohar and Marshall, 2004: 3) This can be done through commitment andwillingness to develop the spiritual intelligence as defined by the sameauthors as being: Self-awareness Spontaneity Vision and values Holism Compassion Celebration of diversity Reframing Positive use of adversity Humility Sense of vocation Humility Field-independenceSpiritual Leadership 17
  20. 20. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004Verrier, D R (2002) lists various characteristics of spirituality at work. Theapplication of spiritual leadership would contribute in a sustainable mannertowards a work environment that would enhance not only self worth, but alsocontribute towards sustained profitability, value for the communities as wellas the environment (spiritual capital). This means developing, for example, Ethical decision making A sense of meaningful contribution, doing something that matters Shared vision Stewardship - developing a sense of responsibility (Ability to respond to reality)Per Verrier (2002), meaning and purpose are the key elements ofspiritual leadership at work, and thus fundamental that one experiences asense of meaning and purpose through one’s work (which will also contributetowards enhancing self-worth).Using the characteristics of spiritual leadership as quoted by Smith, D (2004)in class notes, actively developing the following will increase spirituality at thework place through Purposeful work Meaning (at work generated through purposeful work) Values (true values) Moral awareness (principles)Spiritual Leadership 18
  21. 21. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004 Compass (living our True North and using our values and principles as compass at the workplace) Congruence between true north and reality at work Connectedness to others and higher reason for work Inner control to deal with existence problems at work Harmony and peace at work; and Total well-beingWheatley, M (1999: 157 – 168) describes spiritual leadership as a newscience for management, cultivating the following qualities as being: The need to be able to see what we are doing – the cultivation of the observer self to start seeing what is truly meaningful for self and others (and not imposed in an abstract manner from one small group of people) – a process of inquiring into meaning of our work. Working with energy, instead of matter (Physical). Knowing and keeping in touch what the centre feels like (who we are, our patterns of behaviour, our values, our intentions).ConclusionSpiritual leadership at the workplace can only be promoted onceorganisations understand the link between profitability and a spiritedworkplace (reality check). Understanding the principles and qualities of aSpiritual Leadership 19
  22. 22. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004spiritual workplace would provide insight into the qualities that need to bedeveloped to achieve such a workplace.The application of those qualities will lead to the generation of spiritualcapital, and because of the influence of companies on their environment(society, political and planetary landscape) this would ultimately drive globaltransformation towards achievement of the higher potential of humanity.Spiritual Leadership 20
  23. 23. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 20042 ReferencesCapra, F (2002) The Hidden Connections: Integrating the biological, cognitiveand social dimensions of life into a science of sustainability DoubledayCharlton, G (2000) Human Habits of Highly Effective Organisations VanSchaikCsikszentmihalyi, M (2003) Good Business: Leadership, Flow and themaking of meaning Hodder and StoughtonHumphreys, T (2000) Work and worth: Take back your life NewleafKouzes, J M and Posner, B M (2003) Encouraging the Heart: A leader’sguide to rewarding and recognizing others Jossey-BassLewin, R and Regine, B (1999) The soul at work: Unleashing the power ofcomplexity science for business success Orion Business BooksSmith, D (2004) : Personal Leadership A Module – ClassnotesSmith, D (2004): Leadership Development PortfolioVerrier, D R (2002) Spiritual fulfilment in a utility company of the City ofJohannesburg: A phenomenological study (Research essay for the RandAfrikaans University: September 2002)Wheatley, M (1999) Leadership and the New Science: Discovering order in achaotic world Berret-Koehler Publishers Second editionZohar, D and Marshall, I (2000) Spiritual intelligence: The ultimateintelligence BloomsburySpiritual Leadership 21
  24. 24. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude)(article) Interpersonal Leadership August 2004Zohar, D and Marshall, I (2004) Spiritual capital: Wealth we can live by:Using our rational, emotional and spiritual intelligence to transform ourselvesand corporate cultures Bloomsbury Leadership 22