How does religion impact leadership today? What are the opportunities and pitfalls for society at large? How can we constructively engage with religion?
These questions lie at the core of this project. In order to answer them, we conducted a 18-month study that involved a literature screening, over 30 interviews with religious leaders of secular organizations in Germany, and a workshop with 15 carefully selected leaders from diverse sectors with a Jewish, Christian, and Islamic background.
The result: Religion plays a decisive role for many leaders and organizations, yet is a taboo in much leadership research and practice. Like leadership, it is both deeply personal and profoundly social. Importantly, religion is a double-edged sword that can cause both harm and good in leaders and beyond. We identify four pitfalls and four opportunities. If its pitfalls are overcome and opportunities embraced, it can be an anchor and compass for individuals, organizations, and societies in a complex world. Five ways forward are outlined.
Ali Gümüsay | Fellow Leadership Research