The role of spirituality in the practice of transformational technical college leaders
Shirley, Charity Michele
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the ways that transformational technical college leaders employed the practice of spirituality in their roles as leaders. Three research questions guided the study: First, how do transformational technical college leaders perceive the meaning of spirituality? Second, how do transformational technical college leaders describe spiritual experiences in their leadership? And third, in what ways does spirituality influence the practice of transformational leaders in technical colleges? This qualitative study involved interviews with nine technical college leaders who were in a leadership program and met the following criteria: Participants had to be a transformational leader as determined by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire because the study was based on the transformational leadership model; they had to be able to identify instances where spirituality influenced their role as a leader in order to be able to contribute to the study of what role spirituality plays within the area of their individual leadership arena; they had to hold a leadership level of director or above in thetechnical college; and they must have had a minimum of two years experience as a leader so that they had a history with which to reflect upon how they have used spirituality. There were two main findings of the study. The first finding is that spirituality is defined as connections with a higher power, with others, with the inner being, and with nature. The second finding is that spirituality plays a role in the practice of transformational technical college leaders as a way to inspire and motivate others, build community, and make decisions. Conclusions from the research are that spirituality is linked with three factors of transformational leadership including Idealized Influence – Behavioral, Inspirational Motivation, and Individualized Consideration.