(Replay) Wellbeing and Workplace Spirituality with Kweisi Ausar

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Kweisi Ausar is an Associate Professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He conducts research on workplace spirituality and other topics related to human dynamics in organizations. Dr. Ausar is focused on empowering individuals to transcend undesirable, dysfunctional, and harmful conditioning by cultivating spiritual competencies that are designed to increase mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Podcast Highlights

Who is Kweisi Ausar? 

Dr. Ausar’s story begins in Youngstown, Ohio. Kweisi suffered from childhood abandonment issues very early on and this led him down a path of striving to understand his identity and who he is on a spiritual level.

As a young man, Kweisi fell into a pattern of addiction to drugs which lasted for 17 years. During that time he was working in a corporate environment while going to school and it came to a point where he decided to transition into academia. All the transformations in Kweisi’s life have to do with deliberating cultivating spirituality. Now he conducts research on workplace spirituality and finding purpose and community in the work we do.

Overcoming Adversity

The realization that there are situations where there is no one to blame is how you come to a place where we see we are responsible for how we feel. There is always more to the story and it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how you react.

Many people experience workplace incivility and marginalization. As leaders we have an obligation to attend the wellbeing of those that we lead. When a leader uses threats and fear, it depletes the wellbeing of the followers but it also has a psychological impact. Organizations have an obligation to their employees that the leaders are ethical and are leading people in the right spirit.

Negative energy in the workplace is destructive to the employees but it’s also destructive to the business itself.

Workplace Spirituality and Culture

Culture always starts at the top. The values of the leaders at the top should be flowing down into all the mechanisms of the organization.

Pseudo-transformational leaders can be especially toxic. Surveying the team is the first step to get the pulse and learn if there are issues that need to be solved. Senior leaders need to be tuned into how regional and divisional leaders are communicating. Qualitative data points like customer satisfaction are indicators that they can use to identify problem areas.

Kweisi believes in swift action when you discover a toxic leader. It’s important to give people a chance to change their behavior, but if the toxic behaviour is engrained throughout the region it may require immediate removal.

Integrity is important. If a leader was stealing money, how long would you allow them to do that? When you treat people poorly, there is a cost to that and the question becomes “how long are you going to wait to fix that?”

There are three factors to workplace spirituality. The first being meaningful and purposeful work, the second is a sense of community, and the third is alignment of individual and organizational values.

Pursuing careers aligned with our innate strengths and talents will give you intrinsic satisfaction. Most people don’t wake up with the intention of being average. When we are in a career that plays to our strengths we are far more likely to be successful.

Just because you like to do something, that doesn’t mean that you are an ideal fit for that work. It’s important to take assessments and understand what your innate strengths and talents really are.

Membership is another concept that is closely related to workplace spirituality. This means that everybody on the team is not only aligned with the values and goals of the organization, they also care about one another. When a leader hires someone they have a responsibility to help them be successful.

As you go through career transitions the skill set requires changes, and the leader is responsible for making sure you will succeed if they promote you to a new position.

It’s important to dig deeper than the vision statement to understand what a business really values. Most organizations say they value their people and community, but the true value is always the bottom line. 

True leaders find satisfaction and joy in the success and growth of the people they lead.


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