For centuries, we’ve been living in a world where the status of leaders has been significantly more important than the growth of those whom they lead. This kind of top-down, exclusive attitude has had far-reaching consequences in the world, from politics and business to our environment and even within our own homes.
Fortunately, demand is revolutionizing the qualities that effective leaders must possess — adding empathy, inclusivity, vulnerability and even love to effective leadership approaches. Today’s top leaders are not only smart and fully adept at what they do, they are active participants in the growth of those whom they lead.
Conscious Leadership Defined
Conscious leadership refers to guiding others with full awareness of the self and cultivating growth in organizations by supporting the people in them. Instead of an ego-centric ‘me’ attitude, a conscious leader embodies all aspects of an inclusive ‘we’ approach.
It all comes down to legacy: how much do you care about helping your people grow as individuals and professionals in order to achieve more than you did in your career?
Different leadership styles can certainly exist inside of the consciousness context, but here we’re talking about the binary between the conscious leader and the unconscious leader. Thankfully, position, status, professional title and hard skills are no longer how we’re defining leadership.
Conscious leaders are masters of self-awareness and continuously practice mindfulness. This enables them to regulate their emotions and (eventually) not have knee-jerk reactions or the need to defend themselves. Instead, they own up to their mistakes, invite feedback in order to identify areas in need of improvement, and make decisions that serve to unify the group.
Conversely, unconscious leaders either dwell on their own emotions or power through and pretend they don’t have any, tend to dismiss the emotions of others, can be reactive, and they make decisions, often unilaterally, that are in their own best interest.
6 Signals That Indicate You May Be Stuck
No one likes to hit a plateau or back peddle and not understand why or how to get out of a rut. But when it happens, there are often of a series of underlying issues that need to be addressed, some deeper and more complex than others. If some of the following signals seem to resonate with your current situation, it may be time to start doing trauma-informed conscious leadership work.
Constantly Seeking Approval
Receiving praise for an accomplishment is fine, but when you find yourself fishing for compliments after every task or win, there may some deep-seated emotional issues to explore and resolve in order to become a more secure leader.
Working Harder with No Obvious Gain
No matter how many hours you work, your earnings remain the same or decrease during some months, and the situation remains a mystery. It causes frustration, self-doubt and a feeling that something has to change.
Low or Negative Profits
Sometimes, there are external factors beyond your control that deal you a bad blow. But if you find that your profit margin is very low, at breakeven or consistently in the red, it could very well indicate a leadership challenge at the core.
More Talking and Less Listening
When you talk more than you listen, you can’t understand or address issues properly, which means that they tend to arise over and over again. Conscious leaders don’t listen to respond, they listen actively and intently in order to understand. Then, they collaborate to resolve challenges.
Little to No Input From Your Team
When your team is silent in meetings or when asked for ideas, feedback, etc., they most likely feel that they’ll either be dismissed or their opinions don’t matter to you as the leader. If you don’t create a safe space for their voices to be heard, resentment can build — and that can lead to internal friction and/or high attrition.
No Demonstration of Vulnerability or Accountability
The parts of you that make you human are what make you relatable to others. If you feel as though you need to have all the answers all the time, you’re essentially alienating those around you. There’s simply no room for them, and it causes you unnecessary stress and pressure. And when you make mistake (because you will), refusing to acknowledge it and take responsibility often leads to a spiral of detrimental impact on your agency.
How Conscious Leadership Informs Organizational Success
Let’s define success as leading collaborative teams of people who are fulfilled because they’re valued in every way. Why? Because that leads to higher productivity and more effective work, which leads to increased client retention and new business, which generates more revenue and higher profit margins.
The following top qualities of conscious leaders help their organizations to succeed:
High Level of Self-Awareness
When a leader knows themselves well, that knowledge helps them to regulate their emotions and be more intentional in their behavior and actions in different circumstances, which results in positive interactions and outcomes with team members, partners, clients, and prospects.
A calm and sensible leader is trusted more than one who is impulsive and explosive. Conflict is sure to arise in business and when it does, a conscious leader approach the situation in a way that allows people to feel heard and secure.
When you’re intentional you have a purpose behind every activity. For the conscious leader, the intention is communicated so that it also works to set an example for others to bring more intention to their own interactions and work.
More knowledge means more expertise and ultimately a better future. In this case, it often leads you to seek coaching in the arena of mindset, shadow work, and overall leadership development for the benefit of your team, yourself and the organization as a whole.
Compassion is a key character trait for conscious leaders. It adorns the way they speak, address challenges, and encourage others to improve. With time, this sets the precedent and becomes the company culture itself.
Becoming a Conscious Leader
I’m dedicated to helping you transform your life and lead a healthier organization. If you’re ready to overcome the very issues that limit you as a leader, let’s talk.