Having coached hundreds of leaders over the past 20 years, and through my own evolution as a human being and leader, I would like to share some perspectives on the topic of “Conscious Leadership,” and on what being a conscious leader is all about. This is such a big topic, and is gaining significant momentum in our business and collective consciousness, so I’d like to spark thought and dialog around this next phase where leadership is heading.
The opposite of being conscious is unconscious; acting in a conditioned manner without awareness of one’s present realm, reacting to occurrences from unconscious habit or patterns, repetitive thoughts and behaviors that keep reoccurring over long periods of time.
Becoming more conscious, more aware, of one’s self and of others, is the next path of personal and professional growth, if one chooses. An internal shift in one’s consciousness from the unconscious, automatic state of being can happen over time through a focused process of developing oneself, or can happen in an instant. Either way, once new levels of awareness have been achieved, one can see new, more effective, more easily received, more meaningful ways to live life, in dealing with people, solving problems and conflict, and in boosting creativity, teamwork, and performance. Research also proves that those leaders who are more conscious and are creating conscious cultures of more engaged and aligned employees are even more profitable than their competitors (Firms of Endearment 2014). So not only is becoming more conscious good for one’s sprit, it’s very good business too!
Many people are awakening to new, more authentic aspects of themselves, and are showing up more conscious in their work roles, workplace and with their people. For decades now, leaders have been looking at doing business beyond the traditional mindset that has, and still dominates our business landscape worldwide. Beyond the ‘profit-is-prime’ mantra, these conscious leaders have been putting people first, not just customers, but employees, vendors, the communities they reside in, and even attending to environmental issues that surround them. Leaders such as Anita Roddick, Herb Kelleher, Howard Schultz, Tony Hsieh, John Mackey, Chip Conley, Kip Tindell, Bill George, Bob Chapman, Tom O’Brien, and many others have captured notoriety on their models of conscious leadership and building conscious businesses. Thousands of others regularly are going about the same philosophy as well, and more are becoming more conscious in their leadership styles and improving their dealings with business issues daily.
The goal of becoming a more conscious person, a conscious leader, is to be a continually evolving human being, a better person: more authentic, more self-aware, more caring, more creative, more effective. In a word, happier! The goal of becoming a more conscious leader is to be a conduit for others entrusted to you to become better humans, better people in the workplace: more engaged and secure, team-oriented, innovating, collaborators, problem-solvers, focused on fulfilling purpose/mission. In one word, happier! Conscious people, conscious leaders are self-aware enough to drive their own personal evolution to a higher, better, more loving definition of who they are, what they want to be in their lives, and in the lives of others. They are the authentic people and leaders they, we, all desire to be!
Since self-awareness is key to any personal / professional growth process, all conscious leaders have some method(s) they found to tap into some deeper aspect of themselves. Taking an honest, real self-assessment, while uncomfortable at times, is the first step to progress. Calming your mind, stilling the constant flow of thoughts and emotions, is part of the process. Having a process of self-inquiry and useful information also enhances one’s journey. Without developing your self-awareness factors and mindfulness skills, becoming a more conscious person and leader is impossible.
From observing and researching who conscious leaders are, how they think and behave, what they do differently, I have amassed a personal assessment worksheet for you to reflect upon, and see what your higher wisdom has to say about your current Conscious Leadership Quotient (CLQ). Look over the following statements and take a deep dive into your own truth. Be open and honest with yourself, and allow your own authenticity to navigate your answers. This self-awareness process is best done during quiet, alone times. Afterward I have included a few actionable steps you can take if you want to expand any aspect of yourself and your CLQ.
Review the following statements and mark your answer in the field provided that best reflects your current state of mind/ being (not what you want to be, or have others think of you as). Answer the questions with the following responses: None/Never, Sometimes, Often, Regularly, Always/All the Time. Progress begins from a place of knowing, so let’s begin on helping you make known to you some meaningful aspects of yourself.
Meditate/Quiet Contemplation time:
Personal Development (reading, seminars):
Emotional Healing (therapy, group work):
In Touch with Your Feelings/Emotions:
Conscious Breakthroughs in Thinking/Choices:
Making Intentional/Positive Changes in Your Life
Letting Go Limiting Beliefs (can’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t):
Know Your Masks, Walls, Stories:
Shedding Masks, Walls, Stories:
Know & Live by Your Values:
Know & Live by Your Passions:
Know & Live by Your Innate Strengths:
Have a Vision for Your Life:
Live Your Life with a Known Purpose:
Live from Ego-centric Mindset:
Live from Authentic-Self Mindset:
Dark side / Shadow Awareness:
Your Trusting of Others:
Have a Spiritual Growth Process:
Capacity for Love and Care (Self, Others):
Express Conscious Living in Your Life:
Express Conscious Leadership at Work:
Your Worldview – You See Life as:
– Like a jungle where the tough/ strong prevail, and
the weak serve; nature is adversary to conquer:
– Controlled by obedience to a ‘Higher Power’ that
directs living, punishes wrong, rewards right:
– Full of resources to develop and opportunities
to take advantage of; create wealth, prosperity:
– A shared habitat where people can find peace
and purpose through affiliation and diversity:
– A dynamic, chaotic organism, where change is
the norm, uncertainty is acceptable, and where
knowledge is evolving:
– A delicately balanced system of interlocking
forces, in need of comprehension and
Once you have taken an honest assessment from the above, take a look at those areas that you feel you:
Desire to Continue – You are currently satisfied with where you are, and it is affirming, supporting your life and work so far. If you were to ask others in your close loop for feedback, they probably would agree with your assessment. These aspects you can be grateful of, and continue to nurture and expand them in your life and work.
Desire to Change – As you reflected you felt an internal nudge, large or small, that an aspect might be an area for improvement, growth, letting go, or change. These you can set a proactive course to begin self-mastery of, either by reading books, attending seminars, hiring a coach/therapist, joining a peer group, or talking with a trusted friend, all with the intention of shifting your thinking, your paradigm around that aspect that no longer is serving you. Establishing a starting point can help you self-assess as you progress along your path to your own consciousness expansion and authenticity.
I hope this exercise helps you expand your understanding and awareness on this most important topic of consciousness, conscious living and conscious leadership. More on this to come in future posts. I would welcome your thoughts and perspectives below, as we are all part of the same journey…. “No one of us is as wise as all of us!”