Conscious leadership is not a new concept. In 2015, Jim Dethmer’s book “15 Commitments to Conscious Leadership” hit the shelves. While it resonated with some, it’s taken the majority a little bit longer to come around to the idea of being a conscious leader.
More open conversations about wellbeing, self-awareness and leadership styles have led to an increase in the term conscious leadership being used in boardrooms and self-help blogs. So what does conscious leadership mean and how can we adjust to this style of leadership?
What does conscious leadership mean?
Leadership is a fragile skill. Often a fusion of life experience, knowledge and intelligence mixed with trust, responsibility, discipline, self-awareness and clarity.
Being in the moment. Conscious leadership means leading by putting your team first and being present. It’s being self-aware and responsible for your actions and how they affect those around you. Growth and action are encouraged by supporting and inspiring the people around you – “we” takes centre stage over “me”.
5 ways to be a conscious leader.
Knowing your strengths, weaknesses and everything in between means you can assess yourself, understand how others view you and successfully align your behaviours with your values. In essence, you’ll be tuned in to your actions, feelings and thoughts objectively.
In the world of work, this means knowing what’s best for the team and business over personal gains. Knowing yourself will help you upskill and outwardly showing this willingness to improve will reflect on the teams you work with too.
“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.”Lao-Tzu
Top tip – start keeping a performance reflection journal. Observe how your focus shifts in certain situations, and note where and how you perform well and where or how you could make improvements. What interferes with a good scenario for you? In what scenario do you shine?
- Take time out
Sitting, resting, walking, meditating, humming – will enhance consciousness. Taking part in these restful activities will improve attention, brain function and sleep. Experiencing improved rest will leave you with more clarity and focus during the day and will enable you to be a conscious leader.
- Active listening
Listening is probably one of the most important aspects of communication. Active listening is all about giving appropriate and timely feedback on what’s being communicated to you. It’s listening on purpose to provide an answer that is present. Not an answer that is formed on prior knowledge or future expectations.
Active listening is a skill, and as with all skills, one that takes time and practice. Responding only when it’s your turn will ensure others have been able to fully communicate their situation/opinion. This gives you the full picture to form a response that effectively conquers anything raised in the conversation.
Top tip – nonverbal cues such as keeping eye contact, nodding, hand gestures and facial expressions let the speaker know you are present and listening.
- Set intentions
Bring intention and purpose to everything you do. Intentional actions increase pride in your work and will be infectious to those around you. Leaders with strong intentions align with their values and are more likely to make choices that support their overall wellbeing.
How to set intentions:
Take time to reflect and write down some areas of your life where you’d like clarity. Ponder why you’d like clarity in those areas and start to write down doable and achievable actions. Keep intentions clear, short and repeatable. To hold you accountable, you can even ask a trusted person to be your “intention inspector”.
- Create an inspiring inner circle
People we spend time with will impact how we act, think and feel. Surrounding yourself with people who block your vision will end your journey before it’s begun. Our inner circle plays a huge role in our character and success. Think about five people you spend a lot of time with. Note their attitude, behaviour and views. How do these people make you feel? Are there any adjustments to make to restructure your network?
“Who you spend time with is who you become.”Tony Robbins
The benefits of conscious leadership
Conscious leadership creates a better working environment for everyone. You’ll have a team who will be aware of their impact and actions in the workplace. A team that will work hard together to achieve their aims. As you work towards becoming a conscious leader, you will become better at understanding and empathising with others. This will help you create trust and carve out space for your team to grow and build resilience.
How can you become a conscious leader?
Keeping a journal of reflection is a safe space to note down feelings, strengths and weaknesses. This will help you figure out where improvements can be made and how you can upskill yourself to be a better leader for others.
The Leap Like A Salmon platform is a safe and secure online place for reflections. You can also keep a CPD log and track any learning completed. Having your reflections and professional development documents in one, easy-to-access place will keep your learning and development on track. It demonstrates good intentions and discipline to those around you.
Signs you’re a conscious leader:
- You reflect regularly.
- You’re aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
- You track your learning through a CPD log.
- You practice active listening.
- You’re clear on your intentions and complete tasks with purpose.
- You’ve chosen your network carefully.
- You regularly take time out for you.
There’s no hiding away from the fact that starting the process of conscious leadership can be scary. It involves taking a deep dive into oneself, personality and traits. Reflecting on not only how you talk to yourself but how you respond to others and the impact you have. More often than not, it’s a huge mindset shift and one that takes time. Stick with it, the results will be worthwhile.
As a conscious leader, you’ll see things from multiple perspectives and will be in a stronger position to make decisions. You’ll understand people and their actions, you’ll empathise, and you’ll lead teams that grow and are resilient.