What is a Conscious Leader?
A conscious leader takes action aligned with their values and creates space for crucial conversations. A conscious leader considers people and the planet, as well as their own well-being. The term conscious leader is being increasingly used to describe a new kind of leader but what does it really mean and how do you make it more tangible?
Now more than ever we need these conscious leaders and entrepreneurs.
It is no secret that we need some big systems change and paradigm shifts to change the course we are on. A course that is operating at overcapacity of what the world can sustain, and is seeing the stresses of injustice and inequality reach boiling points. Now more than ever we need leaders who will lead from their values and align their heart with their work and business.
Now more than ever is also the opportunity for the individual to make a bigger impact. We are living in a highly connected world, with social media and the internet enabling every day people to reach and connect with ever more people than they previously could. It is no longer just a role for the big corporations or celebrities to lead and influence. Individuals are being empowered to share their ideas, and voices to a conversation that is increasingly urgent and loud.
This is why now more than ever, the conscious leader needs to show up, move beyond any limiting beliefs and develop the skills to communicate, strategize and lead in a way that integrates both heart and mind. So what does it mean to be a conscious leader?
Does it mean being spiritual or having a corporate social responsibility or sustainability lens to your work? Or does it mean something deeper?
Here I break down the key components of being a conscious leader.
You Take Responsibility for Your Outcomes
This is about taking the responsibility to own your thoughts and choices, and ultimately the outcomes you create. It is about knowing that the impact you want to make is within your capabilities, should you be willing to explore the edges of your personal discomfort and potential. You get to choose what impact you want to have, you get to choose making it happen or not, you get to choose growth and exploring what you are truly capable of or accepting the situation and system as is (and complaining about it).
You Follow Your Heart
This means you are driven by your higher-purpose and you choose to make an impact that is aligned with your heart. You also choose to act in alignment with your values. Nothing less than acting in service of a greater good and your highest purpose would feel right. When you follow your heart, you know that taking action in a way that leverages your skills, talents and interest and is aligned with what you deeply care about is the best way to allow you to feel most connected to your higher purpose.
You Value Your Well-Being
You take the time to recharge, stay healthy and take care of your own well-being. You know that you cannot fill another’s cup if yours is not taken care of. You practice self-care, mindset, and living well on a daily basis. This is what allows you to continue to serve at a higher level, while also working to make change in some of the most challenging and complex issues.
You create boundaries and you honor your limits so that you can do what you need to do to ensure that you are able to show up fully and consistently.
You Work to Raise the Energy of Everyone Around You
As a conscious leader you are aware that HOW you are is just as important as WHAT you do. The what may be to hold a workshop, run an event, create a campaign, but the how is to consider the equity, inclusivity, diversity of perspectives, and reconciliation pieces as well. A conscious leader creates the space for the crucial conversations so that those around can start to hear and learn and in turn, share their experiences, and daylight more of the work that needs to be done; such that collectively we grow and learn and develop our own capacities to consider broader needs and perspectives, and slowly change the paradigms.
You Are Connected to Your Emotions
Being a conscious leader requires you to be self-aware. It means being conscious of how you are feeling, being present (or not), projecting or taking in and listening intentionally to those around you and responding to the thoughts and feelings in a constructive way. You release anger, stress or frustration in harmless and helpful ways as needed. You express joy, love and happiness in real-time as well, instead of showing up in business or work as a different person than when you show up personally to a friend or to yourself. You are whole, and you bring your whole self to the world.
You are Adaptive, Learning and Growing
You recognize that you can’t be perfect, and that showing up as a conscious leader isn’t about being perfect or knowing all the answers. A leader creates the space, a safe space, and models the ability to be vulnerable, to be willing to learn and grow and adapt. The changes we need in this world will happen over small progressive shifts and the only way we can get there is to be open to learning, growing and adapting. A conscious leader does that.
You Honor Your Talent
You know that your best leverage point in the system is where you skills, interests and talents intersect with what the world needs, your ikigai. You honor your talent because you know this is the best place you can be of service from. As a conscious leader, you know that only you are good at what you do and your job isn’t to solve the biggest problem or work on the best solution for that problem. Your job is to use your specific set of skills and talent at the intersection of the problem you hold most dear to you.
You Identify As a Conscious Leader
You are not just a business owner, community organizer, employee or entrepreneur. You identify with being a conscious leader. It seems simple but when you identify as your next level you, you are more likely to act accordingly and let go of the identities that are no longer aligned with the ‘who’ that you want to be. You don’t see yourself simply as having a role, but you are working to embody the higher-level self that allows you to be seen as leader. This includes letting go of identities that are not aligned with the values of the work you want to achieve. It doesn’t necessarily mean to feel guilty about any of the things you continue to need to do, but it means starting to take actions that align with what you’re trying to advocate for. For example, a study found that those who practice what they preach (for example in terms of environmental behaviours) are more likely to be heard or have their message be more positively received.
When you embody the leader you wish to become, it is no longer about the short term, tactical outcomes you need to achieve but about the bigger picture, the paradigm shift, the systems change you are trying to impact. When you identify as a conscious leader you inspire others, you take action from that next level you, and your message resonates deeper.
You Make Decisions with People and the Planet in Mind
Most likely the work you do is about making a positive impact on the world, and your decisions consider those impacts, even if the work you do is focused on a particular problem. Your products, your business, touch people’s lives, builds awareness, creates a movement or changes behaviours. The work you do impacts your community, the customers, employees, suppliers, and partners you may have. You know that the way you conduct your business needs to reflect your values. This means your messaging, marketing, and the container you create for your transformations needs to reflect the values you have for the world you want to create.
As a conscious leader, you know you are being called to serve in a bigger way. And that how you are in this world is just as important as what you do. It can take small shifts, small changes in your behavior that can ripple out and change the way the world works. Are you