Dec 27, 2019
Dec 27, 2019
Like most people, I catch myself thinking about future events or rehashing past experiences, usually chiding myself for making poor choices. This ebb and flow between past pain points and future affairs lead us everywhere except where life is actually lived: in the present moment.
Corporate executives, leaders of small businesses and nonprofits, educators, civic and community leaders, and even parents all make thousands of choices each day to be conscious leaders—living and leading in the present—or unconscious managers, living in a world of routines and to-dos.
What distinguishes the two? To answer this critical question, let’s first examine the attributes that separate managers from leaders.
Managers focus on routines, checking off to-do lists while ensuring that subordinates are toeing the line, completing tasks, and adhering to policies and procedures. Managers are responsible for schedules, project completion, doling out duties, and dotting i’s and crossing t’s.
Leadership, on the other hand, encompasses planning with vision, communicating with impact and influence, taking prudent risks, and genuinely engaging with others from a place of potential, synergy, and unity. Leaders understand their responsibility more from a vantage point of possibility rather than a rote completion of tasks and adherence to budgetary constraints.
Leaders encourage greatness in others by sharing their knowledge, experience, and aspirations while creating an environment where others are motivated and excited to participate.
The second major differentiation lies in the contrast between consciousness and unconsciousness, or being “asleep at the wheel.” When you are aware of being aware, you step into consciousness. Your choices are made from a state of awareness. With this shift comes the opportunity to choose differently and to wake up to the reality of potential and possibility.
When you step into consciousness, you are immediately brought into the present. Being present as a leader opens the floodgate to genuine human connection. Others will feel your presence energetically as a visceral current inviting them to participate and be heard.
This evolving leadership process creates an opening for collaboration, participation, and a shared sense of purpose. We, as human beings, want to live with purpose and love. Leaders can change the world one interaction at a time, just by living in the present. Are you?
Here are four crucial signals that you’re still operating from an unconscious mindset instead:
1. Your professional life feels unfulfilling and empty. If you sarcastically describe your leadership duties as “just another day in paradise,” you probably aren’t invested in your own well-being. Either the profession you’ve chosen, or the company you’ve joined is the wrong fit. Or you’ve decided to go through the motions and just make it through your workday. This is not living; it’s enduring
2. Your mind and heart are disconnected. Sure, it’s important to develop a sharp and insightful mind. But when the mind and heart are disconnected, you operate in a limited and myopic state of being.
Most leaders don’t talk openly about love, compassion, and understanding as core organizational tenets. Yet caring for those you lead means being present with them in a genuine, authentic, and even vulnerable manner. Do you actually care about the people you lead? Your employees, associates, students, or children will know if you don’t.
3. You regularly find yourself living in the past or future. How often does the false-ego voice from within raise a red flag as it warns, “Watch out!” or “What if they find out you’re fearful?” or “Don’t say that!” or “That meeting will be a failure.” All of these moments, and more, are emblematic of living your life in the past or the future.
4. You blame others for their negative involvement. As leaders, our experiences with others are, in fact, mirrors of our own behaviors. For example, if you witness someone being lazy or irresponsible, don’t accuse and attack them for this observed negativity. Rather, ask yourself, “What have I done to contribute to this person’s lack of energy or purpose?”
Many times, we go through the routine exercise of managerial duties, unaware of how we are acting, which ultimately leads to blaming everyone other than ourselves. Be present and know that what you do is important, but how you do what you do is the difference between being mediocre and amazing. Show others how to do it! It will generate far more results than casting blame.
Dec 27, 2019
Dec 27, 2019
Do you work in an organization that systematically put profits and revenue ahead of associate well-being and inclusion? Have you ever stood by silently or turned a blind eye to avoid being cast as a renegade or troublemaker?
In today’s society, we’ve created a corporate culture of fear, where standing up for personal integrity or demanding accountability for unscrupulous business practices can be a dangerous undertaking. Fear of job loss or facing the wrath of board members are just some of the threats that prevent honest and appropriate debate, dialogue, and reevaluation.
In this environment, can profits and ethics live in the same room? Yes, they can, if you move to a leadership approach called conscious leadership.
Conscious Leaders Risk Taking a Stand
Across the globe, we’ve come to accept that corporations can get away with theft, lying, and corruption.
So who takes the risk to stand up for what is right? Is it necessary that leaders leave corrupt and misleading companies? Perhaps it is.
But maybe the answer lies in having the courage to question norms, push for reform, and demand ethical decision-making. Responsible growth can be a rational and profitable outcome. The first step is to take a stand.
Conscious Leaders Risk Caring for Others
Conscious leadership invites you to take the extra moment to actually care about those you lead and learn about them beyond the formalities of business protocol. Connecting emotionally and establishing a foundational relationship with your associates isn’t because you want to pry into their private lives. Rather, it’s to let them know you care about their well-being. You can demonstrate that you are engaged in knowing their aspirations. And in doing so, you become intentional in your desire to lead them effectively.
Leadership is a human enterprise. The choice is yours as to whether you are willing to take the risk of being genuinely interested in your direct employees beyond the reporting structures that are in place.
The payoff alone is worth it: Forging emotional connections creates associate engagement, motivated team members who are willing to exert that extra degree of effort, and, ultimately, better customer satisfaction that leads to greater profits.
Conscious Leaders Connect to a Vision
Conscious leaders create a vision of the future where ethics, profits, and well-being co-exist and build off each other. But being a visionary is worthless unless others align themselves with this vision.
We all have concepts, plans, and dreams. Bringing these great ideas to fruition by developing strategies, plans, and structures is critical to your success. Believing in your ability as a leader is a risky business. But having a vision demands this type of thoughtful and purposeful leadership.
Conscious Leaders Invite Others
An integral part of being able to realize our visions is to invite those we lead and serve to join us. Yes, invite them!
When your vision is about satisfying your own need for self-aggrandizement or control, others sense this and are reticent to follow. But when your vision includes those you lead in the fruits of your labor and subsequent success, you lift up everyone around you to share in the rewards. And while your ideas may have great potential, they pale when measured against diverse and collective inclusion of those being led.
Conscious Leadership Is Earned
In today’s fast-paced world, respect and trust are not earned simply by title. Leaders must be willing to work by establishing the loyalty and trust of those they serve through their actions, behaviors, and personal connections made with each and every associate.
Dare to dream! Dare to inspire! Being brave is risky. So, too, is standing up for your beliefs or for a friend or associate. But ultimately, such risk-taking is worth the effort. Courage is exactly what will make you stand out in a crowd. It’s how people will recognize you as a conscious leader.
**Originally published at CEO World
Dec 27, 2019
Dec 27, 2019
Never in our lifetimes has transformative leadership been needed more than now. Take a moment to observe the world we live in. Turn off the 24-hour cable news networks and set aside your personal belief systems, biases, attitudes, politics, religion, and views about a myriad of social and economic issues. Yes, this is a big ask, but our times deserve reflective and objective introspection. What happens in the minds of each of us shapes the collective.
We’re seeing an epidemic scarcity of ethical behavior on the part of politicians, business executives, and companies masquerading as citizens. Add the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots, the irrationality of science deniers, the ever-increasing global violence, and the mass evacuation of entire populations due to leaders amassing power, and you have a world that’s out of control. We are in desperate need of redefining and realigning leadership at all levels and in all facets of our collective global world order.
Where to start, you ask? Good question.
Leadership, a noble enterprise, demands more than rote learning of corporate policy, established principles, and toeing-the-line managerial duties. Leadership incorporates the whole person, calling us to be more than we are, more than our title, more than our own limitations.
True leadership is an amalgamation of our life experiences. Leaders reach other human beings not via status or position, but from a mindset of authenticity, genuineness, and prudent risk-taking. If we measure success in accordance with what companies, organizations, and established systems ordain as competencies to master, we conform to a limited and constricted framework that ultimately leaves us half-filled, dissatisfied, and living well below our human capacity.
True leadership also requires us to recast our view of ourselves. How often have you become the person someone else wanted you to be? From parents wanting us to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, painters, welders, or mechanics, to the companies acculturating us to live true to a title governed by corporate policies, we live everywhere but in a space that’s true to ourselves. We often relinquish our true essence, that part of us that is genuine, real, and speaks to our deepest, soulful selves.
We fail when we’re not living true to who we are, not asking for what we desire, continually trying to please others, all while unconsciously piling up resentments, anger, and inner turmoil that leads to physical, mental, and spiritual illness.
Becoming the conscious, engaged leader this era demands requires you to be the real you. Yes, this is harder than it sounds. But taking on this challenge generates resilience and, ultimately, the realization that you have the power to choose who you’ll become and how you’ll live your life.
Here are three real-world practices for stepping into the real you:
There is a widely held belief that manifests in the question: “I’m only one person, what difference can I make?” The real you is a superconductive electromagnetic miracle, capable of energizing yourself as well as those you lead and serve. Stepping into the real you elevates your energetic flow because you’re aligning with your higher self, that part of your essence that shines a light on darkness. Others feel this — it’s visceral and restorative — debunking the myth that one person cannot make a difference.
The dark side is powerful, but it’s not as electrifying and luminescent as the “Force.” When you step into authenticity, your output changes. Others are attracted to this energy, as strength, confidence, and caring are qualities sought by all of us. You have the power to change not only yourself but also those you lead, simply by being real. Cast aside the need to please everyone by contorting yourself into someone else. Be powerful. Be authentic.
Contrary to conventional management wisdom, being vulnerable is a leadership strength. Vulnerability reveals your humanness, opening a portal for others to relate and connect. It leads to collaborations that are otherwise not achievable when title, authority, and hierarchy prevail. Human beings want to connect on a genuine basis. Show your humanness and watch what happens.
The time for conscious leadership is now. Be the you that shines your light on the darkness we’re experiencing. Don’t wait for others to take the gauntlet. Transformational leadership is within each of us. This thing we call life is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real deal. Be the real you.