Higher state of consciousness
Here, Floyd Carlson, author of Conscious Leadership In Action takes us on the journey of being a conscious leader in, what he classes as, a new domain of leadership.
The conference room was full with the heads of the organisation, waiting for the senior leader to come in and provide an update to the team prior to heading out to an organised fun event. The senior leader entered the room and said, ‘You are all a failure. Our key measurement of customer satisfaction is the lowest and this is unacceptable. If I’m going to go down I will take every one of you with me. I expect you to turn it around immediately and there will be no vacation or business travel until this is fixed.’ The leader then left the room leaving shock and dismay on everyone’s face.
This is an extreme example of not winning the hearts and minds of the people you are entrusted to lead. Coercion, threats and relying on punishment as a motivator is an old school leadership methodology of punishing the masses for any perceived fault and expecting peer pressure will take care of the rest. This causes resentment and distrust for the leader. Keeping employees in the dark, and not having open and inspiring two-way performance conversations is an outdated approach.
These two examples demonstrate traits that are part of what I call the Stone Age of leadership. A period in time which is extinct to the way people want to be led today. The challenge is these dinosaur ways of leading are still pervasive in work places today and are causing great talent to be ordinary at best or leave to other organisations. The cost to employee morale, productivity, turnover and the overall impact to the organisation these leaders cause can be staggering. As long as the leader does not do something ethically or morally wrong, they tend to remain in position causing more damage.
The next group of forgettable leaders that make up the 75% to 80% of leaders most people do not want to work for again, are the ones who are average in what they do. They may be good administrators, get along well with people or get the job done. You may have even liked them. They just didn’t move or inspire you to be more. These leaders normally have not had a good example to follow to show them a different way of doing things. The cycle then ends up feeding itself and we get more and more leaders being the same.
The answer is learning from the 20% to 25% of those leaders who have inspired us and moved us to want to work with them again. We learn by looking at the traits they demonstrate every day and emulate them to be part of our life. Leading in the conscious way is taking consistent actions that make a positive difference for your people, family, friends, community and organisations, while making the world a better place to live. Being a conscious leader is an on-going personal journey of awareness of your default behaviours and the impact they have on others. The four key conscious leadership traits that distinguish these new domain leaders are:
- They manage their energy
Energy management is being aware of what gives you energy, what drains your energy, and managing your energy levels throughout the day so you can show up in the right mood for the situation to be impactful. An exercise to expand your energy, list all the things that motivate you, create passion, happiness and joy in your life.
Answer these questions:
– How do these make you feel?
– Who are you being when you are doing these activities?
– How can you increase being and doing more of these activities each day?
– What can you schedule in your calendar right now that you are committed to start doing more of immediately?
- They make a connection with each person
A leader’s success depends on people and building a trusting relationship with them. People want to feel more connected with their leaders and this requires empathy, openness and a willingness to share. Building a daily habit of focusing on how to make your connections stronger, building new ones and actively supporting your connections is an essential daily top 10 action item. Social media provides leaders with a tool that can be used to make a deeper connection with their teams by sharing what is going on in their life. Especially if the team is spread all over the world, this helps to build personal relationships using technology.
- They do the internal work to be the best they can be
To be able to transform and make an impact in other people, leaders must be willing to take the actions to change themselves and invest in their own development. Being free from their blocks, judgement, fears and limiting beliefs is an on-going process. Taking the action to be committed to doing the work builds confidence and provides first hand stories for the leader to help others see possible alternatives. Get a coach to help you determine how best to overcome the items holding you back.
- They give feedback that moves people
The number one competency is the care for people. A conscious leader cares more for their people’s success than his or her own. They check their ego at the door and wake up every morning thinking about what they can do today for the best of their team and people. Through their care and focus on making their people the best, they give real feedback about what is possibly holding their team members back. Questions the leader can ask are: what makes this person unique and special? What is really holding them from their greatness? Then have a moving discussion.
Focusing on these four traits brings the reward of being happy knowing you are making a difference in people’s lives for the better. It all starts with embracing the new domain of leading, which is be conscious and focus your energy on making a positive difference in everything you do.