Conscious leadership is a particular way of thinking, acting and engaging that is well suited to the almost quantum leap that the new business reality is demanding of us. It is no longer enough for us to simply sprinkle more content knowledge on top of our existing leadership mindsets, or do another MBA, and expect to flourish in our leadership roles in this new world. Just as we can’t run new software on old operating systems and expect a great performance, conscious leadership presents us with the opportunity to upgrade our operating system itself. In part, this is about upgrading the complexity and expansiveness of the way we think, what is called our ‘vertical development.’
“To be successful, the leader’s thinking must be equal or superior to the complexity of the environment.”
Nick Petrie, Centre for Creative Leadership
Equally, conscious leadership is also about our way of being: how we lead ourselves and the ways we engage with others. These leaders are grounded in their personal purpose and connect it where possible to their organisation’s purpose. They are inspired by the potential for contribution and the positive impact of their actions on the world around them. They are keen to promote the long term over the short term and benefit to the majority over benefit to the minority. They skilfully hold the space while drawing people together to leverage the collaborative and collective intelligence from all corners of their organisation. And they role model authenticity, aligning their values, their purpose and their behaviour, while being open-minded, open-hearted and fully engaged.
Fully human leaders encourage full humanity in others.
In effect, conscious leadership is a verb, not a noun: leading consciously rather than conscious leadership. It’s about continuing to refine how we see the world, our thinking and our actions. Conscious leadership is as much about self-leadership as it is about leading others. We don’t have to be in a position of authority to be a conscious leader: any person, in or outside of any organisation, can develop their capacities for conscious leadership.