As with all behavioural development, growth and advancement, Conscious Leadership begins in the home.
It is in our space, in our environment, in our safe haven where we are our true selves. And when we are our true selves we can understand what makes us tick. What matters to us. What we like and what we would like to change.
There is much talk about leadership these days – much much talk. Theories abound and experts along with them. Training and learning and workshops and round table discussions. How to lead – how to inspire your teams – how to empower your people – how to create an environment of change – how to disrupt and engage. The ‘how to’ lists go on and on.
But not many people are willing to give you the ‘how to’ be a better you in all of that training. That is because challenging entrenched, conditioned behaviours and mindsets is often a taboo area. There is a hope that within the ‘how to’ training modules you will be able to pick up the subtle hints that you too need to change – but don’t take offence – please – you are great. But you know, if you want to do this, well, it helps if you stop doing that. But it is up to you.
Well actually it is not up to you. It is your duty to change. The time is now. You will not get a second chance on this one, it is that important.
Not only is it important, it is why most leadership training programs shockingly fail in post training implementation. A recent study by McKinsey & Company (see article: Why Leadership Development Programs Fail’ by Gurdjian, Halbeisen & Lane) showed that in the US alone, companies are spending USD 14 billion a year on leadership training. But they are falling terribly short of achieving leadership success.
“Becoming a more effective leader often requires changing behavior. But although most companies recognize that this also means adjusting underlying mind-sets, too often these organizations are reluctant to address the root causes of why leaders act the way they do. Doing so can be uncomfortable for participants, program trainers, mentors, and bosses—but if there isn’t a significant degree of discomfort, the chances are that the behavior won’t change.”
So why are we sugar coating it? Why are we softening the blow so to speak? If you want to become a Conscious Leader, forget about your teams and your followers and the people you want to lead for a minute and take a long hard look at yourself first.
Just over a year ago I stopped eating meat. I was never a big meat eater to begin with but one morning I woke up and suddenly I knew there was no way I could eat meat again. Whilst I was well aware of all the issues surrounding meat eating, because I was not a part of that ‘group’ I hadn’t really focused on them enough to own them, to make them mine. Suddenly the entire industry, concept and even the idea of it seemed absolutely absurd to me.
With this shift came a broadened awareness of my role in this world and my impact. My carbon footprint, the impact my eating meat was having on the environment, the animals, my health, my soul. All of that was suddenly staring me in the face as though a veil had been lifted. And with that, other things shifted. My awareness increased and I felt that my power to bring about change with this act, no matter how small, expanded. With this shift, I felt as though I had moved even further along my conscious path.
Being conscious of what I eat, what it offers my body, whether anyone is hurt in the process and what impact I am having on anyone or anything else on that path is a direct shift of my mindset and the resulting behaviour.
Whilst the act itself could be considered quite insignificant, the impact it has had on my family and my immediate world is not. And this is exactly what we are talking about.
Conscious Leadership is about leading in a conscious, self-aware, mindful, responsible way. It is about exercising emotional intelligence as you lead with purpose and are always aligned with your values, empowering and inspiring the people around you in the process. Great in theory but no luck in practice if one cannot see the internal work that needs to take place first. Challenging our behaviours and deconstructing mindsets that no longer serve us is no easy feat. But we must all start somewhere, so we start with us.
Whenever we commence our Conscious Leadership workshops, the first slide in our presentation reads: ‘Congratulations – for you are brave’. Brave to have come, brave to have admitted that there is a different way of doing things, brave to be ready to start the internal work, brave to be the change, brave to be the leader we all need today. Brave to step into the honourable title of a Conscious Leader.