Conscious Leadership refers to an intentional state of leadership that focuses on the organization as a whole, rather than oneself. It also enhances the productivity and atmosphere of the organization. This is achieved by big picture thinking and being conscious of the consequences that distractions can have on morale and efficiency. A conscious leader is able to identify how internal and external factors interact, thus allowing the conscious leader to refrain from gut-reactions in favor of an open perspective. It is this authenticity to self and awareness of self that enables a conscious leader to engage their stakeholders toward a common, informed goal.
Conscious Capitalism has four tenets: Conscious Leadership, Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation and Conscious Culture. The most critical component toward creating the necessary culture, purpose and stakeholder integration is not just Conscious Leadership, but more specifically Servant Leadership, a sub-set of Conscious Leadership. A humble leader that truly serves their team can create a business that significantly impacts their community.
How Can I Become a More Conscious Leader?
Emotional Intelligence starts with growing awareness of your thoughts and how your mind reacts to life experiences. In this process, you can recognize how your mind physically works and how it uses these processes to respond to your environment. Then, you can take control of it by observing how your mind reacts to stimuli and using those observations to take a different course of action than what you’re used to.
Recognize How Your Unconscious Mind Reacts to Life Experiences
You react to your life experiences with both external and internal reactions. Your external reactions are the responses everyone can see. These include your actions, words and nonverbal cues. Your internal reactions are the responses you have inside your brain. These responses come from your values, beliefs and identity. Your life experiences impact these internal responses and develop thought patterns and reactions that come automatically to you.
These automatic responses can cause your external responses. Sometimes your mind assumes that your life experiences are happening outside your control, it might cause you to act defensively by producing automatic responses. When you become aware of your automatic responses, you can control them instead of them influencing you too much.1
Conscious Leaders Take Control of Their Automatic Reactions
You can take control of your automatic responses by analyzing why they happen and what they mean. When an event takes place, your mind puts it through multiple filters, going all the way back to childhood to be more inclusive of all life experience. These assumptions are incomplete and often not true. Accepting this is essential to a becoming conscious leader.
When you understand the way you experience the world comes from interpretations that your mind created, you can begin to view your responses as subject to those interpretations. When you view your responses in this way, you're more inclined to take control of them and choose responses that are contrary to what you are used to.
Integrating these practices into your leadership style is Conscious Leadership.1
Why is Emotional Intelligence and Conscious Leadership Important?
Conscious Leaders are constantly aware of how they respond to others and the impact they have on their organization. These leaders are self-aware and properly manage their emotions.
Emotional Intelligence practices inspire leaders to become creative, curious, open-minded and eager to learn rather than defensive and focused on being “right.”
In today’s political and cultural climate, people face more challenges than one might expect. Practicing Conscious Leadership allows you to become more flexible and compassionate toward others. Instead of trying to fix problems using the same methods, conscious leaders can develop new ways to solve problems and can unite others by treating others with love and kindness.1
Conscious Leadership vs. Other Types of Leadership
Other forms of leadership focus on the actions that a leader takes. These leaders may focus on the level of control the leader has over their workers or the growth of the company and its employees. Some of the most common types of leadership include:2
- Democratic: the decisions the leader makes depends on the workers’ input, but the leader makes the final call
- Strategic: the leader focuses on their executive role while ensuring the employees’ working conditions remain stable
- Laissez-Faire: the leader gives almost all authority to their workers and focuses on the overall success of the company
- Autocratic: the leader makes all decisions with no input from workers
- Bureaucratic: the leader operates entirely by the books and only takes input from the team if it aligns with company policy.
- Transformational: the leader focuses on carrying out the company’s objectives, usually by giving each employee goals to complete in a specific time frame and encourages them to move beyond their comfort zones
- Transactional: the leader rewards their workers for the exact work they do, usually through bonuses
- Coach-Style: the leader identifies and helps others grow the positive characteristics of each employee
While these forms of leadership focus on the actions the leader takes for their company, Emotional Intelligence focuses on the psychological aspects behind the decisions. The conscious leader acts in the best interest of others by analyzing how they respond to events in their lives. They begin with improving their perspective and use this to improve their actions. This way, they can create lasting change within their company.
Consider growing your leadership skills by pursuing a degree in leadership. Grand Canyon University is pleased to offer the Master of Science in Leadership (MSL), the MBA/MS Dual Master's Degree in Leadership and the EdD in Organizational Leadership degree programs. These programs will prepare you to practice ethical and servant leadership in the workplace, which is a good step toward becoming a conscious leader.
1 LeaderSharp Group, What is Conscious Leadership and Why Does it Matter? in July 2022.
2 HubSpot, Inc., Marketing, The 8 Most Common Leadership Styles & How to Find Your Own (Quiz) in July 2022.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.