This is the third BLOG I've written on different types of soulful leadership, and it is by far my favourite. Over the last two weeks I've written about Authentic Leadership and Heart-Centered Leadership. Having recently read about Conscious Leadership, I do believe it captures each of these leadership styles and so much more.
There are a lot of different definitions about what Conscious Leadership is floating around on the internet, but for this I wanted to go straight to the top.
I was recommended the book 'The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership' by Dethmer, Chapman and Klemp, three years ago at a Coaching Conference, however I've only recently read it. An 8 week lockdown may have had something to do with that! I loved it A LOT. So much of the content resonated with me and I came away from it knowing I had some work to do. I also knew with 100% certainty that I aspire to be a Conscious Leader. Thinking about the journey ahead of me to become a conscious leader doesn't feel like work, it feels exciting and exhilarating. It's something I want to do to become a better leader and to be honest, a better person.
The three authors walk the reader through 15 commitments a conscious leader makes.
I'm going to walk us through four out of the fifteen commitments and give a brief synopsis of each one. I love all 15 commitments that they write about in their book, so it was really hard to choose just four. To do so, I picked the ones that resonated most with my own philosophy of leading smart with heart. Because I have such a strong belief that leadership involves the heart and the mind, this was like discovering a gold mine of leadership treasure.
The explanations below are taken directly from the book.
In the book, for each commitment the authors give a below the line statement and an above the line statement - obviously we want to be 'above' the line if we want to be an effective, conscious leader. I have italicised the above the line thinking straight from the book.
1. Conscious Leaders take Radical Responsibility (instead of placing blame)
I commit to taking full responsibility for the circumstances of my life and for my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. I commit to supporting others to take full responsibility for their lives.
This one is super important because it is fundamental in order to live the other 14 commitments. The first step in taking responsibility is to shift from believing that the world should be a particular way to believing that the world just shows up. Second, we need to shift from rigidity, close-mindedness, and self righteousness to curiosity, learning and wonder. All drama in leadership and life is caused by the need to be right. Letting go of that need is a radical shift all great leaders make.
Making the choice to take full responsibility is the foundation of true personal and relational transformation.
2. Conscious Leaders Learn through Curiosity
I commit to growing in self-awareness. I commit to regarding every interaction as an opportunity to learn. I commit to curiosity as a path to rapid learning.
Conscious leaders are passionately committed to knowing themselves.
When we go below the line, the ego is fighting for survival and we become firmly entrenched in the scarcity belief. Above the line is opening to the big fun game of learning and growing, and we trust ourselves or Source to provide us with plenty.
There will be many times conscious leaders go below the line and get defensive, but contrary to unconscious leaders, conscious leaders regularly interrupt this reactivity. They take a moment to pause, breathe and question their position.
3. Conscious Leaders Feel all the Feelings (I love this one)
I commit to feeling my feelings all the way through to completion. They come, and I locate them in my body then move, breathe, and vocalise them so they release all the way through.
Great leaders learn to access all three centres of intelligence: the head, the heart and the gut.
Every feeling we experience invites us in a specific way to grow in awareness and knowing.
4. Conscious Leaders Live a Life of Play and Rest (I'm all for this one!)
I commit to living a life of play, improvisation, and laughter. I commit to seeing life unfold easefully, and effortlessly. I commit to maximising my energy by honoring rest, renewal and rhythm.
In the book 'play' is described as being an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and suspends self-consciousness and a sense of time. There is a lot of research about how play and taking time to rest are the pathways to productivity and creativity.
My favourite part is the mention of 'energy' and how this is maximised when rest, renewal, and personal rhythms are honored.
These four commitments are a tiny taster of what Conscious Leadership is. Each commitment invites us to learn, grow and develop into highly effective leaders.
If you have a desire to improve your leadership style and align your heart with your work then I highly recommend reading this book and committing to the principles in the book.
I'm excited to navigate my way through the commitments and to thrive as a conscious leader.