“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” – Warren Bennis
The idea of Conscious Leadership is starting to become are more common way of thinking. The principles of this style of leadership, and the hailed benefits of such an approach are now talked about quite widely and many leaders are looking at how to create a more wellbeing focused environment. Such an environment benefits both employees and employers, as it means higher productivity, better wellbeing and, frankly, happier people.
But here the thing. Conscious Leadership sounds wonderful, but some people aren’t really sure where to start. Although there are many things you can do to consciously implement wellbeing focused systems and approaches (some of which you can find in THIS blog from the Conscious Professional archives), a foundation of conscious attitudes and behaviours are needed to help leaders follow through on them.
Here, I talk about some foundational ideas to help start leaders on the road to Conscious Leadership…
1. Listen Consciously
This, in my opinion, is really the cornerstone of any conscious approach. To listen actively is vital to understanding the needs of those around you, and to signal that their needs and wants are respected and important to you, the leader.
Although so consciously listen sounds like a simple thing to do, to listen consciously does actually take effort. Even when we are genuinely interested or invested in a conversation, we all drift off from time to time, and we don’t always react in a thoughtful way. But, like anything, conscious listening takes practice, and becomes easier as time goes on.
Focus on meaningful engagement and active listening when interacting with your workforce, whether one-on-one or en masse, in order to begin a trusting relationship with them.
2. Give Employee Wellbeing Value
Overseeing a business often means that you get caught up in the productivity and profitability of the operation. Of course you do. That is the function of your job, after all. However, when looking to make an operation more functional or profitable, many people still put employee wellbeing far to low down on the list of priorities. Sure, on paper, giving your employees more regular breaks or building them a decent break room might not look like it adds value, but remember, happy employees are loyal employees. Happy employees produce work that is of a higher quality. Happy employees care.
So, next time you have to make a big decision about costs or productivity, ensure that you give employees wellbeing the consideration and credence it deserves.
3. Try Not to Confuse Hierarchy with Importance
Hierarchy is, of course, absolutely necessary in a business setting. However, this is not to be confused with importance. Every person in an organisation has a role that is essential to the success of the operation as a whole. Therefore, every person in your company is as important as each other, and therefore deserve equal respect. From the management right the way down to the cleaners.
4. Look at Yourself Objectively
Self-awareness and self-criticism are essential to conscious leadership. You must learn to take time to check in with yourself, and to be honest with yourself about the way in which you behave and operate in your workplace setting. It is something that you should do on a regular basis. You will find that just a few moments of self-reflection on a daily basis will have a significant impact ion the kindness and care with which you approach your workplace interactions. As yourself, ‘Am I happy with my interactions today?’, ‘Did I make decisions as sensitively as I could today?’, ‘is there anything I could have done better?’
5. Clarity and Intention
Being clear and intentional with your instructions, needs and communications in general really helps your employees to know where they stand with you, what is OK, and what is not. Confusion is one of the things that leads to mistakes and deception. If everybody is on the same page, there is much less opportunity for friction within your team.
6. Ask Questions
Check in and ask around. What do your employees think about how things work in your organisation? Is there anything that is concerning them? Is there any way you could make their job easier? Could you be doing anything more effectively? Asking these questions not only helps you to make rounded decisions, but it also helps to build trust between you and your workforce.
By Chris Thomson
Conscious Business planning is helped along by making the wellbeing and resilience of your employees a priority. Here are a few thoughts on how to do such a thing… Conscious Business Planning for a Resilient Workforce in 2021
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