Conscious Leadership – The Stigma
Why We Don’t Hear Much About it and Why We are Afraid of it.
Leadership is a popular subject in books, conferences, studies, and in many other contexts. However, the conversation seems to come to an end when it approaches conscious leadership. Conscious leadership then becomes the 800-pound gorilla in the room everyone is avoiding. Why then is this? Conscious leadership is meant to transform ordinary leaders to 360 leaders, put in another way, leaders of excellence.
To fully grasp the scope of this subject, what conscious leadership is must be understood. Attributes of conscious leaders have been described by Jennifer Cohen on forbes.com that conscious leaders speak with integrity, lead with authenticity, and hold themselves accountable. They listen with the intent to understand and not just to respond, and they do it by being in tune with themselves and the world around them. You may as well note that unconscious leaders are not aware or sensitive to the environment around them. They are often confident, mostly over-confident, of achieving success with methods that have worked in the past. Under this condition, there is little or no room for the employee to suggest new ideas or try new methods.
Here are 5 reasons conscious leadership has been the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
1- The perks of leadership
The corporate world is structured to have benefits attached to new positions. The corner office, the exclusive elevator keycard, the bureaucracy, and so many other perks have a way of giving an elevated mindset to the holder of such office.
There is a tendency to develop an ego that levels with such position. Respect is expected or demanded and total compliance with instructions given to junior employees is often required. The leader becomes more self-reliant in making decisions based on principles that have worked successfully in the past and the opinions of others may not feature in the conclusion. It takes a conscious leader to see the insulation developed with junior employees who may have better ideas and faster solutions. However, the thought of giving up these benefits like moving to an office space where the bulk of juniors are may be hard to swallow.
2- The thought of being seen as a weak leader
Many leaders fall into the trap of their ego. They don’t want to be seen as weak, ineffective, or lacking in ideas. Thus, they don’t seek ideas from others.
They are more of leaders who would enter the boardroom and say “this is what we are doing and these are your tasks.” Others don’t get to join in the building or formation of the idea. However, the solution may not be very effective in light of present circumstances. The conscious leader listens to others and embraces ideas.
3- The fear of change
Due to the success of principles that have worked in the past, they may be constantly set in motion to work with new challenges. However, this is due to the fear of new ideas failing and costing the organization losses in money and shareholders confidence. Thus, there is the tendency for the leader not to be open minded to new ideas.
4- Insecurity about position and reputation
Making it up to the pinnacle of a corporate leader is not an easy feat. It takes years of achievements, experience, dedication, and diligence. The fear of making bad decisions that can cost the organization several losses and invariably damage the leader’s reputation can make a leader introversive and more careful in trying new ideas.
5- Lack of preparedness for new office
Situations might arise where a person is unexpectedly made to fill a position due to a vacancy. The new occupier of such office has to think of new ideas and may likely want to retain the office and thus would like to show competence. A common mistake that then occurs is deciding against consultation with those who worked with former the occupier who can point out a direction or give suggestions. Ego is an underlying issue with this as it becomes more sensitive with the thought of being seen as ineffective or lacking in ideas or solutions to current problems.
However, conscious leadership exists as a stigma because many leaders don’t understand it. An organization should work like a team with the understanding that the better output of a teammate will affect positively the general output of the team.
Conscious leadership helps the leader develop the potentials of employees to give their best to the organization. Instead of being scared of conscious leadership, it should be embraced. And, here is why.