Conscious Leadership explained in Academic Terms

I haven’t always like writing. Actually, for the first 12 years of my life, I couldn’t think of anything worse. I can remember in primary school not being able to piece a story together. Mind you, I think I was more worried about playing sport at that age.  

Then, in grade 8, I was marched into the principal’s office because my English workbook was in such a poor state. My handwriting was atrocious. And my story telling was even worse. I was certainly not passing high school English. Until the principal came up with an ingenious idea (or so he thought) … he handed me a blank workbook and instructed me to leave it on his desk every morning with a one-page story in it. Every morning, until the end of the school year. WTF, I thought. That is uncool. 

So, for the next 4 months, I wrote stories. Every night. Night in, night out. I learnt to not only write, but I learnt to tell stories (somewhat). My handwriting improved, and I then (back then) got ‘teased’ for having writing neater than the girls. Fast forward 30 years, and I have published five books, one of them a best seller, I love writing, and I have three more books about to come out. A massive turn around.  

Learning to tell stories was a game changer for me. In many ways. It has helped my speaking work, it has helped me be a better leader, and share my experiences. And looking back on how it all came about, as hard as it was at the time, it has been beneficial (like most things in life).  

And now, in 2023, I not only write articles for LinkedIn, but I also write academic papers. I am researching how leaders can ‘create conscious control’ and better lead under pressure. And I can tell you, academic papers are hard, hard, hard, to write. They are a challenge. My next step is PhD level research, and to get there, I need to get published. Here is a short extract from one journal submission (about 5,000 words), that talks about the research I am doing and am going to do on Conscious Leadership. 

1. Conscious Leadership – the crisis event issue  

During crisis events, leaders need to be conscious of how their behaviour is perceived by their team members. This includes being conscious of the impact that key decisions have on the team, (Hansen et al., 2022). Leaders also need to be conscious of themselves and be clear on their own limitations (Gudmundsdottir & Gudmundsdottir, 2021). Being aware of their limitations allows the leaders to be confident enough to ask for help, if and when required, and to be open, honest, and vulnerable in front of team members. As a concept in and of itself, conscious leadership was described by Hofman (2008) as an intentional consciousness. Hofman (2008) further explained that being intentionally conscious is about understanding the different aspects of one’s own personality and character. Moreover, conscious leaders create conscious teams and conscious team members.  

2. Conscious Leadership – starts with self-awareness 

Conscious leaders, and conscious team members, in the opinion of the author, should imply not only a level of consciousness and self-awareness, but also a level of conscious control. The notion of conscious control is an important one, according to Schmitz (2011), who reported that conscious control has been discussed by philosophers, psychologists, and neurologists, for a long period of time, because conscious control is linked to behavioural control and the control of action. Cox et al. (2017) linked conscious control to emotional control, including the negative emotionality of poor decision making in relation to addiction. 

3. Conscious Leadership – more study required  

Conscious control has been studied in terms of addictive behaviour control (Cox et al., 2017) and from a sporting improvement perspective (Swann et al. 2016), but it has not been studied in relation to leadership behaviour during crisis events. This is considered by the author to be a gap in the literature. Regardless of that gap though, conscious leadership is important during crisis events, and it is closely aligned with authentic leadership. 

In short, during crisis events, the more conscious control that leaders demonstrate, the better they will lead when the pressure is on. There is more research to be done in this area – watch this space. 

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat.

I partner with leaders who are under pressure, to help them create conscious control, so that they can develop psychologically safe and high performing teams. 

If you would like to work through this with me, please click hereor on the image to book into my calendar.

About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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