How to be a conscious leader and why

As a leader coach, I hear the words ‘old school’ leader and ‘new age leader’, regularly. I coach a mix of both types of leaders, and if I was to describe the difference between the two, it would be that new age leaders are more connected to other humans. They are more transformational in their approach. And more importantly, they are more emotionally competent. These leaders take a real people approach to leadership. 

Old school leaders tend to be more transactional in their approach. They are more direct, and they tend to be too busy for all that touchy-feely stuff, like dealing with feelings. These leaders are typically more interested in production than people. They can’t understand why people can’t just chip in and get the work done. 

And it is not up to me to tell leaders that they should be one way or the other. My job is to help leaders create psychologically safe and high performing teams. Whatever that process looks like for each individual. It is different for everyone. The one strategy I share with leaders who want to be more new age is to lean into being a conscious leader. Now, for some, this is a big shift, but worth the effort! And it is well explained in the book of the same name, by John Mackey, Steve McIntosh, and Carter Phipps.  

Be ready for a shift in mindset, though, as this is a leadership style that uses big words like love and care factor and virtues and connection… 

One comment in the book relates to one reader’s take on conscious leadership, and they noted that, “Rarely does a book move me to tears, yet this one did, by holding up a mirror to the kind of leader I most deeply want to be. Conscious leadership is a powerful invitation to shift our mindset from the win/lose games of war to the community-building virtues of love, authenticity, and integrity. It is a book built on the radical idea that business can be a force for bringing more love into the world. Count me in.” 

And “leaders today are called to a faster pace, sharper strategy, and broader responsibilities, but also to greater awareness, humility, and authenticity. Conscious Leadership will help you summon the courage to open your heart, dig deeper, and keep growing as a conscious leader.” 

There are three elements of conscious leadership, and they include: 

1. Vision and virtue 

Vision and virtue are about having a strong direction and sharing that with your team in a way that they can connect with it. The vision is about purpose, and the virtue piece is about behaviour (the word virtue is defined as behaviour that is based on a high moral compass).   

Vision and virtue are broken down into purpose first, lead with love, and always acting with integrity. Putting purpose first means doing the work to make sure that your team is clear on their purpose and that it aligns with your purpose as the leader. And it is about having a bigger purpose, and one that is worth working for. 

Leading with love is about putting people first and knowing that humanity is the key concern when it comes to leadership. There is a ripple effect caused by leaders, where leaders actions ripple out through the team member to their families, and to society. Leaders have the rare ability to impact a wide range of people through their leadership and love.  

Acting with integrity is about doing what’s right and doing what you say you are going to do as a leader. Integrity is perhaps the most value of leaders, and leaders that fall out of credibility with their teams generally lack integrity. 

Leader action: Challenge yourself to do a self-assessment on how strongly you lead with vision and virtue and ask yourself if you put love and people first. 

2. Mindset and Strategy 

Mindset and strategy relate to thinking differently about business. Not the doing business to win but doing business to make a difference. Not treating business as a war to be waged, but as a value to be added. Not as a short-term pursuit, but as an infinite game (Simon Sinek esque) of building long term relationships. Then, with a mindset like that, putting strategies in place to deliver on the long-term mindset of doing leadership to grow businesses and to grow people to add long-term value. 

Mindset and strategy are broken down specifically into finding win-win-win solutions, innovating, and creating value, and thinking long term. Conscious leadership is about having a positive sum world view. As Alexander McCobin, CEO of Conscious Capitalism, puts it, “A positive-sum worldview is a foundational premise of capitalism, where we seek out mutually beneficial exchanges so that we create more value for everyone than existed before the exchange.” 

Having a win-win-win approach highlights that there is an onus on leaders to think about the team, the business, and the society in which we all live and operate.   

Leader action: Think about your leadership strategy for a moment and think about how what you do could have a bigger impact on your team and on society. And if you are in business, how your actions are helping others win, too. 

3. People and culture 

People and culture should be the focus for all leaders. All great leaders are supported by great teams, and those great teams don’t get great by accident. The leaders of great teams (high performing) understand how important culture is, and how important it is to have a growth mindset. The growth of team members is a key driver for conscious leaders.  

People and culture are broken down further into constantly evolving the team, regularly revitalising, and continuously learning and growing. For me, this is the cornerstone of leadership, and conscious leaders take people and culture to the next level. By fostering a culture of learning and coaching. By making personal and professional growth a priority. Not just talking about it but ensuring that team members are challenged to develop their technical and relationship skills. 

As part of this section, there is a cool take on revitalisation, that I love. There is a great quote from the book that talks about leaders being able to unplug and power down. And supporting their teams to do the same. “For leaders in any field or area of expertise, the power of rest, repose, relaxation, and rejuvenation should never be underestimated. It might seem counterintuitive to suggest that such passive, quiescent activities can be the fount of dynamism and creativity, but that’s exactly the point. Indeed, there may be few things that spur productivity more than those behaviours that allow us to empty our mind of prosaic mental clutter.” 

Leader action: Take some time out of your busy schedule to recharge your batteries and help your team to do the same. 

As you reflect on the above strategies of conscious leadership, does the concept resonate with you, and do you feel like adopting this as a strategy would help you and your team to grow and develop into a high performing team? 

And please click here to subscribe to our email newsletter! 

Or click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

UPGRADE your Mindset
UPSKILL your Leadership
UPLIFT your Teams

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.
Work With Anton!

Subscribe to our Newsletter