Opinion

5 Characteristics of a conscious leader

Many experienced executives may already have noticed that the traditional models of leadership are changing. Our world is rapidly moving on, and as a result, business leaders need to adapt to create and maintain a stable economy, and to ensure decisions work not only for the business, but for everyone around them and the environment.

Modern day society seems much more complex with economic, political and environmental crises reminding us that a major event thousands of miles away could affect our businesses, and our own stability.

With so many issues to tackle, it is becoming widely acknowledged that business has a significant role to play in tackling the causes to create a more balanced and stable world so we can all flourish.

As an executive recruitment specialist, Pure Executive aims to stay in touch with changing trends. Conscious leadership is one such trend – a movement emerging in response to our need to adapt, so we can help combat fundamental global issues such as poverty and climate change.

A deeper level of mindfulness, wisdom and emotional intelligence is required when making business decisions that benefit the whole, rather than just the bottom line. Since conscious leadership is a new phenomenon, we thought it useful to introduce the key characteristics required by a conscious leader.

1.    Emotional intelligence

Until recently the word ‘emotional’ was rarely used in the context of business. However, conscious leadership is shifting expectations, requiring increased levels of emotional intelligence. Historically more emphasis has been put on IQ - not EQ - when it comes to running a successful enterprise, but conscious leaders need the ability to connect and empathise with others in order to build relationships with people of all kinds. EQ also entails being more aware of your own emotions and behaviour, and possessing the ability to manage yourself effectively.

2.    Self-improvement

Another idea that drives conscious capitalism is the need for businesses to reach the highest possible potential. To achieve this you, as a leader, need to be prepared to not only be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, but you also need to be willing to constantly improve yourself as an individual and as a senior professional. In doing this you also set an example to your employees, investors and shareholders who expect to see your organisation’s leadership demonstrating the brand’s values.

3.    Identify a deeper purpose

The ability to identify and clearly communicate a deeper purpose for your business is key. However, this purpose should go well beyond financial targets, charity fundraising, reducing the carbon footprint and other traditional business goals (although all are important to sustainable business). Conscious leaders make the good of the planet and its people one of the fundamental reasons they are in business in the first place. Leadership expert JV Crum III sums it up nicely: “The new model of effective leadership demands that you evaluate the purpose of your business; more importantly, it requires that you dig deeper and ask, ‘What purpose does my life serve?’”.

4.    A compassionate approach

Running a business with care and compassion is important to making decisions that have a long-lasting, positive impact on employees, customers, the supply chain and other stakeholders. Taking an understanding approach transforms errors into opportunities to improve, helping employees feel safe to explore new ways of working and innovating.   

5.    Lead with humility

Conscious leaders lead businesses with humility and typically avoid portraying a persona of power or status. They respond to the shift from a more traditional self-focused approach to a more aware and holistic leadership style. Successful conscious business is built on sharing information and knowledge, enabling others to do their best, collaborating with colleagues and sharing the credit of achievements.

For more information on conscious leadership, look at the member-owned organisation, Conscious Business, and its LinkedIn Group Conscious Business UK.

Pure Executive can also help provide further insight into leadership skills. Contact us on 01223 209888.