This is the capacity of leadership we need now because predictability is falling away, and being tied to old norms and paradigms are hindering our ability to thrive.
I see this as a calling of our times, to become a leader that can scale and that can operate compassionately and creatively in a complex and interconnected world. I see it also a choice to commit oneself to a path of continual learning and growth, in service of something greater than ourselves.
This is a journey that is navigated within; it takes both courage and intentionality.
Leadership in these conditions requires adaptation - including to a more conscious practice of leadership.
I’ve written this post primarily for prospective clients, those thinking about having me come alongside them for some form of leadership coaching journey. And it’s also an act of my own leadership: to say where I stand on what we need from leaders; to lay out my thinking on conscious leadership.
After reading the remainder of the post, ask yourself:
- What you see when you notice yourself in action?
- When do you get in your own way?
- Where do you play safe?
- What stories or patterns do you want to upgrade?
- How often you give yourself more spaciousness, time to think and reflect?
The concepts that are important to me:
Intentionality: The secret sauce! This is the act of being deliberate or purposeful, which itself takes courage to enact every day. The mental game of being conscious of the experience of your leadership. Being intentional about your practice, your thinking and actions. Committing to practice and improvement. Examining and developing your structure of thinking and taking action from there. Intentionality therefore is the connecting force between inner and outer aspects of leadership, between your way of being, thinking and doing.
Courage: Firstly, hearing and then accepting the invitational call takes full hearted courage, and love and a desire to be of service. And it’s a particular kind of courage, the courage (as the poet David Whyte says) “to go just beyond yourself, to create a relationship with the unknown”. This is the start of the inner work, of being prepared to become aware of your own safety zones, and to confront your own edges.
Conscious: By being present moment by moment we can move beyond the ‘what’ of our thinking, to explore the ‘why’ behind that thinking. This opens up new insights and the capacity for compassion and creativity. We can step outside of our old story, changing the very structure of our thinking, growing our consciousness and what is possible for us. From there, why and how we act, how we relate to others and the challenges of leading begin to shift.
Practice: This is how, amidst all that snow and fog, we begin to discover fresh markers and get new bearings. A more conscious practice of leadership is not a destination or a title; it’s not a certification; it’s not a procedure or a methodology. It is saying I have placed myself on this path; there is nothing to wait for; every possibility is here right now; there is more to come. It is saying I will surrender to the demands of the discipline and of my current level of proficiency in order to reach a higher or different level, letting go of limiting ideas about myself from the past. Practice starts with discipline; discipline (as the guide Laura Beckingham teaches) can move to dedication, sometimes dedication can morph into devotion – an inspiration at the level of the soul.
If this post has inspired or challenged you and you’re curious about pursureing these ideas for yourself, then please do get in touch.