In my last blog I discussed a little about ‘conscious leadership’. I use this term to reflect leadership behaviours driven from the perspective that creating an environment where self and others can become more self aware, have clarity of purpose, have clarity of theirs and others needs, connect and collaborate with others, strive for mutual benefit and self organise is sustainable. In such an environment self awareness is essential. Improving self awareness will be a constant by-product.
So I got to thinking, why is self awareness thus called? Sure, there are plenty of books, sites and coaches that will explain how you can self assess to become more self aware. This can only take you so far – can you truely and genuinely become more self aware without the feedback from others? Clinical review of your behaviours through understanding profiles; written journals and logs of motives for decisions and actions are all useful and powerful. After all, you are the only one that can genuinely know your motives. I believe the journey towards enhanced self awareness is incomplete without feedback from others. In my experience it is this feedback from others that offers a challenge to your own interpretations of your actions. I believe self awareness is contextual and those around you provide a large part of the context. Self awareness is informed by self diagnosis of internal and external data.
If you were stranded in a place with no other people around – how important is self awareness? What role would self awareness play? Doesn’t self awareness have the most utility when you are connected with others e.g. at work; in social context; with your life partner?
Does this mean that a complete perspective of self awareness requires assessment of feedback from others? To improve your own self awareness you require self aware others to provide feedback to you on your behaviours and the impact of these behaviours on them and on their perspective of you. If so, then our current leadership paradigm is falling short. Employee engagement levels are persistently very low, honesty and openness in interpersonal relationships (outside of life partners) is not common, communication skills are basic at best and the concept of EQ is not widespread. Does this mean only the most persistent of us journey towards genuine self awareness? This might explain low levels of overall societal EQ behaviours.
Conscious leadership requires high levels of self awareness of the leader and of the participants. The environments created by conscious leaders using the micro-CHANGE framework enhance self awareness for all who participate in them. They also enhance intrinsic motivation (IM). By their nature, employee participation in these environments is high. Conscious leadership also requires courage. Once employees experience high IM, high engagement, self awareness building environments, then command and control leadership will not be attractive to them. Could conscious leadership be a means of enhancing all aspects of employee productivity? In the few experiences I have had in participating in these types of environments, employee productivity had significantly increased (+20% and more).
IM is the fuel, conscious environments are the engine and conscious leadership is the vehicle.