Leadership Starts with Consciousness
Research shows that the more we step out from reflex action mode and increase our perception of the surrounding environment before taking action, the greater we increase the chances that our actions will create a positive impact in terms of performance, and we become an effective leader
The more we activate our accurate and comprehensive perception of given circumstances and process it through our consciousness, the more efficient and effective those actions will be. If we allow our default mode “urge for action” to take control, we miss a crucial step, and this omission will almost always have a direct, derogatory impact on results. For managers who are exposed to complex environments and who deal with transversal topics, the development of a kind of multi-dimensional reflection is required.
The mobilization of their superior thinking functions makes an enormous difference.
Step 1: Perception, in terms of accuracy, is our ability to analyze, strategize, prioritize, and get a global vision of a situation before making a decision.
Step 2: Sometimes we must burn step 1 because we face an urgent situation. When this happens, we use intuition and make the best decisions with what we have, go into action, and that’s ok. We focus all our energy and resources to make the best of the situation. For instance, if we witness someone in an automobile accident in front of us, we would not stop to go into a deeper mental process, formulating a comprehensive picture of what to do. We will most like
ly run to help the person and call the emergency number. And obviously, that’s appropriate.
But such true life or death crises are exceptional. They are not the stuff of career reality for most managers. Most likely, business managers face situations and lead projects in which they do have time to go through the perception step. Usually, if they skip that phase, it is because they are overwhelmed and/or they are in a reflex, default mode “urge for action”.
Consciousness plays a crucial role in this tw0- step process. Our state of mind, our level of awareness, is the catalyst for what becomes our perception of the world around us. Our level of Consciousness determines our decisions, and we act accordingly.
Effective leadership begins with consciousness. When we intentionally activate our consciousness, we become able to purposefully determine what we do. We can act mindfully, strategically, in total awareness of what we are doing, and with a clear vision of what we want to achieve and a viable plan to reach our goal.
Let’s consider the example of a mother raising four children. In essence as human beings, each of the four children is a dif
ferent, unique individual. To be an effective, nurturing parent, the mother has to deal differently with four different characters. If she stubbornly applies the same recipes for each child, in terms of education and communication, there is a high probability that she will not be very effective as a parent -effectiven
ess here being measured by a parent’s ability to raise a child to be the best version of him or herself, within the admitted code of conduct and the rules of society. If she steps back, takes regular time to think about her children individually, and the best way to approach each of them by behavior, with words, through manners appropriate for her to connect to them and help them reach their most authentic selves, she dramatically increases her chances of having a positive, higher impact in each of their lives. This individual approach requires more time and thoughtfulness, and it implies personal introspection from the mother rather than her applying a one-fits-all solution. It’s certain to generate a higher quality of individual relationships with each of her children. In return, the children develop a better sense of recognition, increased level of self-esteem, and usually, learn to respect others. Our successful mother spends more time being conscious of her children’s needs. She is present with them: thinking, analyzing, listening, talking, and using her intuition to relate and connect with her kids, versus giving orders, getting things done with a directive style, and applying a blanket set of rules and principles. What drives her actions towards her children is her increased level of consciousness. She regularly uses step 1 in our chart.
This example can be transposed to all relationships and leadership situations. The more we spend time consciously considering the other and the reality of the relationship, the more effective we are in impacting the course of the relationship and the leadership.