The key to success is here, it’s called Conscious Leadership

Increasing ROI through a proven leadership framework

I’ve been around the block when it comes to tech companies, leadership, and HR. As a former HR professional at Microsoft and a long-time coach and leadership consultant, I have had the opportunity to work with many leaders and realized one key theme of success: conscious leadership.

And it’s needed now more than ever.  

Why? Leaders are drowning in increased complexity, major change initiatives, and increased responsibility. Many feel like they can barely keep afloat and the leadership programs and tactics available to them lack the completeness needed to lift them out of the rough seas. 

Most leadership frameworks only work on the outer game of leadership, which is the direct competencies or skills needed to be a leader. But it’s more than simply building skills. Trust me, it goes much deeper. 

Reflect on this question: How have your internal fears and stories impacted your leadership?

Do you hide parts of yourself and cover up your vulnerability to personify a more put-together leader? 

Nine years ago, before I left my corporate role at Microsoft, I wouldn’t have known how to fully answer these questions. I prioritized focusing on developing my outer game (skills and competencies) and the outer game of other leaders in Microsoft. 

How can you be an effective leader if you’ve never explored the stories, beliefs, internal assumptions, fears and triggers that impact you each and every day? This is what we call your inner game, the place from where your leadership comes from. 

The awareness of my inner game didn’t come until later. Looking back I wish it was something I had explored much earlier in my career. It would have given me a deeper understanding of myself in order to bring my full potential and capabilities to work (and I probably would have been a lot happier too).

People are the life-blood of our organizations. If they are not bringing their full selves to work, then we are missing out on a treasure-trove of unrealized potential. The research is clear: when our leaders are ineffective, the employee experience decreases, and people quit. Plain and simple: people leave leaders not companies, and ineffective leadership decreases your ROI. Could there be a better business argument to prioritize investment in leadership over other business initiatives?  

Yet, many of us don’t know if we are effective leaders and why. Simply put: We don’t know what we don’t know!

This is where conscious leadership lives.

Conscious leadership is a framework to deepen self-awareness and realize your full potential, as well as the potential of your teams. In its simplest form, conscious leadership means embracing your whole self with total awareness of your leadership impact.  It is the realization that it is not just about the external manifestation of your leadership but also the internal place that your leadership comes from.

It’s that quality of attention, intention, and presence that you bring into a situation. Success of what you do as a leader, innovator, and change-maker depends on that inner place.

The idea of conscious leadership may make some uncomfortable. That’s okay! A key lesson in the conscious leadership framework is learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

Conscious leadership is not easy. Yet it is the only way to increase your leadership capacity. It is the only way to give your employees and organizations what they deserve. And it is the only way to create more engaged and productive workplaces. 

ORCA’s Four A’s of Conscious Leadership is a framework to more effective leadership.

It allows us to dig deeper, go further and make lasting leadership changes. The Four A’s include: 

1. Awareness

Conscious leadership starts with being aware. Why? The things we are not aware of control us.  When we understand the underlying unconscious mechanism that drives our thinking and actions, we have the ability to choose our next step. The success of what you do as a leader depends on your inner place — the source from where you operate. When you start becoming aware of the place, you cannot unsee it. For many, even myself, as you become more aware, it can be quite uncomfortable. Don’t worry, you are not alone.  

2. Acknowledgment 

After becoming aware, we must acknowledge and accept where we are and take ownership. As leaders, we constantly take responsibility for problems, people and issues that are outside of our control. Now, we must acknowledge, accept and take responsibility for our deep, inner environment. This is as true for a team as it is for an organization as it is for an individual. It is only from this place we can take action.

3. Action

Now that you are beginning to understand your strengths, growth edges and how all of this impacts others, you have the option to choose what action and next steps you want to take. When you take that action, you are committing to growth and integrating new practices into your work and life. This not only has an impact on the people around you, but your team, organization, family and friends. It impacts your whole self. 

4. Adaptation

You’ve taken action, now what? Like any good business decision, you gather data about the impact the action is having. This is the time to seek feedback, reflect and plan the next steps. This iterative process is repeated time and time again. When you assess and reflect you can better adapt your behavior and mindset. In this stage, it’s important to be transparent about your growth with others so they can support you. Does this make you feel vulnerable? Good!  We encourage you to see every day as an opportunity to experiment with new approaches, new behaviors, and assess what impact it’s having on you and others.  

Raising the consciousness and competencies of your organization starts with your leadership. Leaders are multipliers and when we bring our whole, conscious, intentional selves to the table, people thrive and flourish (and therefore our businesses thrive and flourish).

Creating a culture of consciousness starts with you.

Ready to take the next step in your leadership journey? Contact us for a free Conscious Leadership consultation. 

This is the first educational article in the Conscious Leadership Series. Stay tuned for more specific examples and ways to use this framework in the coming months. If you want to keep up to date, join our newsletter for a monthly dose of conscious leadership.

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