The 5 Pillars of Conscious Leadership
Healthy, Conscious Leadership is essential for any team to reach its full potential. It's not just about being a good leader and boss, it's about being the best leader you can be. For that to happen, you need to embrace the core pillars of Conscious Leadership.
Conscious Leadership is more than just one of the most talked-about leadership strategies for business leaders in recent years. It’s the high-impact leadership technique that empowers leaders and their teams. By developing a better understanding of the five pillars of Conscious Leadership, you can start to build the pillars of success.
Related reading: Why does Conscious Leadership Matter?
Pillar One: Resilience
Resilience is not stamina. It is the ability to recover from adversity, stress and trauma. It is the skill of turning negatives into positives. When you have resilience, you can bounce back from difficult situations more quickly than someone who doesn’t have it.
It’s not about staying strong whatever pressure you're faced with. Stamina and resilience are very different. Stamina is too closely related to burnout for it to be a valuable approach to modern leadership.
Instead, resilience is about rebounding. It’s about being better able to recover from change or setbacks. The key to resilience is self-awareness, having the skill to reflect on a situation, your own state and to know what you need to be able to recover. It’s about approaching adversity with a mindset that enables you to learn from any situation and to be able to see the opportunities that are present within it.
You can learn resilience as one of the pillars of success. It can be developed. To develop resilience, first, be aware of how we experience stress and to become more conscious of the indicators that require us to need resilience.
Related Reading: Why resilience is a key ingredient in the modern workplace
Pillar Two: Purpose
Whatever drives you, everyone can hit a wall where they can’t see beyond the horizon. Losing that sense of purpose can be extremely dangerous for a leader. Questioning your goals and your organisation’s goals can lead to a debilitating crisis that can be extremely difficult to recover from.
Your purpose is why you lead. It's your reason for being, and it’s that reason that drives your actions, decisions and priorities. Purpose makes you want to get out of bed in the morning (or not) and do something great with your life — it's the seed that gives birth to intention, action and results.
Sometimes, the challenge of knowing your purpose is the realisation that you're not making a difference or that you're not doing what you consider to be worthwhile. The result is disengagement. And when leaders disengage, so too do their teams.
The only solution is to take action. Remember that agency is powerful and acting with integrity inside of purpose is critical in a leadership position. Take time to reflect on what your purpose is and what you would need to be doing in order to be working in alignment with it.
Related reading: Losing our way - Consciously Lessons (Purpose)
You can find purpose in two ways: through an internal or external process. The internal method is when you sit down with yourself and ask yourself some key questions about who you are as a person, what drives you, and what motivates you. These personal reflections will eventually give rise to a more refined understanding of who YOU want to be in this world (which is different from who everyone else thinks you should be).
The external process involves observing other people's lives, observing their behaviours, noticing how they interact, finding patterns within those behaviours, and asking yourself questions about those patterns: “What does this person stand for? What do they value? What matters most to them? Why do I feel inspired by their example?”
Once again — by taking time away from your own life into someone else’s universe (and vice versa), we can begin seeing ourselves through new eyes: our true selves emerge!
Pillar Three: Growth
Growth is a critical skill for leaders — part of what makes work interesting is being part of something innovative and evolving. To do this, leaders need to promote both their own growth and learning as well as their team’s. Leaders who remain static in their skills and knowledge of themselves will find themselves unable to keep up with their teams, who are always looking for new opportunities and challenges.
That’s more true than ever. Employees today want to know that they have growth built into their roles. A 2022 study by LinkedIn Learning found that an incredible 94% of participants would stay longer with a company if development opportunities were available. Your team wants to grow, and there are repercussions if you don’t allow them that potential.
At best, it leads to stagnation in your team; at worst, it means losing good people because they feel stifled by your inability to support them in reaching their full potential. You may feel limited by resources, time and competing priorities as a leader. That clash of responsibilities can make it difficult for you or your team members to take advantage of opportunities when they arise (such as learning new technology).
But growth isn’t just about acquiring more knowledge — it also includes developing one’s character and understanding of self through experience, reflection and relationships.
Related reading: Why Growth and Development are Essential for Healthy Workplaces
Pillar Four: Awake
Awake starts with becoming aware of your emotions, thoughts, and actions; with this awareness comes a responsibility to know how those emotions, thoughts and actions impact others. If a leader is not awake, they will be too busy reacting to notice that there might be something wrong in the organisation. Awake leaders create healthier workplaces.
The goal is to know yourself and what drives you (your purpose). It means being cognizant of the importance of self-knowledge. Awake leaders understand that their behaviours are driven by their beliefs about the world, people and the workplace. With that self-awareness, they have a greater understanding of and connection with what’s happening both internally and externally.
Ideas, motivations, and even beliefs can shift unexpectedly and unpredictably. A Conscious Leader is aware of that and can reinforce or evolve their opinions and thought processes while recognising a shift in belief. Successful and sustainable behaviour change relies on a person being skilled enough to identify the belief that is leading to that behaviour, understand what a better belief might be and then re-programme that belief in themselves.
And as the workplace continues to evolve at such a dramatically accelerated pace, being awake means being aware of the context of that evolution. This has been seen in recent years with the sudden demand for remote and hybrid work. Awake leaders saw the context, recognised the need, and acted accordingly.
Those not in the practice of Conscious Leadership have been slower to adapt to change. They weren’t awake to the change of context, and their organisations have suffered (and continue to suffer) for it.
Pillar Five: Togetherness
Togetherness is the fifth pillar of Conscious Leadership. It’s about how you cultivate cohesive cultures, prioritise diversity and inclusion and recognise that people have different skills and ways of working. Consider the leaders of yesterday. The traditional leader will tell their teams what to do and will always be there to solve problems.
Those leaders have little space in the modern business landscape. Instead, employees want their leaders to give them more autonomy and trust. This can be difficult if you're more used to the traditional “Do as I say” leadership style. This outdated dynamic is being replaced by cohesion between leaders and their teams — good leaders trust their team members, play to their strengths, and allow them the space to have agency in their work.
Agency brings confidence and commitment to brand goals. It improves wellbeing, and it’s one of the easiest pillars of success to implement — teamwork, collaboration and communication. These are essential to the success of any business or organisation.
Related reading: Using Togetherness to Create an Inclusive, Healthy Workplace
What is Conscious Leadership?
A leader’s skills to succeed today go beyond management and technical skills. Those skills need to include the ability to lead from their core values, lead with a clear vision, and lead with authenticity and integrity.
Leadership is a learned skill. Leadership can be taught. Leadership can be learned.
The five pillars of Conscious Leadership are the pillars of success in today’s increasingly turbulent business landscape.
Conscious Leadership — The 5 Pillars of Success
As you can see, Conscious Leadership is about much more than management and technical skills. It’s about having:
- The inner fortitude to lead from your core values (resilience)
- A clear vision for where you want to go as an organisation or team (purpose)
- A willingness to actively listen and learn from others around us (growth)
- An ability to know ourselves and acknowledge the impact we have on those around us(awake)
- And a commitment to working together with others towards common goals (togetherness).
From our Conscious Leader Psychometric to our Consciously app, at TCLC, we have been developing tools that leaders need. As Conscious Leadership continues to grow, and today’s business leaders face fresh challenges, those tools are the key to being proactive and resilient.
Book a call with the TCLC team to learn more about how Conscious Leadership can help you and your organisation.