Conscious Leadership is critical in the evolving workplace
How is the workplace evolving?
There’s been a global shift in the workplace; the evolution of hybrid working, a groundswell of focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and a need for mental health to be better supported, has left organisations having to re-prioritise.
Leaders are struggling to keep their teams engaged and they’re burning out themselves. In a recent survey, 82% reported exhaustion and 70% were thinking about leaving their jobs. This is a problem when there is compelling evidence to show that organisations with healthy cultures and leaders are 220% more likely to meet their financial targets and 11x more likely to have low levels of absenteeism.
Hybrid working has led to more disparate teams with as few as 10% of employees reporting positive engagement. Given that the highest levels of performance are found in teams who can trust and depend on each other, creating psychologically safe teams who are engaged with the mission of the organisation, has become an even greater priority.
There is also the stress being caused by the cost of living crisis and even before this, UK employers were losing £57bn per annum in absenteeism due to poor employee health, much of which was stress related. The costs associated with poor mental health have skyrocketed, with the World Health Organization estimating it to cause US$1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
What does this mean for leadership development?
Many organisations are taking action, bringing in well needed training and support around inclusion and mental health. However, the focus needs to turn to leaders who are the ultimate catalyst behind sustained team performance and wellbeing. There’s a huge amount for leaders to contend with and they are feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, understanding how to enable them to sustain performance in the modern workplace, has become a business imperative.
Leadership development and the approach that organisations take to developing leaders needs to keep up with the rapidly changing business landscape. It means adopting contemporary leadership practices while making sure that leaders are doing what it takes to maintain their own wellbeing, avoiding burnout.
Traditional leadership development programmes have failed to deliver the desired results, and this is largely because development programmes often don’t tackle the deepest “below the surface” assumptions and beliefs that drive leadership behaviour. Learning is often difficult to apply when outside of a classroom setting, and most leadership development doesn’t place enough emphasis on leadership wellbeing and helping leaders to understand how to support their own needs.
The most effective learning happens iteratively, ‘in the flow’ of work and when we learn in bite-sized chunks, it provides the opportunity to apply the learning more easily - making it more relevant. When we make learning a continual journey of micro-lessons, micro actions and reflective practice (considering what we are learning as we go), we create a much more powerful method of developing ourselves. It leads to greater levels of mindset and behaviour change, which is ultimately what leadership development is seeking to achieve.
This means the focus should be on providing less classroom learning and one-off interventions for leaders, moving to a more continuous approach to learning where leaders get access to content and experiential learning opportunities while they are doing the job. They also need a way to manage their own wellbeing levels, to stay balanced and in check.
Why conscious leadership?
There are many leadership models out there which seek to enable leaders to drive performance in their teams. Most of these models are fairly old now and not reflective of the current workplace and ways of working, which are now heavily influenced by technology.
Conscious Leadership has been developed with an understanding of what leads to high performance in a modern context, where aspects like DE&I, wellbeing, psychological safety, and growth mindset are all recognised as important influencing factors in team performance and wellbeing. Our work with University College London (UCL) to scientifically validate Conscious Leadership as an effective way of leading, found that through increasing levels of leadership consciousness, several positive outcomes can be achieved.
Conscious leaders tend to:
- Be more satisfied with their jobs
- Be more engaged in their work
- Have higher or better wellbeing
- Perform tasks more effectively and efficiently
- Contribute more to the organisation.
They are also less likely to burnout and engage in counterproductive work behaviours.
What is Conscious Leadership?
It’s an approach to leadership which focuses on both the leader, as well as the teams that they lead. It’s this ability to be able to notice what is going on within ourselves and outside ourselves that places Conscious Leaders in a stronger position to be able to make the decisions that drive and sustain performance. Conscious Leadership is built around five key dimensions (see below diagram) and when these become the focus of leadership development, they build conscious capability - therefore improving performance and their wellbeing.
When leaders are AWAKE they stay present, they continue to work on developing themselves and they are able to manage their emotions. AWAKE leaders make people feel respected and valued, they normalise personal growth and they create healthy adult to adult environments.
When leaders maintain their RESILIENCE they are solution orientated, they recognise the importance of managing their mindset and they practice self care. This leads to solution focused teams who take responsibility, whose mindset drives performance and for resilience is supported by self care.
When leaders GROW, they recognise the value of capitalising on strengths, they are curious rather than defended in their approach and they support team development. This leads to the potential of the team being realised, to learning cultures being created and to teams continuing to develop and grow themselves.
When leaders lead with PURPOSE they work with the team to craft work that is meaningful, they recognise the importance of setting clear boundaries and they provide ongoing clarity. This leads to teams feeling empowered, pace being managed and everyone staying focused on the work that matters the most - and which makes the biggest difference.
Leaders who operate TOGETHER can trust others, they seek out opinions and are able to build relationships with those around them. This leads to psychologically safe environments where people feel seen, where collaboration and co-creation are normalised and where everyone feels safe to constructively speak up.
As we increasingly recognise the business value and societal impact of creating great workplace cultures, we also recognise the importance of equipping leaders with the ability to understand and build those cultures. This is where building Conscious Leadership capability becomes a critical success factor for sustained business performance and growth.
Click here to watch a short introductory video to find out more about Conscious Leadership from our founder, Natasha Wallace.
How can we help?
Using behavioural science and the latest research into learning and high performance in teams, we have developed a high impact and low-cost digital solution that allows organisations to quickly implement and scale Conscious Leadership, without the need to take your leaders out of the business for long periods of time and without a significant amount of change management. We do this in two ways:
Conscious Leadership Psychometric is the only scientifically validated personality profiling tool that measures performance, wellbeing, and burnout in leaders.
This is a ‘marker in the sand’ diagnostic tool allowing leaders to understand the starting point for their development. Our accredited Conscious Coaches are skilled at providing feedback and guiding leaders to understand what their own needs are, as well as understanding how they can better support their teams to perform.
Consciously is a unique self-led digital learning and wellbeing platform developed specifically for leaders and managers.
Designed to change behaviour over time, leaders learn important insights and can practice new skills and thinking. Consciously can be accessed from any device, anywhere and uses micro lessons, reflective practice, and experiential learning, in the flow of work, so that leaders can solve their daily challenges and apply their learning instantly. They can also track and manage their wellbeing, to ensure they stay on course.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our groundbreaking approach and technology, email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a conversation about how we can help you and your organisation.