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Conscious Leadership Skills Needed in the Modern Workplace

Today's workplace is constantly changing. Technology and the way we work are evolving faster than ever. As a result, businesses need leaders who can adapt to these changes and manage their teams in a way that meets the needs of today's workforce. This is where Conscious Leadership skills become essential.


Project Bright Spot was a study conducted during the pandemic by Natasha Wallace, founder of The Conscious Leadership Company, and a group of industry leaders who interviewed over 40 people to reveal what outstanding leadership looks like. The study was aimed at better understanding the leadership traits that make a positive difference to people. 


The research highlighted seven core leadership traits that lead people to achieve higher levels of performance and to stay more engaged. Let’s take a look.


They See You


An effective leader is someone who sees you. They see your potential, and they know what you are capable of achieving. They see your strengths and areas for development, and help you to improve. 


One of the most important things a leader can do is create a safe and inclusive space for all voices to be heard. This means listening with an open mind and being willing to change course if necessary. It also means being aware of one's own biases and privileges and understanding their influence on your own decision making. It’s only when you understand this, that you can really “see” others and who they are.  


In fact, 92% of those interviewed in Project Bright Spot reported that their leaders “saw” them. Their voices were heard, and they felt safe enough to be vulnerable. The result was that they were empowered, and they made more effort as a consequence. 


They Have Your Back


Having your back means trusting you. Conscious Leaders know they must stand up for their people and back their ideas, even when they are not popular. This doesn’t mean backing ill-considered ideas, it means acting as a champion for the well-considered ideas people have — and helping them to sculpt ideas that need a bit more thought and structure. 


Those interviewed in Project Bright Spot said their best leaders trusted them to perform at the highest level. The 78% who felt they had the trust of their leaders and that their opinions were actively sought. Curiosity is a vital leadership skill, encouraging teams to be more actively curious can only create a more proactive workplace and this needs to be led from the top. When leaders are curious and believe in the people they lead, that leads to employees feeling ‘backed’. 


They Are Present


Leaders must be aware of their surroundings and they must make conscious decisions. This means being able to listen and communicate effectively, staying in the moment, as well as being able to maintain a clear head under pressure.


Present leaders can also connect with their team on a deeper level, creating a sense of trust and mutual respect - because they pay attention. As the world becomes increasingly complex and distracted, the need for Conscious Leaders who are present will only become more apparent. Those who recognise the importance of being available to the team when they are needed and then being fully present when with the team, will achieve better results. 


They Are Not Afraid of Challenge


Conscious Leaders know that embracing challenges is an essential part of leadership. It is through challenges that we grow and develop our leadership skills. Without challenges, we would never have the opportunity to learn and expand our abilities. In fact, a key aspect of leadership is to solve the myriad challenges experienced within the team. Conscious Leaders realise that by facing challenges head-on (rather than underplaying them or sweeping them under the carpet), they set an example for others to follow. When we see someone in a leadership role who is not afraid to take on challenges, it inspires us to do the same.


Good leaders are also not afraid of their team challenging or questioning their views, knowing that they will not always have the best answers. 


They Stretch You


Although it’s not always comfortable, leaders must stretch the people in their teams — pushing them beyond their comfort levels so they can grow and develop. Conscious leaders take the time to get to know their team members, understanding their strengths and areas for development, and setting challenges and targets that stretch them.  


According to the leaders questioned in Project Bright Spot, 65% said great leaders push comfort zones. It means team members pushing themselves and removing limitations, discovering greater capability and resilience. 


This might mean asking them to step up and take on more responsibility or encouraging them to try something new. Either way, the goal is to help team members reach their full potential. Of course, not everyone will respond positively to this leadership style. But for those who are willing to embrace it, the rewards can be significant. 


They Trust You


Leadership is not a one size fits all quality. The best leaders are constantly growing and evolving their leadership skills. One essential leadership skill highlighted in Project Bright Spot was trust — good leaders trust their teams and create an environment of mutual respect.


This trust is the foundation that allows team members to feel safe to take risks, be vulnerable and share their ideas. When team members feel trusted, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in their work. As a result, the team will perform better. 


Trust is an essential element of Conscious Leadership. Conscious Leaders are aware of their impact on others and work to create a culture of inclusion. Leading without awareness has consequences. But by building trust within their team, they create an environment where everyone can be honest and where they feel valued and respected.


They Set Clear Direction


Providing clear direction that cuts through the noise of day-to-day work is also central to great leadership. Good leaders know where they want to take their team and can articulate that vision in a way everyone can understand. Conscious Leaders take things one step further.


Not only do they set clear direction, but they also create a shared purpose that everyone can buy into. This helps build team morale and ensures everyone is working towards the same goal. 


Ultimately, this type of leadership results in a more cohesive and effective team - who focus on the work that matters most and which makes the biggest difference.


The Workforce Has Changed


As the world changes, so must the leadership skills necessary for success. In the past, leaders were often those who commanded others and dictated what needed doing. However, this approach is no longer effective and leaders need to pay much more attention to how they lead and the impact of their own thinking and behaviour. 


Leaders must become enablers, empowering others to take charge and achieve results. This requires different skills and it also requires a deep understanding of self. Those who can master these skills will be well-positioned to lead in the 21st century.


What to do Next?


Are you struggling to get great performance out of your teams? Are your leaders burning out? You're not alone. In today's ever-changing, fast-paced world, it's more important than ever for leaders to be aware of their wellbeing and performance. Our Conscious Leader Psychometric can help you do just that.


This scientifically validated assessment gives insight into your own burnout, engagement, productivity, and performance levels. With this knowledge, you can make changes to improve your wellbeing and performance as a leader - and that of your team too.


The psychometric also provides tailored coaching recommendations to help you unleash your full potential. So why wait? Invest in your leadership team and take the first step to building a conscious leadership culture today.