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Are you a Conscious Leader?

I recently read an wonderful book, "The 15 Commitments to Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success" by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman and Kaley Warner Klemp, it gave me great insights on how consciousness apply to leadership in business. The book points out that today’s leadership models can achieve certain desired ends quite effectively, but are unsustainable on three critical levels: Personal level, Organizational level, and Planetary level.

Personal level

Many astounding leaders who enter midlife with broken marriages, fractured families, hardened hearts, and dreamless futures. They can boast many quarters of beating earnings estimates and they have the money to show for it, but they’re struggling to find purpose, satisfaction, happiness, and balance.

Organizational level

Burned-out, stressed-out, and frazzled leaders foster organizations that experience high turnover, low employee engagement, steep healthcare costs, and dysfunctional teams that often work against one another. The current models of leadership require organizations to motivate their people largely with fear and extrinsic rewards. Though no one argues that these forms of motivation can produce short-term results, they are usually accompanied by distrust and cynicism in the workplace, which have long-term negative consequences.

Planetary level

Most current models are built on beliefs of scarcity and win/lose competition - a deeply rooted, flawed mindset found in most cultures and leaders. The “not enough resources” belief and the “I/we are not enough” belief create a zero-sum game, generating winners and losers, haves and have-nots. Because we are afraid there isn’t enough for all of us, we harm the planet and each other, an unworkable approach that won’t sustain future generations. Conscious Leadership presents a radically new and meaningful paradigm that enhances and enriches everyone who embraces it. The models like Conscious Leadership are those of present and future pioneers, who will take themselves, their organizations and the global community to new heights of success.

The book describes unconscious leaders as reactive. They react from a "story" about the past or an imagined future, and their personality, ego, or mind takes over. They are not free to lead from creative impulse, nor are they tuned in to what the moment is requiring of them. Many top leaders have tremendous drive, passion, and energy, which sometimes go hand in hand with what the workplace calls “anger issues.” They literally can’t see what is happening. They live out this familiar pattern again and again.The same holds true for leaders in the grip of unconscious fear. When fear is occurring in them, they can’t see it, feel it, experience it, or release it.

Unlike unconscious leaders who do not see, hear, or feel authentically and accurately, conscious leaders experience what is here now and respond in the moment. They are not trapped in old patterns. They are free to lead and serve others, their organization, the world, and themselves.

Conscious leaders are rare. Most people live life largely unconsciously in the habitual trance of their personality, their regret and anger about the past and their hope, fear and greed about the future.

The book suggests four states of consciousness leaders operate in: To Me, By Me, Through Me and As Me. (This model is based on an original model by Michael Beckwith, founder of Agepe International Spiritual Center on life visioning)

Once leaders develop self-awareness and locate themselves accurately, they create the possibility for shifting into higher states of leadership consciousness.

The book states in their experience, most of leaders are well served by focusing on the shift from To Me to By Me, and the book is about moving from To Me to By Me states and lists The 15 commitments that help the leaders to make this shift.

Central to both the To Me and By Me states of leadership is “me”, it means that my thoughts in these states are about how everything relates to me. In the Through Me state of leadership, the “me” starts to open to another. Scientists conclude that the “other” is the energy of the quantum field. Some leaders experience this entity as love or the universe or presence or God. The key to Through Me is that leaders begin to notice something beyond themselves.

Just as responsibility is the gateway to move from To Me to By Me, surrender, or letting go, is the gateway to move from By Me to Through Me.

The fourth state of leadership is As Me. As Me leaders realize the oneness and there is no separation. Once a leader discovers the truth of what is-oneness-and who they are, their consciousness shifts dramatically.

I was reflecting on my own level of consciousness. I feel what I have been striving towards through my spiritual journey is the fourth state of As Me, knowing of who I really am, my spiritual nature and finding my inner wisdom as in the third state of Through Me. I also see the benefit of seeing the existence of To Me and By Me states clearly and know how to shift from By Me to To Me, as most leaders operate from these two states and even for leaders with higher consciousness levels, still could fall back to lower levels of consciousness from time to time.

Former CEO of Linkedin Jeff Weiner gave an interview talk on ‘The Art of Conscious Leadership’ at Wisdom 2.0 2013. In the interview, he was asked why he decided to write a public post on Linkedin titled managing compassionately. It is inspiring to see that more leaders in the business world have great self-awareness and use compassion and innate wisdom as guidance in their leaderships.

As more leaders move towards higher states of consciousness, we will see more harmony and productivity in business world, that will help creating more value and prosperity to build a better and sustainable world.


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