Why are we talking about leadership and consciousness?
Why is that even important and how are those two connected?
Most importantly, this article is based on research and experience. It is not just an opinion. It is based on studies of psychologists, authors, and coaches. It is based on the experience of C-suite, leaders, and business owners from various industries.
The purpose of this study was to identify common mistakes, practices, and gaps in leadership, teamwork, and management. To enhance the importance of qualities and leadership attributes that have the biggest impact on high-performance and productivity.
Most of the work and research was done within industries such as financial planning, accounting firms, engineering, web development, and tech companies.
The classic mistake is assuming that if someone has a special expertise it necessarily means they also have the ability to lead. People are promoted to their level of incompetence. A person who is promoted because of their expertise (they are great with numbers or accounting or their technical skills) finds themselves at a new level, where many or most duties revolve around managing people – not technical skills.
This means that the working world is peppered with bad bosses.
I’m not saying all of them. There is a great number of leaders who don’t have any soft skills, social skills or even interest in being around people. I love what Maxwell said: “You must like people if you want to be a great ladder, you must honestly care”
A study shows that only 20% of leaders undertook a short leadership skill course before they fully integrated into their leadership role. The length of training varied from 2 days to 3 months. Honestly, how could you even think that you can gain major leadership skills in two days?
Another study shows from 50 organisations (within the accounting, mining and tech fields) that 60% of them had at least 2 workshops or team building activities a year for their teams. But, only 4% of them arranged leadership and emotional intelligence training for their C-suite and leaders.
It is not right to assume that all members of your C-suite, your management, and your leadership teams have natural leadership skills and they don’t need to learn. It is important to recognise that the most valuable attribute of a conscious and high-performance leader is hunger to learn and become a life-long learner. There is a danger when leaders decide they know enough and they don’t need further leadership education.
My mission is to raise a family of great conscious leaders. I will do everything to create a better work environment where all individual needs are met. Trust me, it is possible. COVID has shown us that a flexible roster can be easily implemented.
The world is moving forward, we are not going back to normal office hours and a normal world. Everything shifted and now, more than ever, we need great leadership to be able to implement the changes that are necessary. Changes in how we run businesses, implement innovations, and set up new processes and systems to be able to satisfy our customers’ needs. New systems to satisfy our employees, leaders and create an environment where they can learn, grow and thrive, where they can find their purpose and perform. Your systems are not going to bring you results, your people will.
I love to use this sentence while talking to clients: “People don’t leave their job, people leave people and bad leaders”. This sentence, or words inferring the same meaning, was used in leadership books from authors such as Jocko or Maxwell.
Today, I will mention a few of the most important attitudes that every conscious and high-performance leader should display and demonstrate on a daily basis. I will talk about bad practices or behaviours that cause high costs, low employee retention and low performance.
Let’s have a look at what is the most important competence of a conscious and high-performance leader.
First and foremost is Emotional Competence.
There is a lot of research done about emotional intelligence. Scientists from American Men and Women of Science found out that Emotional Intelligence abilities were four times more important than IQ in determining professional success and prestige even for these scientists.
From the studies of David C.McClelland, Testing for competence rather than Intelligence, has caused conversations and stirred debate even after a quarter of a century.
Spencer and Spencer, Competence at work, studied IQ in professional and highly complex technical fields. They identified that cognitive abilities alone are not the mark of top performers, since “in higher level technical, marketing, professional and managerial jobs, almost everyone has an IQ of 120 or above and an advanced degree from a good university. What distinguishes superior performers in these jobs is motivation, interpersonal skills and political skills.”
The term emotional competence has been used in this article because it was also used by various authors and researchers such as, David Goleman, Carol Saarni, R.A. Thomson, Peter Salovey, David J. Sluyter and more. I am not saying that technical and cognitive skills are not important, I believe it is a mix of both competencies. I am trying to point out our emotional competence and consciousnesses because they are easily overlooked and discounted.
Therefore I am not only focused on the company’s performance, using traditional indices of measurement. But I am able to focus on, measure, track improvement and evaluate the thinking and behavioural patterns of leaders and teams. These “new” measurements have been shown to have a tremendous influence on a company’s performance.
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Two most common traits of those who failed in C-suite positions and didn’t get the job done:
- Rigidity – They were unable to adapt their style to changes in the organisational culture, or unable to take in or respond to feedback about traits they needed to change or improve. They couldn’t listen or learn.
- Poor Relationships – being too harshly critical, insensitive, or demanding so that they alienate those they work with.
The opposite of rigidity is adaptability. “Leadership agility, the ability to work with different styles and with people at all levels of the organisation, from sales rep on the street to top management demands empathy and emotional self-management. You need agility in leadership and in learning… We found an absence of this type of agility is a top derailleur for people we seek to develop.” (Said Patrick O’Brien, formerly vice president of North American sales at Johnson Wax.)
There are sharp differences that emerged between successful managers and those who derailed on most major dimensions of emotional competence:
- Social skills
- Building bonds and leveraging diversity
To become a great leader with high consciousness you need to use frameworks for thinking and understand some rules about strategic thinking, critical thinking and decision making.
But what is the most important?
Before you start to lead others you need to be able to know yourself and lead yourself.
The CEO of Perot system said, “Everything I thought I knew about leadership was wrong. My first job as a leader was to create a new understanding of myself”
I have listed a few important stages, steps, and competencies you must show and demonstrate as a leader.
1.Self-Awareness – including Emotional Awareness & Accurate Self Assessment.
Self-awareness involves being aware of the preferred ways of thinking, thinking patterns, and various aspects of the self including traits, behaviours and feelings. This is the first step in my Leadership Excellence program. We assess thinking patterns and personal traits and compare which are important to achieve the desired results and what patterns can be improved to move forward even faster. We teach leaders to understand who they are and how they think. Emotional awareness – we teach leaders to to recognise how their emotions affect their performance; and the ability to use their values to guide decision making. And what is important here is the accurate self-assessment – a candid sense of our personal strengths and limits, a clear vision of where we need to improve, and the ability to learn from experience.
2. Self-Confidence – the courage that comes from certainty about capabilities, values, goals. Improves learning from experience, implement feedback patterns, self-regulation, new perspective of conscious learning and improvement.
3. Learning & Implementing Gaps – Thinking and Emotional Competence:
- ACTIVE LISTENING
4.Mastery of Self and Others – Values Elicitation. Values are a guide and are showing us what really matters. When people are not living aligned with their values they have a midlife crisis or they are not happy. To use a value-aligned self-leadership is to learn how to be in flow. Flow blossoms when our skills are fully engaged, for example, by a work project that stretches us in new and challenging ways. Flow is the ultimate motivator.
If you know yourself, you know how to be in this state. Flow is what you want in your organisation. That is the peak performance.
5.Build Credibility & Relationships. You can impress people from a distance, but you must get close to influence them. The most essential quality for leadership is not perfection but credibility. People must be able to trust you (Rick Warren). Connecting with people is having the ability to identify with and relate to people in such a way that increases your influence with them. On the other hand, the leader must be able to sacrifice relationships for the sake of the vision. This faze is focused on understanding relationships, vision, mission, standards and connection within people in the team or organisation.
6.Structure – Systems. Every leader should be able to recognise when change needs to be initiated and implemented and foresee what systems and innovations are coming with this change.
Wrapping up. The process of stages will be: starting with yourself, understanding emotional triggers, thoughts that caused the feelings and how they impact your decisions; focusing on relationships with others and help them to understand themselves the same way; implementing a structure and system to support this style of leadership and high-performance. Some systems are new education, emotional intelligence and leadership training for your leaders, managers and team members.
To support my thoughts, studies and research I would like to add some observations and results.
(Royal Dutch – Joe Jaworski)“If you want a creative explosion to take place, if you want the kind of performance that leads to truly exceptional results, you have to be willing to embark on a journey that leads to an alignment between an individual’s personal values and aspirations and the values and aspirations of the company”
The first step in improving one’s performance is to identify a need for improvement, a gap that is an absolutely difficult step.
(Daniel Goleman) The study of several hundred managers from twelve different companies shows that to be a high-performer is not about not having limits on one’s abilities but that they are aware of their limits and so they know where they need to improve, or they know to work with someone else who has a strength they lack.
Another example from American Express, financial planners, accountants, or advisors. The interaction between planner and client is delicate, dealing not only with hard questions about money, but also, when life insurance comes up, the even more sensitive issues of mortality. America Express realised they would have to help their financial advisors tune in to this sea of feelings and handle it effectively in order to better serve their clients. They were trained to be more emotionally self-aware and to have more empathy for their clients, they were better able to build long-term, trusting relationships. And those relationships translated into higher sales per customer.
60 highly successful entrepreneurs connected with companies ranging revenues from 4 million to 400 million dollars. 99% of them said they were using their feelings to confirm or disconfirm rational analysis or let their emotions guide them at the outset and subsequently looked for data or rationale that supported their gut hunch.
The classic term for this strengthening of our guiding sensibility is WISDOM. We must gain the capacity to sense messages from our internal store of emotional memory – our own reservoir of wisdom and judgment. This is a huge part of self-mastery and self-awareness.
Another result from individuals and firms, where we have implemented the principles of the Leadership Excellence Program and Quantum Leap program, are:
- 100% Identification of strengths and opportunities for growth.
- 100% Increased their sales or client base.
- 100% of individuals increased their performance (Subjective evaluation).
- 95% increased customer service and customer satisfaction. This resulted in a 20% increase in the rate of returning customers.
- 90% of firms implemented new systems and changed their workflow which resulted in increased productivity by 25%.