Key Characteristics of Conscious Leaders


In Teresa Shaffer's last post on Conscious Leadership: Why Do We Need It? she described why we need more conscious leadership in our world today. Now she wants to take a look at some key characteristics of conscious leaders.  They are some of the greatest leaders in history. Eleanor Roosevelt. Mahatma Gandhi. Mother Teresa. Abraham Lincoln.

What are some of the characteristics they shared?

All were leaders who fulfilled a purpose and vision that served the greatest good by empowering and elevating others to a higher plane.

In the book Conscious Capitalism, authors John Mackey and Raj Sisodia note that conscious leaders have high analytical, emotional, spiritual and systems intelligence. They also have an orientation toward servant leadership, high integrity and a great capacity for love and care.

Whether specifically termed “conscious leadership” or not, it’s a concept that can be found throughout research into leadership and business. For example, in his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins demonstrates through research how companies went from good to great – these companies, he found, had what he called “Level 5 leaders.” These leaders had a paradoxical blend of deep humility and intense professional will. They sought success not for the sake of their own ego, but rather so the team and organization could flourish.

As a coach, I have observed conscious leaders in action and the impact they have on their organizations. Based on my experience with coaching and leading, as well as insights gained from studying leadership research and great leaders, I have come to recognize that conscious leaders tend to share certain characteristics.

Conscious Leaders:

  • Are self-aware and introspective. They know who they area and they have a wisdom that is a deeper intelligence, an inner authority.
  • Serve from a higher purpose and inspire a vision. They transcend ego for the greater good of the organization and humanity.
  • Have a genuine curiosity to understand others and create a deeper connection.
  • Create cultures where others can flourish, feel empowered, and realize their potential.
  • Lead with an emphasis on what the “Whole” needs – employees, customers, stakeholders, and the organization. Connecting with the Whole and aligning purposes creates win-win-wins, sustained results, and better futures.
  • Are confident, compassionate, courageous, and can make tough decisions while taking full responsibility for their decisions.
  • Practice humility and authentic power. This is power from within rather than a focus on external power based on the trappings of titles and prestige.
  • Live life from a place of integrity and wholeness. They are grounded in values, family, community and work.

You and I know people who have some of these characteristics. To lead in such a way requires courage, faith and the conscious decision to boldly go where perhaps you have never gone before. Often we are trained to lead a different way. However, conscious leadership isn’t esoteric or available to a select few. We all have the potential to lead this way. We can think big and take practical steps to boldly step into our highest potential as leaders. The world needs more enlightened leaders who can change the world for the better, today and beyond.

To continue reading on this subject, go to Simple Practices to Become a Great Leader.