Are you particularly conscious of your leadership or is it an unconscious contradiction?
Does this question intrigue you? Or offend you? Are you defensive, or worse, don’t care? If any of the latter, you are probably not even conscious of the contradiction and yet, this contradiction is at the root of egregiously flawed leadership.
Unconscious leadership is pervasive, to the point that we are currently at risk of leaving civilization in the hands of such “leaders” wielding unparalleled authority in a self-absorbed state. For example, most of today’s leaders are unconscious when it comes to thinking that an economy built on grossly lopsided income distribution is a sustainable economy and, similarly, an organization built on gross inequality is sustainable.
I recently observed this unconscious contradiction in a smaller setting. I attended a gathering of proponents of “conscious capitalism,” which was a forum where I expected to see consciousness on full display. And yet, some keynote speakers, so-called leaders (certainly not all), demonstrated the contradiction inherent in defective leadership. They “talked the talk” while blatantly unconscious of their own hyperinflation, oblivious to the fundamental principle that leadership is not about “fame and fortune.” Such egoism is the antithesis of consciousness. Fortunately, other speakers were innately conscious and non-egoic in their roles in the program.
The unconsciousness contradiction can show up in behavior and action that is the antithesis of leadership:
- Do you promote open thinking while suppressing constructive impertinence?
- Do you praise meritocracy while rewarding autocracy?
- Do you preach collaboration while subjugating employees and squeezing suppliers?
- Do you want innovation while demanding follow-my-rules?
- Do you expect equality while fostering inequality?
This is the majority. However, some people actually are deeply conscious of the unconscious contradictions in “leadership” and they are among the few with the potential to be champions of civilization – to be highly conscious, brilliant leaders.
The questions every leader must ask: “What am I doing to elevate my leadership to a high level of consciousness, transforming organizational culture so that all stakeholders collaborate in creating something remarkably human, natural, coherent, inclusive, creative, prosperous and mutually rewarding?” And, “How can we do this better?”
What do you want to be remembered for?