A Glimpse at The Face of 22nd Century Leadership

 

Conscious Leadership for 22nd Century Organizations

Conscious leadership (CL) is a leadership theory that focuses on increased self-awareness of the leader as a means of creating a conscious business (CB), defined as a business that operates with three primary goals: operating with a higher purpose than profitability; sincere concern for all stakeholders; creating an organizational culture founded on trust, honesty, social responsibility (Legault, 2012).

Unlike transactional and transformational leadership, CL is scientifically-based on the premise of the operation of the prefrontal cortex part of the brain, which regulates emotions as part of the decision-making process and behavior. CL is thought to be more practical than other leadership theories that are based purely on behavior and profit-making strategies. According to Standard and Poors, CBs operated by conscious leaders have outperformed traditional organizations in the marketplace by a 9-to-1 margin over a ten-year study period (Pillay and Sisodia, 2011).

Organizations are thought to be the most influential bodies in modern society because organizations achievement goals and solve problems. Therefore, if society expects to transform our world into a better place, it seems reasonable that transformation must begin within the four walls of our organizations. This fact places a significant onus of those who desire to lead organizations, to commit to their own personal growth (Legault, 2012).

Conscious leaders, are leaders who effective lead others with an expanded view that is required to effectively maneuver organizations in the complex and constantly changing global society in which we now live. This type of expanded view requires what is called both horizontal and vertical growth of the leader, which occurs through increased and deep self-awareness as opposed to self-focus. Horizontal growth is accomplished through the more common life experiences, e.g., education, training, and experiential learning. Vertical growth is a much more uncommon type of growth, in that it transforms one’s perspective in terms of how one thinks, feels, and behaves. Vertical growth moves the leader from ego-centric to a broader perspective that understands the connection between organizations and societal needs (Legault, 2012).

If we compare transactional leadership theory where intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are used to achieve desired performance, although rewards and/or punishments may be effective for a season, rewards and/or punishments do not create transformation within the worker, e.g., developing a better work ethic, or commitment to organizational goals. Workers are inspired by rewards, and not necessarily by the corporate vision (Hughes, Ginnett, and Curphy, 2012). Although conscious leaders may also use rewards and punishments, their vertical growth which encompasses morality and a spiritual core, will use rewards in a way that does not merely improve performance, but in a way that is consistent with the conscious culture, thus benefiting the entire organization and society in the process.

In the case of transformational leadership, a leadership theory based on changing a flawed status quo by appealing to the values of followers, transformational leaders are often charismatic leaders who are adept at casting vision and building trust by raising the level or standard of human behavior. This trust, however, is based on their ability to deliver and to walk-the-lofty-talk, somewhat of a heroic image. In our very complex and public society, living up to the heroic image is virtually impossible. It is obvious that no one person has all the answers to the complex issues of our day (Hughes et al, 2012).

The shortcomings of our more traditional leadership theories accentuate the need and value of conscious leadership theory, which removes the focus of leadership from the imperfect leader to the higher purpose of the organization, the welfare of all stakeholders, and the development of a conscious culture. It is this conscious culture led by conscious leaders that is most capable of transforming society by embracing the whole leader and follower (Legault, 2013).

There are 15 commitments that characterize the conscious leader who operates from a different perspective than the defensive survival mode. Although normal, the latter is problematic in that when we sense a threat in our environment, our brain automatically goes into survival mode, which takes us into a defensive mode where we are more obsessed with being right, an ego-centric activity, as opposed to a more healthy perspective where we approach the situation with the intent of learning from it (Dethmer et al, 2014).

The Role of Self-Awareness, Self-Concept, and Emotional Intelligence

Self-awareness is thought to be the starting point for the conscious leader. The greater the leader’s knowledge about himself or herself, the more adept will that leader be at shifting, and placing himself in a position to learn. The greater the leader’s consciousness, the more adept the leader becomes at leading and operating from a conscious level, which increases effectiveness. Self-awareness increases the level of self-control the leader has within his environment, which in turn increases the leader’s ability to learn and succeed (Dethmer, et al., 2014).

Consciousness is awareness. The more clarity one has about their own self, the more confident they will be about their decisions and behavior. If a person does not like something about their own self, they must first become aware of what it is they dislike before they are able to change it. How one thinks about one-self will affect their ability to lead. The 15 commitments to conscious leadership help the leader increase awareness of the self for the benefit of contributing to the wellbeing of society (Kreitner, 2013).

Emotions are stimulated and emanate from one’s connection with their environment, and in this way influence one’s behavior and choices. By increasing one’s awareness and recognition of which emotions are in play in a given situation, i.e., awareness, the conscious leader has greater knowledge at his or her disposal to choose the most appropriate behavior that is aligned not only with personal values, but also with the values of the conscious culture and higher purpose of the organization. This, of course, works directly to increase the success of the organization (Kreitner, 2013).

 

 

References

Dethmer, J., Chapman, D., & Klemp, K. W. (2014). The 15 Commitments of Conscious       Leadership a new paradigm for sustaining success. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Patron/Downloads/CLG-15%20Commitments%20(2).pdf

Hughes, R., Ginnett, R. and Curphy, G. (2012). Leadership enhancing the lessons of      experience seventh edition. McGraw-Hill Irwin: New York, NY.

Kreitner, R. (2013). Organizational behavior tenth edition. McGraw-Hill Irwin: New York,    NY

Legault, M. (2012). Conscious capitalism: leaders and organizations with a world view.

Retrieved from http://integralleadershipreview.com/6686-conscious-capitalism-              leaders-and-organizations-with-a-world-view/

Pillay, S. S., and Sisodia, R. (2011). A case for conscious capitalism: conscious leadership

through the lens of brain science. Retrieved from

https://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/a-case-for-conscious-capitalism-conscious-  leadership-through-the-lens-of-brain-science/

 

How Leaders Develop

The Headshot (2)How Leaders Develop

Experience alone does not add to or take away from the development process of a leader. What that leader does with the experience determines how he benefits and develops from it. Experiential learning theorists believe the most effective way to grow from experience is to use the Action-Observation-Reflection (A-O-R) Model.  Growth from the A-O-R Model only occurs when one observes their actions and reflects on the consequences of those actions (Hughes, Ginnett, Curphy, 2012, p.47).

Feedback

Another way leaders develop from experience is through feedback. Obtaining constructive feedback is not necessarily an easy task. According to Hughes et al., (2012) the leader must convince others that they can safely approach without fear of retaliation, and that you genuinely want their input. When choosing an appropriate method for getting feedback, you might consider the size of the group, the level of trust within the group, and the relationship between the manager and subordinates.

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Managing Opposition To Change

Meat Eaters

business_boxer_400_clr_9457Managing Opposition to Change

We all know what it feels like to have a great idea that we know will absolutely make the organization better; and then comes the opposition. When opposition shows up, we brace ourselves for the battle that we knew would come. There is a different perspective and approach to opposition that can make you a more effective leader, in addition to helping you accomplish your goals. As Daft and Marcic (2011) explain, this approach begins by understanding the four major reasons that people resist change in the first place (Daft, Marcic, 2011):

 

  • They believe the change is a threat to their own self-interest;
  • A lack of understanding and/or trust;
  • Fear created by uncertainty; and
  • Different goals.

When we understand why people are resisting, we know how to meet that resistance. If the people believe the change will cause them a loss of power, authority, money, or whatever, they will resist. You must then show them how the change will benefit them. If they must give up something, show them what they will get in exchange.

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Jesus Christ, The Greatest Transformational Leader Of All Times

woman_looking_on_top_books_150_clr_17498Transformational Leadership
Your Key To Success In The 21st Century

Transformational leadership is a leadership perspective that changes organizations and its people for the better. It is based on the premise of higher values, qualities, and core beliefs, and is just the opposite of transactional leadership, which is based on mutual exchange between parties.

Transformational leaders begin with a dream or a grand vision of what can be, which is always better than what is. It is vision-driven leadership that is effectively communicated through sermons, speeches, slogans, and symbols. The effectiveness of the communication is what motivates people because it always envisions elevated standards. The value of these lofty standards provides the incentive for people to endure whatever pain is associated with the grand vision.

The leader not only communicates the vision, but he models it for others. In other words, he walks the talk. The closer he lives to the standards and values of the vision, the greater is his credibility. His credibility then becomes the source of commitment from others. True buy-in is generated as he persistently demonstrates honesty and integrity, and allows others to help shape and participate in the overall vision (McShane, Von Glinow, 2005).

Jesus Christ, was no doubt the Greatest Transformational Leader of all times. He came and announced his vision, which was the arrival and coming of a new kingdom that was unlike the old one. In the new Kingdom values were as different as they were better. Leaders were servants and not lords, the poor were blessed and not cursed, and it operated from a platform of love and obedience to the Father and to your fellow man.

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What is the Learning Organization?

The Headshot (2)Because of the Internet and advanced technologies, the way we do business — whether profit or nonprofit — has forever changed.   Instead of existing in a stable environment and applying standardized solutions to problems and challenges, change itself has now become the norm.  It is fast and unique.  Solutions must be equally fast and unique.   No longer can an organization wait for a memo to go upline to be reviewed by a hierarchical manager to solve most problems.   The client will be gone by the time the answer is returned.  This means most organizations will have to incur some type of restructuring for a faster response time.

Customers and followers expect answers to be efficient, innovative, and swift.  Survival and prosperity means staying relevant in a constantly changing environment.  To do this, everyone in the organization must become a skilled problem solver.  Becoming a problem solver means having the ability to use one’s creativity in problem-solving, while learning in the process.  In learning organizations, great emphasis is placed on how you learn and less about data.  It’s about being able to use what you’ve learned to assist your organization in accomplishing its mission and goals.  And in this new Knowledge Era, “learning” is called the new labor, and it must be organization-wide learning to be effective.

Characteristics of 21st Century Learning Leaders

The Headshot (2)Theorists agree that having a strong stable culture is a component to organizational effectiveness and lasting performance.  It stabilizes the organization by providing a sense of purpose and predictability for those who participate in the organization.  Stabilization can, however, become a liability in a world of constant and rapid change, such as in this 21st Century information Age.  The solution to this contradictory relationship lies in the creation of a stable learning-oriented culture, that is both adaptive and flexible, and where leaders themselves are perpetual learners, who learn themselves and train others to respond to their rapidly changing environments on a situational basis (Schein, 2010).

The Learning Culture

This learning culture would adopt the assumption of proactive problem solving and learners.  Everyone in the organization would be a problem solver and learner that the leader could call upon.  And because of the rapidity and complexity of environmental changes needing to be addressed in a face-paced environment, such as new regulations or technologies, the focus of organizational commitment would be on learning and individualized problem solving (Schein, 2010).

The underlying cultural assumption for the learning culture would be that learning, and mastering the learning process are skills worthy of pursuit.  Three focal points of learning would be:  learning about changes in the external environment, learning about successfully managing internal relationships, and learning how well the organization has adapted to changes in the external environment.  The master key to learning, however, would be requested feedback, and seeking and asking for help.  Another key to the learning culture is innovation, finding new ways of doing things, with a high value placed on reflection and experimentation.  Even failure would be seen as an opportunity to learn (Schein, 2010).

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Principles of Action Research

Principles of Action Research

mad_scientist_with_clipboard_anim_150_clr_15665Solving organizational and social problems through action research is a collaborative effort that results in greater clarity of the issue being researched; specifically, what is actually occurring and how the event is affecting stakeholders.  Understanding the issue being researched from the perspective of key stakeholders is fundamental to the development and implementation of plans.  This collaborative effort to clearly define the issue is a qualitative exercise that relies on effective communication to elicit accurate information which forms the basis for action plans.  The quality of the communication is guided by four principles: the quality of stakeholder relationships; four fundamental conditions for effective communication; and a healthy degree of participation and inclusion (Stringer, 2007).

Relationships in Action Research

The quality of relationships is an important factor in successful action research.  For stakeholders and researchers to work harmoniously, there must be a climate that recognizes the value in individual diversity, while simultaneously moving away from interactions that emphasize power, status, and manipulation which tend to invoke conflict (Stringer, 2007).   Initiatives from two research projects aimed at providing insights into sustaining and maximizing the impact of community-based public health interventions, Haggis, Gould, Winters, Gutteridge, and McKay (2013) speak of mobilizing what they refer to as community partnerships made up of potential users and researchers working to identify issues, and initiating research and action.  It is through these partnerships that they were able to avoid what Haggis et al. calls the pitfall of superficial levels of engagement that occur when experts enter a community and make decisions without consulting the citizenry (Haggis et al., 2013).

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Community-Based Action Research

What is Community-Based Action Research?

world_population_africa_europe_magnify_400_clr_7653Stringer (2007) describes Community-Based Action Research (CBAR) as one model of Action Research (AR) that subscribes to a more democratic, empowering, and humanizing approach to inquiry as compared to its predecessor, AR.  CBAR embraces the assumption that the participation of stakeholders – those who are affected by the identified problem under study – should be active participants in the inquiry process.  For any solution to be fully successful, it is imperative that stakeholders themselves understand the nature of their problem, and that their understandings become inclusive in the active plans to resolve the problem (Stringer, 2007).  Since AR is foundational to CBAR, we begin by defining AR primarily as it differs from the more traditional scientific research.  We then follow with an explanation of how CBAR is an extension of AR, followed by a discourse of the advantages and disadvantages of CBAR.

Distinguishing Action Research (AR) from Traditional Research

Traditional scientific research is portrayed by Stringer as an inanimate fact-finding expedition that generates generalized hypotheses that may or may not be a correct basis for taking action.  In stark contrast, AR is a focused systematic approach to inquiry that is used as a means to produce localized solutions for specific problems encountered by individuals participating in any type of organized social setting.  The popularity of AR has increased today because of the excessive complexities and conflicts that have invaded the lives of employees and other organizational constituents.  The reality of modern complexity is its adverse effect upon the functional ability of organizational members, and in this way, impacting the effectiveness of the overall organization in achieving its goals.  It is in this vein that AR is used to systematically approach inquiry with the goal of formulating effective and permanent solutions (Stringer, 2007).

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Understanding the Relationship Between Human Resource Management (HRM) and Human Resource Development (HRD)

hr_group_400_clr_4251

Understanding the Relationship Between Human Resource Management and Human Resource Development

Human resource management (HRM) is the umbrella under which all other human resource activities are found.  Some of the major activities under the umbrella are:  benefits and compensation, health safety and security, human resource planning, staffing, equal employment opportunity, and human resource development (HRD) (Werner, DeSimone, 2012).  Byars and Rue (2011) define HRM as, “Activities designed to provide for and coordinate the human resources of an organization” (Byars, Rue, 2011, p.3).

The Goals of HRM

The ultimate goal of HRM is to ensure that all human resource elements are being provided and are functioning effectively.  Whether the management function is accomplished in a centralized department, or decentralized throughout the organization, it is a responsibility that is shared by human resource specialists and line managers (Werner, DeSimone, 2012).  It is strategic in nature in that its policies and practices must be strategically aligned with the strategic goals and objectives of the organization.  Inasmuch as the management of human capital impacts employee performance and organizational effectiveness, HRM is directly related to the profitability of the organization.  What this means is that human resource managers must be well-rounded business-minded people who understand the complexities of the business world.  They must be active participants in the overall strategic planning of their organization, and have the interpersonal skills to develop healthy and cooperative working relationships with line managers (Byars, Rue, 2012).

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How to Design a Continuing Education Program

stick_figure_podium_speech_group_anim_150_clr_9408Baukal (2009) defines Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as, “The systematic maintenance and improvement of knowledge, skills and competence, and the enhancement of learning, undertaken by an individual throughout his or her working life (Baukal, 2009, p.225).  Unlike university or college credit courses, CPD courses are typically shorter in duration, less theoretical, targeted to more practical competencies and applications, and designed for rapid learning transfer (Baukal, 2009).  One method for accomplishing CPD is through the award of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for the successful completion of Continuing Education (CE).  CE is of particular importance to professionals working in the field of engineering for primarily three reasons.  First, an engineer’s knowledge can quickly become obsolete because of rapid changes in technology.  Second, new technology is now being developed around the world, and engineers must have access to all new developments.  Third, engineering technology often requires some degree of hands-on training to understand and use complex technology (Baukal, 2009).

The Role of the Human Resources Department

In many organizations, the human resources department (HRD) is responsible for developing policies and procedures that promote effective CE programs (Werner, Demimonde, 2012).  Vorster (2011) identifies two prerequisites for effective CE, specifically for engineers.  He believes that designers must be aware of how engineers in particular learn, e.g., learning style, and how to best promote learning that impacts their performance by developing self-motivated learners.  By way of example, Vorster suggests that most engineering students are visual, inductive, active, and global learners who learn by applying pictures and graphs, inferring principles from facts, coupled with the ah-ha moment.  In contrast, most engineering education is auditory, abstract, deductive, and passive.  This mismatch, according to Vorster, creates a less effective learning process (Vorster, 2011).

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