What makes an effective leader? As an executive, you’ve likely spent time mulling over that question. The most important thing to keep in mind is business leaders lead people; they do not lead tasks or results. Thus, it makes sense for people to be the primary focus of any leadership style or approach.
Focusing on serving others forms the foundation of a concept I deem to be most effective: conscious leadership. While financial performance is imperative to longevity for any company, this doesn’t form the basis of a conscious leader’s long-term strategy. We believe businesses achieve their highest potential when they’re helping others—and society as a whole—win as well.
Marching to the beat of your own drum
When stakeholders (e.g. investors, customers, employees, etc.) have a voice and are contributing to a deeper purpose, it creates an authentic environment—that differentiates a consciously led business from the corporate norm. Real buy-in at all levels incites an engaged workforce, less turnover, and increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Consistent growth and productivity doesn’t just happen; it’s a function of leadership. In a conscious organization, it requires bringing your whole self—and complete awareness—to build a foundation of trust and care. It means embracing authenticity and showing all stakeholders who you really are.
Define your purpose
How do executives and owners turn a people-first mindset into an effective leadership style? Start with identifying and communicating your business’ purpose. Ask:
● Why am I in this role?
● What is my vision for this company? What do we want to be known for in five, 10 years?
● What are our core values? How do I reinforce those values?
You may already have a clear mission and an established culture, but it’s a good exercise for reevaluating what is already at play.
Connect with and empower your lifeline
Creating an environment of trust and care takes work, especially if that kind of spirit hasn’t been actively fostered. It’s never too late to start anew—it all begins with leading by example:
● Be cognizant of actions and demeanor. Consider a daily awareness practice to slow down, reconnect, and reflect.
● Give staff the training and experience needed to master increasingly complex tasks. Developing this competency thread instills confidence to self-direct, and moves everyone closer to achieving the established vision.
● Take genuine interest in staff. Show employees you’re dedicated to investing in them and they’ll reciprocate by investing in your vision.
Consciously invest in winning over your customers
Conscious leaders walk in stakeholders’ shoes to understand how they can best deliver value beyond the products or services the business provides. While value varies from company to company, a few examples include:
● Offering free resources that inform or empower your audience.
● Partnering with other industry leaders to progress customer-focused movements or regulations.
● Collaborating with other companies—even competitors—when doing so better serves your customers’ needs.
Most of all remember, as a company leader, you create the climate for organizational success, and can cultivate awareness and intention from the ground up by thoughtfully engaging stakeholders.