To uncover the essential qualities of a conscious business leader, we reached out to CEOs, founders, and other top executives for their insights. From valuing and respecting diversity to revealing visionary thinking, discover the 16 key qualities these leaders believe are crucial for conscious leadership in today’s business world.
- Value and Respect Diversity
- Cultivate Self-Awareness
- Manage Change Effectively
- Consider Broader Implications
- Embrace Strong Presence
- Embody Empathy
- Live Organizational Values
- Prioritize Employee Retention
- Adopt Integrity
- Practice Active Listening
- Take Responsibility and Give Credit
- Empower and Evaluate Your Team
- Trust in Others’ Expertise
- Show Vulnerability as a Leader
- Foster a Supportive Work Environment
- Reveal Visionary Thinking
Value and Respect Diversity
Being a conscious business leader means understanding the power of diversity. Respect differences in opinion, perspective, and background. Acknowledge that diverse viewpoints can bring valuable insight into any situation or decision. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone’s views– it just means you’re open to listening and considering their point of view. By respecting diversity, you create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds. This kind of culture encourages collaboration and creativity, which will help your team be more productive and successful. And when people feel appreciated for who they are, they will be much more likely to contribute their best work! It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
One of the key qualities of a conscious business leader is self-awareness. Being self-aware involves having a deep understanding of one’s values, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, and the impact one has on others and the environment. A conscious leader is aware of their own emotions, biases, and limitations, and how these factors influence their decision-making and interactions with others. Self-awareness allows a leader to engage in introspection, continuously learn and grow, and make conscious choices aligned with ethical and sustainable practices. It enables them to empathize with and understand the needs and perspectives of those around them. By cultivating self-awareness, a conscious leader fosters an environment of trust, transparency, and authenticity within the organization. It sets the foundation for conscious decision-making, purpose-driven leadership, and the ability to create a positive impact.
Manage Change Effectively
Changes are inevitable in different stages of life and business as well. Being a conscious business leader, you have to manage change effectively. Accept that change is constant and learn to adapt to it quickly so that you teach about the same to your team. It makes you a strong leader who doesn’t break by challenges. It will show your team members that you are flexible and can handle any situation effectively. Your team then feels more motivated and focused on the task at hand. Be open to new ideas and ready to embrace ideas from the team members. If one thing doesn’t work, move to another one and keep trying. In the process of adapting to change, many times you fail, but don’t let yourself be demotivated as it can decrease the morale of the team. Embracing change shows that you are committed to continuous growth and not afraid of what you have not experienced yet. You are always ready to make things better for the growth of the business.
Consider Broader Implications
A conscious business leader possesses a unique ability to not only think in terms of economic sustainability but also consider the social and ecological implications of their decisions. An example would be corporate philanthropy, whereby a company invests resources into projects or initiatives with the purpose of creating social good rather than increases in profit—demonstrating a commitment to making an impact beyond the bottom line. This can set them apart from other companies and help attract consumers that appreciate this kind of approach.
Embrace Strong Presence
A conscious business leader must have a strong sense of presence. Presence encompasses emotional intelligence and the adeptness to master one’s emotions, skillfully tackling challenges and capitalizing on opportunities in a manner that instills personal pride. A mindful leader practices emotional agility, possessing the ability to maintain a state of expansive emotions such as self-confidence, courage, trust, joy, and inner peace. They actively strive to minimize emotional triggers and refrain from impulsive outbursts. Cultivating presence makes it easier for any leader to ascend to higher levels of success and fulfillment.
As a conscious business leader, I believe that one of the key qualities is empathy. Empathy allows me to understand and relate to the experiences, needs, and emotions of my team members, customers, and stakeholders. By putting myself in their shoes, I can make decisions that consider their well-being and build strong relationships based on trust and understanding. Empathy also enables me to create a supportive and inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and heard. It helps me foster collaboration, resolve conflicts effectively, and inspire my team to reach their full potential. Overall, practicing empathy as a conscious business leader leads to a more compassionate, ethical, and sustainable approach to leadership and organizational success.
Live Organizational Values
Living the values of the organization is one of the best qualities of a conscious business leader. A mindful leader actively tries to understand and live in accordance with the values of their business. This inspires others to follow their example and then be inspired to walk their own path along those values too. In the end, everyone grows alongside the company.
Prioritize Employee Retention
Employee retention should be as much a priority as customer retention if you want to be a conscious business leader. If we want to engage customers, we need to engage our employees the same way. We want them, and need them, to believe in the brand. We’re a company that encourages people to enjoy the magic of nature. We make sure that our team members do the same. We’re a talented and seasoned team, but we’re also committed to each other’s work-life balance and happiness. Fostering that kind of culture is what a conscious business leader needs to do.
I grew up watching my father grow a successful import business built on integrity, naturally, I had to adopt that quality as an entrepreneur. Integrity is an essential trait for conscious business leaders. Leaders with integrity demonstrate consistent actions, uphold moral principles, and prioritize transparency. They base decisions on long-term impact, placing the greater good above personal gain (serving their clients). By embodying integrity, they cultivate an ethical culture, establish a solid reputation, and foster everlasting success.
Practice Active Listening
In the realm of conscious business leadership, the ability to listen holds the crown. This isn’t about simply holding your tongue until it’s your turn to retort, but engaging in active listening. It’s about absorbing, understanding, and integrating what’s being said into your decision-making process. Taking a page from my time in the military, the axiom “two brains think better” always rings true. Unfortunately, many individuals, leaders included, often miss the crux of conversations because they’re preoccupied with crafting the “perfect” response. So how does one hone their listening prowess? Start by embracing the power of collective thought—appreciate the richness that multiple viewpoints bring to the table. Next, take notes. This method assists with memory recall and enhances your understanding of the conversation. Lastly, remember to cloak yourself in humility. Always give the other person the benefit of the doubt, even if you’re at odds with their viewpoint.
Take Responsibility and Give Credit
A mantra I’ve lived by for a long time as a business founder and CEO is that any successes are to be put firmly onto my team and any failures are, ultimately, my responsibility. The role of a good leader is to be the proverbial buck-stopping point, so the ability to deal out praise to your team when your team performs well and to shield them from any flak when things go poorly is important for being a good leader in my opinion.
Empower and Evaluate Your Team
A conscious business leader evaluates the talent around them to foster success for the entire team. They empower their team to remain flexible yet productive while working remotely and in the office. Additionally, conscious business leaders are masters at evaluating each team member’s skill sets, quirks, and personalities to use them accordingly to adapt to changes in the workplace, and put them in positions to best succeed.
Trust in Others’ Expertise
A conscious business leader knows that they can’t do everything alone and trusts in those around them to contribute. They view their teammates as allies and not as adversaries. Because conscious business leaders are able to let go of their own egos, they can place trust in others who may have different expertise. Together, they can bring business to the next level.
Show Vulnerability as a Leader
Showing vulnerability as a leader will establish respect in the workplace. It speaks volumes about their self-awareness and their ability to connect and be seen by their team members. For example, apologizing when they’re wrong is something that is difficult to do, but is needed during uncertain outcomes. As a result, employees will have respect for their leader and develop trust as they work through conflicts.
Foster a Supportive Work Environment
This involves creating and encouraging a supportive workplace. Leaders should be supportive and urge their employees who have been at the company for some time to be warm and welcoming to newer employees. This way, the new employees will sense an overall positive work environment, rather than just one or a few people who are nice to them.
Reveal Visionary Thinking
Visionary thinking means being able to picture a great future for your company that matches its values and goals. A leader with this quality can see beyond today’s problems and opportunities to make plans for lasting success. Such a leader doesn’t just have big dreams. They also get their team excited about these dreams and work hard to achieve them. They understand how their company can make a difference in their industry, community, and even the whole world. In a conscious business, visionary thinking means thinking about the future, not just in terms of making money, but also how the business can be good for people and the environment. This means creating a future plan that cares about people and our planet, which leads to a more caring and inclusive way of doing business.