Photo Credit: Jacob Wackerhausen

Conscious leadership redefines the way power is wielded to create influence and impact. 

What’s your relationship with power? What about power’s essential nature? Have you felt the over-emphasized masculine, ego-centricity, zero-sum equations, and coercive energy within your experiences? Can you also sense a gradual shift creating space for a new kind of leadership paradigm?

The evolution of leadership has been well-studied identify traits associated with higher-performance and success. In general, studies suggest we’ve transitioned through the very masculine principles of command-and-control, which dominated up through the 1980s, to the more shared responsibility of empower-and-track (1990’s to mid 2000s), to today’s most collaborative and caring period marked by its emphasis on feminine traits and connect-and-nurture.

We’re now evolving to the conscious leadership model. This paradigm has been gaining momentum in recent years, especially as cynicism about power increases, and the deepest effects of power imbalances are felt in real-time, including social inequalities and injustice, deceptions and lack of accountability and the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots.

Conscious Leadership Instead

In a world steeped in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), the tenets of conscious leadership provide a foundation and guardrails for the power wielded in across society to be our most connected, collaborative and creative style yet.

Conscious leaders strive to embody deeper peace, well-being, and purpose within themselves, their companies, and the wider world by incorporating values often associated with spiritual principles into their leadership approach. These tenets include self-mastery elements such as self-awareness, authenticity, mindfulness, and purpose focus, along with skills like team-building and inclusivity, transparent and non-violent communication, and resilience and adaptability.

What does this mean for the Black senior leader?

For Black leaders, demonstrating conscious leadership is an intricate endeavor that further expands traditional leadership skills to incorporate social justice, coalition building and empowerment, and cultural humility.

  • Social Justice behaviors include valuing cultural identity and authenticity, and proactivelydrawing strength from Black heritage, experiences, and unique perspectives for the value they bring to our organizations, communities and society as a whole. Further, advocating for fairness, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all individuals, especially marginalized groups within society, is also a focus.
  • Coalition Building and Empowerment behaviors include recognizing the power of collective action and collaboration to drive meaningful change and advance shared goals of equity and justice. Black conscious leaders should actively seek to uplift and support aspiring leaders of color, providing guidance, mentorship, sponsorship and advocacy that create pathways for advancement and representation within all levels of leadership roles. They should also be adept at navigating complex and pervasive systems of oppression and discrimination, advocating and collaborating for systemic change.Specific to empowerment is the vital area of self-care. By caring for their own well-being and mental health, Black conscious leaders role model the importance of self-care practices and support networks, such as executive coaches and spiritual counselors, to maintain their effectiveness and resilience as conscious
  • Cultural Humility is demonstrated by striving to understand and respect diverse perspectives and experiences to foster inclusive environments where everyone feels valued and respected. This demands that leaders cultivate their ability to advocate for and manage intersectional approaches to leadership, that honor the complexities of individual identities while fostering belonging and empowerment for all.

Whatever the leadership context, our global collective wins when conscious leadership becomes an embedded competency that redefines the way power is wielded to create influence and impact. I invite and encourage Black leaders to brave the headwinds once more to be instrumental in this happening. By doing so, Black conscious leaders will play a vital role in up-leveling social consciousness and gaining momentum toward a world that works for everyone.




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