Last year I added “conscious leadership” to my Google Alerts. Since I have been writing and talking on this subject for twenty-five or thirty years, many of the references on this subject were mine. My motive was to find places where my writings might show up without my direct knowledge.
In the past few months I have been receiving numerous Alerts from Google informing me of other writers, organizations and even a book or two using this phrase.
I would love to think that this rise in popularity means people are awakening and that leadership will start catching up with the global problems we need to solve. Our ability to lead has not kept pace with our ability to create incredibly complex problems such that our mindsets are outmoded for the challenges we have before us, creating one of the greatest crises we have ever faced as a species. Is the growing popularity of this phrase a sign that transformation is near? Or is it merely a passing fad that has caught people’s attention for now but may soon vanish into the shadows like pet rocks, disco and the Macarena.
In my latest book, The Great Growing Up, I discuss conscious leadership along with our need to consciously evolve and purposely move into mature and responsible adulthood as a species. On page 179, I quote His holiness the Dalai Lama: “As people see their predicament clearly – that our fates are inextricably tied together, that life is a mutually interdependent web of relations – then universal responsibility becomes the only sane choice for thinking people.”
Earlier in the book I define what I mean by conscious leadership:
“Since the 1990s I’ve been writing articles on what I’m calling “conscious leadership” – a term I use to describe consciousness in action, taking responsibility for what needs to happen in the moment. In brief, the conscious leader doesn’t wait for someone to come along who’s been authorized to lead, or someone who has been given a title that designates them as a leader. The conscious leader steps up when there’s a need for someone to take full responsibility.
“I mention this here because we are at a place in our evolution when we all have the capability to see things others cannot. Therefore, we all have a perspective that can be quite unique and thereby essential for wisdom amongst the community. This requires each of us to be willing to take responsibility, to speak out, and stand tall for things we see that need fixing or things that call to be done.
“Since consciousness includes mature wisdom with a holistic perspective, anarchy is less likely with everyone taking their role when they see something, then becoming a follower if the situation calls for it. Back and forth, leader to follower and vice versa, with the interest of the whole always in mind.”
Let us hope this is the kind of leadership we are headed for and that interest in this subject evokes greater awareness, maturity and responsibility for each other and our world. Let us hope that as “thinking people” we can make those “sane choices” the Dalai Lama refers to.