For the past fifteen years I’ve worked internal to organizations or as a consultant and during this time I’ve noticed interesting trends:
- A growing awareness of the relationship between organizational culture and business success
- A desire (or need) to shift from a traditional command and control style of management to a more influencing, engaging and collaborative style of leadership
- Compassion, trust and respect topping the list of values leaders need to embody and consistently express
I’ve also noticed a trend in top-level leaders seeing a need to develop key leadership habits in others and yet not seeing the same need to develop these habits within themselves. So, what leadership habits are required at all levels to ensure sustainable organizational success?
Based on my observations there are Four Conscious Leadership Habits essential to sustainable success:
1) Know who you are
Do you know ~ who you are at your core? Do you consistently create from a place of self-knowledge and awareness?
At the core of who you are is ~ love. Do you create from a place of love in your day-to-day activities? If not, why not? Does this notion of creating from a place of love challenge beliefs you hold around what it means to behave like and be a leader?
Imagine for a moment what the world would look and feel like if leaders consistently created from a place of love, compassion and understanding? How would our world and work environments be different? What might be possible? How might we rethink how we show up and the impact we have on others and our planet?
I see a common belief holding us back from the notion of creating from a place of love ~ a belief that asserts ~ if I am too kind and too loving ~ I will get walked on, taken advantaged of, and not seen as competent. Where did this belief come from? Is it fundamentally true? What impact does this belief have on our thoughts, feelings and behaviors ~ on how we view and treat others ~ on how authentically we show up?
Imagine for a moment leaders in your organization consistently creating from a place of essence ~ the core of who they are ~ no facades, pretense or bullying ~ what would the impact be?
2) Understand your purpose and engage the hearts and minds of others
Why do you do what you do? Why is what you do important? Individuals with clear and confident leader identities do not get mired in minutia of day-to-day activities. Their sense of purpose allows them to see the bigger picture of why they do what they do and why it’s important in the world.
Leaders who possess a sense of purpose need to also engage the hearts and minds of others; people want to feel part of something larger than themselves and be involved, heard, understood and respected. As leaders we need to create opportunities for individuals to experience a sense of purpose, mastery and autonomy in the work they do. Conscious leaders actively create healthy and vibrant work environments where individuals bring their natural talents, strengths and passions to life.
Imagine for a moment leaders in your organization having clear and confident leader identities, engaging the hearts and minds of others and unleashing people’s full potential at work ~ what would the impact be?
3) Listen deeply
When is the last time you engaged your stakeholders in meaningful conversation around their needs, concerns and ideas for improvement? When is the last time you implemented positive change in yourself and/or your organization because of feedback you received?
Our motivation to engage stakeholders in meaningful conversation, to listen deeply, feel empathy and act on people’s needs ~ speaks to the importance we place on input from others, continuous improvement and innovation. If we do not engage our stakeholders in meaningful and respectful conversation ~ how do we know we’re meeting their needs and creating products, services, offerings and environments aligned with their unique requirements? What happens when we lose touch with the needs of our key stakeholders? We become irrelevant.
When is the last time you solicited feedback and listened deeply to the needs of others? Do you know what your people and customers really want? Do you care? What would the impact be if you delivered on what your people and customers really want and need?
4) Consciously create culture
It is the role of a leader to consciously create an environment where individuals thrive. How do you do this? Be intentional around defining the beliefs, language, values and behaviors you wish to characterize your organizational culture ~ an organizational culture that attracts and retains the best, most creative people. Engage stakeholders and ask ~ what beliefs, vernacular, values and behaviors will have the greatest positive impact on our sustainable success as an organization ~ what do we need to thrive? Once you’ve landed on your desired organizational culture ~ ensure your conversations, systems, practices, policies and procedures support the culture you wish to create.
If you consciously created a healthy and vibrant organizational culture to support the sustainable growth of your business ~ what would the impact be? In your opinion ~ what leadership habits are required at all levels? What’s needed to ensure your organizations sustainable success?
Kristan Nielson is the owner and operator of PeopleLead.ca ~ she has provided 20,000+ hours of consulting, training and coaching services to small, medium and big business leaders. Kristan creates connection, asks the hard questions, challenges the status quo, inspires great leadership, and helps organizations and individuals thrive. Follow Kristan on Twitter and stay up-to-date on the future of work.