Last week, we introduced “Conscious Capitalism” as an idea, an organization and a movement, which is based on four basic principles:  Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture. In keeping with our focus on high impact leadership, in this week’s Power Idea, Strategic Partner Diane Janovsky will look more closely at the topic of “Conscious Leadership”.
Defining excellence in leadership is the subject of innumerable theories, books and ongoing debates, and the concept of “Conscious Leadership” is a new entry into this discussion.  As one of four basic tenets of Conscious Capitalism identified in the book by the same name, authors John Mackey and Raj Sisodia describe Conscious Leadership as “fully human leadership” that integrates Western efficiency with Eastern wisdom.  Conscious Leaders are high impact visionaries who drive positive change and transformation, while also achieving superior financial performance and long-term value creation.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all profile, to better understand what characterizes Conscious Leaders, let’s explore what the book has to say about the following two questions:

1)      What do Conscious Leaders do?

  • They inspire others to make the world a better place because they themselves are so passionate and committed to that end.
  • They weave a sense of higher purpose into the very fabric of their organizations and they reinforce it through storytelling and engaging people’s emotions.
  • They recognize that all people have value and unique talents to contribute, and they provide opportunities for personal learning and growth.
  • They rely on the higher purpose and core values of the organization to guide them as they make difficult moral choices (where there is no clear right or wrong option) that result in the greatest value for all stakeholders.
2)      What qualities does a Conscious Leader possess?

According to Mackey and Sisodia, in addition to high analytical intelligence as measured by “IQ” tests, Conscious Leaders also have high levels of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) and Systems Iintelligence (SYQ).

  • Emotional Intelligence is comprised of intrapersonal and interpersonal capabilities such as self-awareness and empathy for others.  High levels of EQ have increasingly been shown to strongly correlate with leadership success.
  • Spiritual Intelligence, as defined in the book Spiritual Capital: Wealth We Can Live By, is how “we access our deepest meanings, values, purposes and higher motivations”.  Also described as moral intelligence, SQenables leaders to align people with a higher purpose and also to more quickly sense when they are getting off track.
  • Systems Intelligence refers to systems thinking.  It allows us to see the bigger picture and understand the linkages and interactions of various elements of a system or organization.  Leaders with high SYQ apply root cause solutions to problems, and often anticipate and prevent issues in the first place.
In addition to the four types of intelligence, Conscious Leaders also demonstrate servant leadership, high integrity and a capacity for love and care.  The topic of love may seem out of place in a discussion about business leadership. However, the authors contend that love is the opposite of fear, and fear restricts or even eliminates creativity and innovation, which are the life blood of a company.  So why not lead with love?

Research shows that much of what is required to be a successful leader can be learned.  With that in mind, next week’s Power Idea will explore how leaders can grow personally and professionally to develop their capabilities as Conscious Leaders.  In the meantime, feel free to contact us at with your questions or comments.  And remember, we are always happy to set up a complimentary, one-hour consultation to assist with your leadership development or other performance improvement needs.