Given the absolutely wicked problems of today, worldwide competition and conflict, technology that defies any kind of control, markets that require great flexibility and resources, I’ve been struck by the need for a different kind of leadership. These problems can only be solved by the collaborative effort of leaders with great strength of character and more awareness than most and followers who can trust those leaders.
This type of leadership is extraordinary leadership. I refer to it as consciously aware leadership. The consciously aware leader has the capacity to recognize what is happening internally in his or her own body and brain and the external environment at the same time. This is the essential capacity for flexibility, empathy and successful collaboration in difficult circumstances.
Warren Bennis, the famous leadership student, teacher and writer in his famous quote says that “becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult”. Becoming yourself is to become consciously aware.
The practices that help to become consciously aware are meditation and mindfulness and being awake in the present moment to emotions and all aspects of one’s body to be able to have behavior as a choice and not a default. Another is being deliberate about holding both vision and reality simultaneously. None of this is easy even when it is so necessary.