A stash of business cards, a bag filled with pens, pads, sponsorship swag, a long day of speeches, workshops and new ideas that begin to fade away after the closing cocktail party.
Does this sound familiar?
Attending business conferences has its benefits but information overload is not one of them.
This past week, I decided to do things differently. I left my notebook at home and went to the Global Summit of Conscious Leadership, fully prepared to listen, with the aim of mentally retaining a few key insights that could support my own leadership journey.
Conscious leadership is…
“A new leadership paradigm that balances the global common good with our personal interests. A leadership guided by vision and powered by values that targets the wellbeing of all stakeholders as well as the success of the organization. A leadership inspired to co-create a promising future for the next generations.”
Stephane Leblanc, Founder of the Global Institute for Conscious Leadership
Listening & conscious leadership
Interestingly, a recurring theme in all the presentations that resonated with me was the importance of transparent communication, which starts with purposeful listening. Conscious leaders listen and make their people feel listened to.
Among the line-up of speakers was Éric Martel, CEO of Hydro-Québec, who described how his organization optimised employee engagement and corporate performance as a result of conscious leadership.
I understood from his presentation that transparent communication is at the heart of Mr. Martel’s conscious leadership style.
He explained the importance of speaking with employees and clients, making them feel listened to, and asking the right questions, so that he could deeply understand the root causes of the employee engagement and client satisfaction scores. He and his leadership team then committed to be accessible, walking on the floors, seeing employees in action, thus demonstrating their determination to make things better. Leaders, he pointed out, must use the information they gather to decide on the best ways of supporting their people and provide them with the right tools to enable optimal performance.
Transparent communication starts with purposeful listening that gives conscious leaders critical information, changes their way of being and doing.
When listening, ask yourself three questions
- What do I need to know?
- What do I need to be?
- What do I need to do?
The need to know motivates conscious leaders to ask hard questions and accept difficult conclusions. Knowing involves deeply understanding the root causes of both good and sub-optimal performance. Knowing also leads to decision-making regarding the organizational behaviour and strategic orientations that are required to achieve optimal performance in a work environment in which people can thrive and rise to their full potential.
To achieve organizational change and optimised performance, conscious leaders need to be authentic and sincere about the change they want to see. Being present, supportive, empathetic and clear, without compromising on the vision and values of the organization are some of the ways in which conscious leaders can be authentic and inspire their people to be their best.
Then comes the doing. Doing is the combination of knowing the issues that must be addressed and leading change with courage and authenticity. Another speaker, Bob Anderson, Founder of the Leadership Circle, said that we are perfectly designed for the performance we are getting. The best designed plans fail because of the mis-alignment of intentions and actions. Ensuring that business plans are matched with the challenges to be overcome requires conscious leadership that, as Stephane LeBlanc explained, is guided by vision, powered by values and targets the well-being of all stakeholders. In this way, we create thriving organizations and a promising future for the next generations.