By Lauren Burton, Managing Partner
Since we are in the business of leadership development, we get asked a lot about what it really is all about. It won’t surprise you that the answer matters to us and we are so invested in this topic we’ve even developed our own leadership model which frames an understanding and a conversation around the type of leadership we feel is needed in the world.
At Lea_p we like to think we walk our talk. This makes us feel in our integrity as a company but more importantly that we practice what we preach and teach. One day we were having a company day out and a member of the team didn’t come because of a panic attack. This was an important day for bonding, self-development and it was a big investment of time and money. The leadership team were frustrated, we discussed the absence, the impact it had on the day, the whole team, and of course on the individual who wasn’t feeling well.
The following day it was my turn to have a conversation with the absentee and following our model made this much easier; I needed awareness and acceptance of my biases around mental health issues and to discuss theses with my peers before approaching the topic. I needed to separate the behaviour of the individual from who they are as a human being. I leaned into empathy and love but I also needed to be courageous enough to say the hard truth. This was such a difficult conversation for me because I was pissed off ‘our team bonding day didn’t happen’, that my understanding nature had been taken advantage of and at the same time, I was worried about a cherished member of the team.
1. Intention setting
My intention for this was first to listen, to really listen to what had happened and what they were going through. Secondly, to have the courage to speak frankly about the impact they had on the day for all of us.
2. Consciously choose who I am being and what I will do
This is a BIG step and it takes a lot of self-awareness not to just project our opinions on others and it helps us to create a really conscious intention.
BEING: I wanted to be empathetic otherwise I knew I would just overpower them.
DOING: I wanted to hold my tongue which took self-management and I then wanted to speak truthfully about what I needed from them in order to change their behaviour.
The impact I created was mainly of safety, for a deep discussion to happen that was honest from all parties and also of love and caring for this team member. I told them that they needed to deal with their mental health, I normalised this and told them we would support fully. I also, very firmly, made clear that this was getting in the way of their development and job and that changes needed to be made.
4. Reflection / Asking for feedback
Some months later I received feedback on that discussion and was told that it was one of the hardest conversations they had ever had and how they were dreading seeing me the next day. Through tears I was also told that the support they got from Lea_p had helped them get through their hardest year. Our team bonding had happened after all!
I can tell you that I cried when I was told this. Seeing someone’s potential, not fixing them yet, telling hard truths and believing in who they can be is hard. It’s emotional and it’s scary because you never know if you will push them too far. But what I have learnt from this is that if I am aware of myself and in R.E.A.L relationships with others and I follow my intuition, I am often closer to the mark than not and when I am not, I can recover and redesign.
I have since watched this person face their demons, stretch, grow, mature, blossom and become a support to those around them. A true inspiration and a conscious leader for sure!
To follow this application is simple but it is not easy. It can be used for isolated events with staff or loved ones, if can be used for a meeting, setting up your day or actual events such as launch parties or team days out.
Below are the stages to follow. Please apply them to anything you think needs conscious leadership in your world; a difficult conversation, an event, a meeting…
1. Set an intention of how you want to show up (make sure it is conscious)!
2. Make a conscious choice on that intention as it will inform how you’re being (energetically/ emotionally) and what you’re doing (behaviours)
3. Through these steps, you will create an intentional impact and sometimes you will also have an impact that is unintended. Be aware of both!
4. Reflect or ask for feedback on your impact to consciously decide if this is the one you want to keep on having.
5. Repeat: Day to day, hour by hour and minute by minute. Take time to be intentional about the impact you want to have as a leader.
Finally, we would love to hear from you when you have had an experience using our Conscious Leadership Model.
A conscious leader is deeply self-aware and dares to be vulnerable for the sake of authenticity and relationship, whilst firmly holds and drives a vision for common good.