A lot has been said about Conscious Leadership, but does it make economic sense to implement it? What does the Leadership Paradigm for the New Economy in a conscious society look like?
Dr Jan Bellerman, an international key note speaker, trainer and coach for conscious leadership and the first key note speaker at a live stream event hosted by Brand South Africa, shared thought-provoking insights.
The world’s GDP has increased by a factor of 30, with South Africa’s GDP increasing by a factor of 20 over the past fifty years. Unfortunately, many resources have been used to create this wealth. If we continue in the current trajectory, South Africa would need two planets to sustain its current wealth creation. We are using more resources than what our planet can renew.
Wealth creation has also had an impact on humanity and wildlife; Four million people globally die every year due to air pollution, 9 million due to hunger, 264 million people suffer from depression and almost 1million have died due to suicide. Looking at nature, 80% of our natural forests are gone, 90% of our large mammals and 95% of large fish are extinct.
We obviously have the capacity to create wealth, but not in a balanced and ethical way.
In light of the changing global context: violence, global consumerism, global health issues and global warming, it is evident that conscious leadership needs to become even more significant.
What does it mean being a conscious leader? It means to be aware and mindful of oneself, of others and the world around us, to understand our circumstances and to decide how to respond to them in ways that honour our values, belief and feelings.
Being a conscious leader would also include knowing that you may have to change your traditional ideas, how women are treated and the perceptions around women in executive decisions. We often think consciously or subconsciously that a CEO should be a man, not a woman, that the men are the thinkers, not the women.
In business and society, we must start conversations and determine who is in the loop and who is not, and what is important to our companies maintains Professor Lulama Makhubela, an advocate for women empowerment and transformation.
Conscious and ethical leadership is not something that can be achieved independently, rather it requires a collective effort. The panel discussion centred around why it is our collective duty to create and encourage responsible and accountable leadership.
Facilitating the discussion was Katie Mohamed, joining the panel was Viviana van Agtmaal (CRO of SYZ Group), Veronica King (Communication specialist, Master facilitator, Global executive coach and Social justice advocate), Zunaid Mohidin (Business Transformation Strategist), Graeme Codrington - South African author, futurist and strategy consultant and Marlin Kotiah (GS Director - Danone).
The panel shared these astute observations with the audience: Leaders need to know who they are, and when they live by their values, they allow other people to be true to themselves. Conscious leaders know and live their purpose, it is not just about making money. Leaders must understand that their influence has an impact on everything. They need to be intentional for what actions they are looking for to make a change. Leadership is a verb, it is what you do when people are not looking.
The panel also touched on “Conscious capitalism” – that it is being conscious about every purchase you make. You are either condoning or not condoning what the company stands for who made the product you have bought. Investors and especially millennials want to know where the money is being invested and if the company is ethical.
This is supported by recent Forbes research that showed that businesses that support conscious leadership and operate ethically do better financially, then those that are not.
Johanna Mukoki, business woman and social entrepreneur shared with the audience how she puts conscious leadership into practice. She has a team of 800 employees across the country, most of which have been with her for many years.
They are all included in profit sharing of the company and receive regular training. Johanna has instilled in her team the company’s core values, some of these being transparency and honesty. She says she these cannot be compromised on.Her servant leadership style she believes enables her team to really deliver as they are encouraged to share their ideas.
Leaders are under huge pressure to prepare for the future, conscious leadership provides you with the tools to ensure it can be a better future. It drives fear out the minds of employees who feel their needs are not being met. When people can share their ideas and speak up, they begin to innovate and thrive. When this happens, business thrives.