Friday, April 6, 2007

Qualities of the Conscious Leader

Economic development leaders must be conscious leaders. What is conscious leadership? According to Farr Associates, a executive and organization development firm based in High Point, NC, conscious leaders possess three key qualities:

Quality 1: You must have the skill to gain insight into the follower's mind, concerning his situation, and how they perceive you. In particular, you must know what they perceive as negative. Since sensible followers are reluctant to say negative things to anyone who has power over their work lives, mapping out negative perceptions takes a good deal of leader skill. A leader can break down any reluctance to give feedback by supporting the efforts of followers to work in a way that satisfies both themselves and their company. A good leader knows and consistently uses some of the many techniques for learning follower's needs and assessing how they experience their environment. Leaders need to create and manage a system of feedback loops that keep them in permanent touch with follower mindset, so they lead professionally with maximum impact.
Quality 2: To be a powerful leader, you must present your "leaderself" to others, rather than your "naturalself." Good leaders do not always do what comes as a natural expression of their personalities. Instead, they come from a leaderself that is designed and created to do exactly the leadership behavior called for by the situation. They fit the leader role rather than make the role fit them. It is amazing how often poor leadership occurs because leaders do what comes naturally from their personalities rather than what is needed to be effective.
Quality 3: To create an effective “leaderself”, you must operate from self-awareness rather than from an automatic mind. For many leaders, this is unbelievably difficult, because they are unaware of much of what they do and of the perceptions they create in others. They act on automatic pilot, focusing attention on what they want as an end outcome in the business, with little or no thought on how they want the follower to feel, see and change their behavior. They lead with too much focus on what they want done, rather than from an awareness of followers' mindset. Often, the personality traits that make for effective managers can make them terrible leaders, especially once their role expands beyond leadership, based on their personal charisma and implementation skills.


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