What is a Conscious Leader? Part 1.

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By Daniella Mancuso

National Manager,  Strategic Alliances, MCI Solutions


Daniella Mancuso


The key trait of conscious leaders is that they recognise developing self-concept is critical to personal and professional success. Let me share why:

The flaming hoop for business right now is how to engage a diverse workforce and overcome the great generational challenge of how to manage millennials to baby boomers. How do we engage them to unite as one to achieve a common vision?

21st century leadership is conscious leadership. The age of managing by force or will is long gone and organisations need to embrace that change is the only constant.Successful leaders need to be agents of change, pioneering change as the acceptable norm to their teams. ‘Agile’ and ‘nimble’ are more than just buzz words in this age of innovation and new technologies emerge quicker than we can implement them so a strategic approach is crucial to deciding when and how quick to act.


Conscious leaders recognise the key to the success of their teams lies in their ability to engage and inspire their people to perform at their best.

They share the following traits:


1. Conscious leaders are self-aware. They take responsibility for their own development and recognise that EQ is more important than IQ in business. They take steps to ensure they develop the emotional intelligence of themselves and their teams.

2. Conscious leaders communicate a crystal clear vision to ensure everyone is on the same page. They know that to achieve clarity they need to send more than just an obligatory email or have a values statement adorning the walls. They engage their people by facilitating relevant focus groups and workshops, valuing inclusivity and contribution to the process. Change is then embraced in a positive way. Where there is clarity, focus follows.

3. Conscious leaders are authentic. They are congruent in their actions and allow themselves to be vulnerable. They lead by example and always act with integrity- both personally and professionally. When personal and business values are in alignment, intrinsic motivation fires up and excites people to work toward a united outcome.

4. Conscious leaders engender trust. They do this first by trusting themselves and their people- empowering them by delegating responsibility and holding people accountable.  When individual ownership is encouraged, a culture of mutual trust develops quickly. Mutual respect is earned and appreciated.

5. Conscious leaders have 110% belief in themselves, their organisation, peers, product and customers. They believe there is greatness in everyone and make it their mission to discover and unleash this in their people. Conscious leaders are excellent coaches and they hold the space for others to borrow that belief while building their own. The unwavering, authentic belief they have in their vision and strategy infectiously inspires their people to believe also.

6. Self-belief is a competency that business has a responsibility to nurture. Productivity, sales and revenue soars when teams and individuals back themselves to be the best.

7. Attitude is everything. This is more than an old adage- you can develop skills, talents and competencies, however, inspiring transformational change in humans at a core level is a complex task. This highlights why recruitment strategies need to focus more on employing new team members based on attitude, alignment to values and cultural fit – rather than core competencies alone.

8. Conscious leaders ignite action. They realise true innovation can only be fostered when organisations embrace making mistakes. They drop the relentless pursuit of perfection and encourage creativity. Ideas are welcomed and workshopped, and an environment of questioning and inquiry results in improved business processes and systems. Where people are welcomed and encouraged to learn by their mistakes as opposed to being stuck in an environment of fear, organisations will leap past their competition who are too afraid to move forward. A culture of fear and perfectionism leads to procrastination and stifling of ideas that could be a game changer for their business.

9. Conscious leaders acknowledge and appreciate their teams. They celebrate success, no matter how small. Each small achievement builds on another, increasing confidence, inspiring competition and developing a winning culture. Gratitude is a virtue that is often overlooked in business and the power of a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ is greatly underestimated.

10. Conscious leaders recognise that they have an obligation to develop their people holistically – both on a personal and professional level. The impact this has on professional development is significant, as any training is then absorbed at the core level rather than the 20% retention rate that most training programs deliver. Conscious leaders make sure they have the right people in the right jobs and play to their strengths- providing opportunities for further development to achieve excellence. Time is not wasted on developing purported ‘weaknesses’. They celebrate and encourage people to use their natural talents and gifts and their people love what they do. When employees love what they do they are working in flow. When in flow, people maximise productivity and smash their results.

11. Conscious leaders help individuals develop their self-worth and inspire them to achieve balanced moments in their lives. Let’s face it- the concept of work life balance is over. Emerging technologies, apps, emails, information overload- leaving most employees feeling overwhelmed. Conscious leaders allow their people to take a break and recharge their batteries, they encourage their people to create a self-care tool kit to ensure people perform at their peak. Many businesses are now offering unlimited annual leave as they acknowledge the value of rest and rejuvenation. They trust their people and are confident they have the capacity to manage this policy effectively.

12. Conscious leaders are aware that regardless of their efforts, they are unlikely to retain staff forever. They ensure the longest tenure possible by nurturing their people and developing capability by offering training and development to support great contribution to their teams today and offer a solid career pathway for tomorrow.


Leadership mastery expert Blair Singer states ‘you will never exceed your self- concept’. This statement applies equally to your organisation.  Remember, your company is an entity that is the sum of its people. Accordingly, the collective self-concept of your people will ultimately determine the success of your business.

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