Conscious Leadership

with Diana Chapman

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Becoming conscious

Diana Chapman

Master Trainer, Conscious Leader, Co-founder, Author

Lessons Learned

Conscious leadership is the practice of being aware of what is happening in the current moment.

The more present you are the more available you are for disruption and innovative thinking.

Context matters. You can approach something with an attitude of scarcity or curiosity.


Lesson: Conscious Leadership with Diana Chapman

Step #1 Consciousness: Becoming conscious

What is conscious leadership? Conscious leadership is the practice of being aware of what's actually occurring in the moment. What's occurring in my mind, what's occurring emotionally, what's occurring sensationally inside of myself and also what's occurring over there in you and then what's occurring in the room. When I'm really present, I can pay attention to all those things. When I'm paying attention to all those things, my ability to innovate, to make decisions, to stay focused is much higher.

Conscious leadership really is the practice of being aware of what is occurring right now. It matters a lot for leaders whether they're conscious or not because to be unconscious means to be living from fear. To be living from fear means that we have to have some kind of a constriction going on within ourselves, and that constriction affects our thinking. It affects our feeling and it affects the way we literally physically move in our bodies. All of that impacts our ability to make wise decisions. It affects our ability to connect well with others. It affects our ability to stay relaxed in the moment, and learning occurs the most when we're relaxed.

To really innovate, especially these days where things are moving so fast, being able to innovate quickly really matters. The more present you are, the more available you are for disruption, for really interesting kinds of thinking that you couldn't access when you're staying in a familiar, more constricted place.

One of the things that we all know is that culture matters a lot. We're starting to see that more and more, especially as these Millennials are coming online because they really care about culture. Whether you're a startup or a longer-term company, making sure that you have a culture where people feel that they can thrive will allow you to attract and keep the best talent. It will also allow you to have more of that innovation coming through.

We would say, especially as we're moving into a world of more complexity, you can't afford not to learn how to be present anymore. It's now going to affect your bottom line in a lot of important ways. We would say conscious leadership is for the startup and for the long-term, for the small and the big.

Uber is a great example of a company that has a fantastic product that was building quickly, but because leadership was unconscious they shot themselves in the foot. Now what they're creating is drama which is the big payoff you get from being an unconscious leader or having an unconscious culture, is lots of drama. All of that creative energy that they could be using in innovating is now going to go into defending themselves against the lawsuits and all of these other things that are coming at them. They're a great example of "pay attention to what you're paying attention to."

One of the things we say is context matters. Content is the stuff we're talking about. That's our content. We would say all of life is just one gigantic conversation, whether it's in my own head or with somebody else or with a group. We're talking about content, and that's what mostly everybody is putting their attention on. What we would say is it's more important to pay attention to where we are and what context are we in as we have this conversation.

For example, if one of the things we're dealing with is financing a team, if we were talking about it from a place of scarcity and this is a problem and we're very upset, we're going to create one result, versus if we say, "Hey, there's a challenge here. Let's get open and curious. How can this be of service to us, what do we get to learn from it?" There's a different outcome we could create. What we would say is before you have the conversation, ask yourselves from what context are we going to have this conversation, because below the line, the experience will be you might resolve the issue part-time, a little bit, short-term, but you won't resolve the issue permanently. The issues don't resolve permanently below the line, so context matters a lot.

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