How to Lead Consciously

People who lead consciously knowhow to use their thoughts,  emotions, and actions to influence others and promote positive change. Most people try to get others to change. Instead, when leading consciously, you use the power you have to intentionally choose actions that can make a profound difference in your interactions with others – both personally and professionally.

These six skill sets are described in detail in the book, Reframing Change. The earlier name of the model was Conscious Change.

Testing Assumptions

  • Is that person mad at you or just pre-occupied?
  • How do you know?

If you think you know for sure, then you could be right, or it could be that your assumption is based on a mental model – or framework – for how people should behave in different situations. Unfortunately, mental models often become ruts. Fortunately, you can move out of them by learning to test your assumptions. A key skill is seeking to understand others’ perspectives rather than assuming they are the same as your own.

Clearing Emotions

  • What if you are so angry or upset that you can’t think straight?

There are a set of practices for clearing your negative emotions rather than suppressing them or inappropriately dumping them on others. Getting your emotional attachments out of the way makes it easier to see how you may also be contributing to problematic situations.

Building Effective Relationships

  • What might you do if you sense your relationship with someone is slowly going kaput?

There are four building blocks of effective relationships: powerful listening; inquiry; openness; and giving, receiving, and seeking feedback. Focusing on others’ strengths and adopting a learning orientation are critical elements in developing and maintaining positive and productive relationships.

Bridging Differences

  • How might you talk or interact with someone who is culturally different without feeling as though you must walk on eggshells?

Everyone notices, but no one wants to talk about status and power hierarchies (what we call dominance dynamics) in workplaces and communities. Skills can be developed to more effectively deal with relationship dynamics under asymmetrical conditions.

Conscious Use of Self

  • What do you do if your manager orders you to do something you think is just not right?

Practicing the skill of conscious use of self will help you maintain your integrity and use your power responsibly without losing your job or your good standing.

Initiating Workplace Change

  • What can one person do if there are many obstacles to change?
  • What can you do?

Organizational change can be effectively launched, even if you have no formal authority to initiate it. When people act with integrity and learn to develop positive workplace relationships, a ripple effect can engender similar changes in an organization as a whole.

Developing skills in all of these areas leads to what we call Leading Consciously, change that involves intentional choices that go far beyond just trying to get the other person to change. We all have the power to consciously choose actions that will make a profound difference in our professional and personal lives and for our organizations and communities.

Have you:

If you have a story to tell about application of the concepts and skills, go to Share Your Story and tell us about it. We’d love to share it with others.

If you’d like to order a copy of Reframing Change, click here.

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