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Conscious leadership

IQ alone makes for poor 21st century leaders

Whilst we have long prized Analytical Intelligence or IQ, research by developmental psychologists Kegan and Gardner has paved the way for a much richer understanding of human capability.

An addition to IQ, we have the relatively well-known but less well-articulated EQ, or Emotional Intelligence. Alongside EQ are the further Systems Intelligence (appreciating how systems come together and interact) and Spiritual Intelligence (as in the grandscale resurfacing of purpose at work, notably through Sinek, Diamandis and the SU, and many more). Whereas IQ is less fluid over time, all the other types of intelligences can be developed and enhanced throughout life.

Leaders who have high analytical, emotional, spiritual and systems intelligence are described by Mackey and Sisodia as conscious leaders. And the conscious business that they run, as evidenced in “Conscious Capitalism”, continually outstrip the performance of their non-conscious peers, by very large margins. These leaders have high integrity and an orientation towards servant leadership. As it turns out, we can only pioneer at pace in a complex world with a deeply human creative alignment, and that requires many types of intelligences. IQ alone poorly equips any leader for leading through 21st complexity.

Armed with multiple types of intelligences, conscious leaders view themselves as trustees of the business, seeking to nurture and safeguard it for future generations. They tend to be aware of their own deep motivations and convictions. They don’t try to be someone they are not. Because these leaders don’t look like many leaders we have been exposed to (or are), I’ve taken the liberty of writing a personal blueprint for a conscious leader, based on the excellent work of Raj Sisodia and John Mackey.

As a conscious leader:

  • I accept the fact that traditional analytical intelligence (IQ) alone is a poor tool to lead in a complex world.
  • I appreciate how Emotional Intelligence, Systems Intelligence and Spiritual Intelligence are fluid and can be developed over time. I deem these worthy of my investment.
  • Knowing myself is important to me. This awareness is the foundation for what I do. It matters because if I do not know this, I cannot align my work with the work of the organisation. I lose the ‘why’.
  • I speak truth to power, and actively value the courage to do so in others.
  • I recognize and work for many stakeholders, because I want all stakeholders to thrive and because I recognise this is good business sense and makes for sustainable success.
  • I consider the impact we have – good and bad – on the people and the environments that we touch through our work.
  • I think about what this business could offer future generations, and I work to nurture it for them. In this way I see my role more as a trustee of business, rather than extractor of profits over a shorter-term.

 
The quality of our leaders affects the quality of our lives, our communities and our environments. Bringing a richer understanding of human capability into our leadership lexicons can only assist with thriving in the 21st Century. 

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