The Conscious Lifestyle: The Soul of Leadership

Deepak Chopra MD (official) December 27, 2012

In almost every situation someone is called upon to lead. Taking up the call involves a conscious choice, and yet for many leaders, even those who are very experienced, not much consciousness is applied. If you ask a roomful of CEOs how they got where they are today -I've done this dozens of times when teaching a course on leadership for business people - the top answer is always "I was lucky." Looking back, CEOs and other top executives mainly recognize that they wound up in the right place at the right time. There are courses in leadership everywhere, and most of them, so far as I can tell, use case studies. The performance of successful leaders is analyzed, with comparisons to less successful leaders. These courses no doubt produce a set of skills, but the tendency is for these skills to be technical and managerial - human skills are far harder to teach and pass on. Yet they are the key to persuading other people to follow you.

do this with your soul. The soul’s power comes from selfawareness. although we must go beyond practical psychology. love) is lifechanging. responding with vision and deep purpose. Skills can be developed in consciousness. Do this with your heart. which is responsive to feedback but independent of the good or bad opinion of others. since the response that a great leader inspires (loyalty. We'll focus on seven skills that fit a conscious leader. This isn't a mystical area.I've taken a different tack. as it is practiced consciously. bully. inner and outer. A leader must be action-oriented. Empowerment isn’t . L = Look and listen. emulation. A successful leader isn't a psychological manipulator. Finally. E = Empowerment. A = Awareness. respect. power grabber. Success. Leading from the soul means going beyond melodrama and crisis mode. getting rid of emotional toxicity to understand the specific needs of your followers. Do this with your senses. brings a better life. It has to be. being an unbiased observer who has not judged anything in advance. arguing that leadership is all about consciousness. organized into the acronyms LEADERS. to both the leader and the group he leads. D = Doing. which will be discussed one by one in the next seven posts. obeying your truest feelings. This means being aware of the following questions that underlie every challenge: Who am I? What do I want? What does the situation demand? A leader must ask these questions of himself and inspire his team to ask for themselves. Such responses are not evoked by well-trained managers. or public relations hack. E = Emotional bonding. In whatever he does he must serve as a role model. This requires persistence but also the ability to view any situation with flexibility and humor. held responsible for the promises he has made. Below is a thumbnail sketch of these skills.

S = Synchronicity. walking the talk. R = Responsibility. It raises the status of leader and follower together. and living up to your inner values. synchronicity is the ultimate ability to connect any need with an answer from the soul. taking mature risks rather than reckless ones. Seen from the level of the soul. having integrity.selfish. Synchronicity is the ability to create good luck and find invisible support that carries a leader beyond predicted outcomes to a higher plane. This is a mysterious ingredient from the unconscious that all great leaders harness. a leader’s greatest responsibility is to lead the group on the path of higher consciousness. This means showing initiative. In spiritual terms. .

laying down plans. Leaders had a monopoly on giving orders.were the followers. In the past. Followers have needs that . But leadership has shifted dramatically. when leaders were more authoritarian. 2013 In the first post of this series on leadership. To some extent this imbalance is built into the system. In this post we'll discuss L = Look and Listen. and making all the crucial decisions. because leaders and followers create each other. the people who were expected to listen . I divided the topic into seven headings using the acronym L-E-A-D-E-R-S.and obey .The Conscious Lifestyle: A Leader Must Look and Listen Deepak Chopra MD (official) January 02.

When you are a conscious leader. The situation can be a crisis or a routine project. It emerges from the situation at hand. but no vision is created in a vacuum. since only by looking and listening can he keep with an ever-shifting situation. but you also look and listen inside. Four steps are involved: Impartial observation – Look and listen with your senses Analysis – Look and listen with your mind Feeling – Look and listen with your heart Incubation – Look and listen with your soul . you look and listen to the situation around you.leaders fulfill. The leader is someone who can assess the situation by looking and listening at the deepest level possible. The greatest leaders are visionaries. "Look and listen" comes first in the list of skills needed by a successful leader. a management problem or a financial emergency – anything that requires a leader to offer guidance.

Tall and clear- .” The second person looks much calmer. He got very little sleep the night before. in fact. He believes in their idea.As a potential leader. The office belongs to a venture capitalist who has agreed to give them half an hour to present a proposal for a start-up company. you must develop your awareness on all four levels long before you win your right to lead. He tries to make casual conversation but realizes that he’s babbling. because he spent hours perfecting every word of his speech. He’s quite confident. Who among the three will emerge as the leader of the group. He keeps thinking one thing: “Now or never. Success or failure depends upon this meeting. It’s do or die. seated on a couch in an outer office. he’s certain their new business will succeed once they find a backer. partners in a start-up company. the one with the best chance of persuading the venture capitalist? The first person feels so nervous his palms are sweaty. so he grows quiet. Imagine three people. their whole future might ride on it. He closes his eyes. repeating one last time the speech he is going to make.

An everyday situation. Of these three people. you are likely to be the leader in any situation. The third person is scanning the room with open curiosity. she’ll know what kind of personality she’s dealing with. because you have set the groundwork even before . She can envision herself in the scenario. which is tense and closed off. The third person goes a step farther. Whatever happens. she begins to build a scenario. but they don’t look stressed. One-on-one has always been his best mode of persuasion. He assesses people and situations by how they feel. however. yet you can see that the potential leader is the one who can look and listen from the deepest level. but she’s more interested in the employees going in and out of the venture capitalist’s inner office. but even that registers very little. She can be one of those excited people she sees emerging from the office. Leadership requires a sound basis inside yourself. the third person feels expectant but not stressed. If you can arrive at the point where looking and listening comes from your entire being. she’s open to the outcome. Once she sets eyes on the venture capitalist. They’re dressed in jeans and shirt. which involve looking and listening. If it turns out that she doesn’t fit in. Checking inside. she won’t make the mistake of taking the venture capitalist’s money – the compatibility isn’t there. he wonders if he can talk the venture capitalist into going out for a round of golf or a pickup basketball game. In the back of his mind. Their talk is excited. he’s used to being looked up to. She is entirely open to her surroundings and keeps picking up clues wherever she can find them. The second man is more comfortable and is beginning to see from the heart. She notices the rich Oriental rug and fresh flowers on the reception desk. With his eyes he may notice the expensive room with its trappings of success. From these clues. and as it unfolds. they seem to be discussing things with real focus. not suits. They come out looking more focused and intent than when they went in. the first one isn’t perceiving anything outside his own mood. He’s not responding to his environment. she will adapt.eyed.

(To be cont.) .you had the first follower.

At the outset.The Conscious Lifestyle: A Leader Must Look and Listen and Know How to Resolve Conflicts (Part 2) Deepak Chopra MD (official) January 10. The notorious White House bubble that isolates presidents also encloses any leader who lives inside a small circle. Hands-on experience motivates him (or her). and the group supports his efforts because they recognize a need to be fulfilled. 2013 If you examine the rise of a typical leader. But leaders at the top are often enmeshed in corporate politics and insulated by immediate aides. Here are some pointers about . a future leader often rises out of a group to present a grievance or to offer a new idea or way of doing things. the ability to look and listen decreases as power increases. That's a trend you need to be aware of.

It's not hard to detect when a leader wants to hear only praise and support for his own ideas. No one is indifferent. "What do these people need?" Never leave the room feeling confused about this. people notice praise and blame. "Are we okay?" isn't enough. Look and listen to their personal reactions. Make sure your feedback doesn't demean anyone. accommodating them when you can and at the very least listening to them and taking them seriously. They are prominent targets for jealousy and attack. This will instill a desire to hear as many perspectives as possible. 4. Keep in mind that you do not see the whole picture.looking and listening all the way up the ladder. We all want more of anything that is available. Be flexible enough to allow your core beliefs to be challenged. So start early on to embrace other points of view. This is such an important point that it deserves being expanded. 3. you won't be in touch with the whole picture. a group of people has . 5. 2. Behind every discussion. Know the difference between what somebody needs and what they want. If you get input only from your closest circle. No matter what face they put on it. 6. Don't claim a monopoly on the truth. There is constant input and output. In relation to a leader. what we need isn't clear. somebody needs something. Be good at giving feedback. never lose sight of the central question. Welcome criticism and know our opposition. see the person privately. Leaders who rise high often feel insecure about their position. Keep your feedback loop large. Leaders and followers cocreate each other. Stay flexible. But most of the time. Ego and emotions stand in the way. 1. In any meeting. 7. and if you are in doubt about hurt feelings.

losing market share. They need to be told that tomorrow will be better. Most of the time. and yet a successful leader tends to both. All groups need to be inspired about what they are doing. Sometimes you have to reach down to one person to provide a specific need (e. 7. who chaired a key committee. innovative ideas. Any threat such as layoffs. 5. salary cuts. 2. must be addressed. being bought out. Here the leader functions as a sounding board for any and all suggestions. what counts the most is being able to analyze a group’s need. President Lyndon Johnson hated baseball. Their motivation is to keep proving themselves. Feeling worthy is far more important. the group responds accordingly. was a devoted baseball fan). The best leaders take their cohorts with them as they rise to the top. however. You need to be open and honest . All groups need to know that their leader is loyal and supportive.g. If a leader is just passing through on his way up the ladder. Suppressing the creativity of any member sends a signal that creativity isn't valued for its own sake. Insecure groups need to be reassured that they are safe. All groups respond to hope. Groups that are doing well competitively need greater challenges. Such an attitude quickly kills the spirit of innovation. The solution that comes out of the discussion should benefit everyone in the group if possible (as when companies hard hit by the recession lay off no one but instead provide part-time work to everyone). This is different from offer external motivations like money and raises. They tend to overlap. 1. 6. 3. 4.individual and collective needs. etc. Creative groups need new.. but he went to every game with a prominent Southern senator because the senator. All groups need morale.

Tanzi. the so-called born leader isn't what a group needs.that is hurting morale. November 6. stated that “The Soul of Leadership”. Co-author with Rudolph E.) Deepak Chopra. as one of five best business books to read for your career. and Spiritual Well-being (Harmony. MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers. As you can see.including our own .about any person or behavior . . FINS . They need a leader who presides over a healthy. expansive feedback loop. Super Brain: Unleashing The Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health. their latest New York Times bestseller. Happiness. (To be cont. open.Wall Street Journal. 2012) is a new PBS special.