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A couple of weeks ago, I was on my way to Deptford Bridge, London. The easiest route to get to Deptford Bridge from East London where I live is by taking the DLR Train via Canary Wharf, which means you have to change twice; the first train starts from Stratford and terminates at Canary Wharf and from Stratford, you join another DLR train heading to Lewisham, and then, get off at Deptford Bridge.

The night before this journey to the studio where I was doing some training on multimedia technology, I worked all night. In spite of not being able to catch at least, one hour sleep, I was determined to spend over six hours to learn some tags on Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

Acting like a superman who doesn’t need so much hours of sleep, I set off to the studio. At the initial part of the first leg of my journey, everything seemed fine; I didn’t feel sleepy; I was even posting an article to be published on LinkedIn, using my IPad. When we got to the stop before Canary Wharf, I was fully awake, but what went wrong between that stop and Canary Wharf, I am not privy to the information because I was in a dream world.

From the land of the spirits, I heard someone using a megaphone to make an announcement to people travelling to the country called Stratford from another country called Canary Wharf. ‘Is there any country called Stratford?’ I asked myself. ‘Where is this?’ I further asked myself. ‘I shouldn’t be in this place; I should be going to Leyton. That’s where I live’, I continued saying to myself. Suddenly, I realised that I was deep asleep, and that I was dreaming. When I opened my eyes, I noticed that I was the only one in the train; all the other passengers have alighted. Still half-unconscious, I jumped out of the train, went to the Lewisham platform opposite me. As I saw Lewisham on the information board for the next train, I said, ‘why am I standing here, I should be going to Stratford’. I ran back into the Stratford train and sat down. Within 20 seconds of sitting down, I recalled that I was actually going towards Lewisham. Then, I jumped out the second time and ran like there was something wrong with my brain. As I was going in and out of the train unconscious, some people were watching and laughing. When I fully regained consciousness as I sat on the right train heading towards Lewisham, I had a good laugh at myself, and then called my wife to make her laugh.

The above true life story may be funny, but in more serious real life situations, do you know that there are certain leaders that are unconscious? In one of my published books, Pillars and Precepts of Life, the first chapter was titled Consciousness. There, I explained that consciousness represents three actions; awakening, awareness, and alertness. Leadership that is awake, aware and alert is purposeful, visionary and goal oriented.

Having said that, what are the trademarks of conscious leadership?

Self Evaluation: evaluation is assessment and appraisal. Always, whether formal or informal, we evaluate those that we take responsibility for, and determine if they have met our expected standards or targets. If they have, we recommend them for promotions, but if they haven’t, we recommend them for further training. In the same vein, a good leadership should evaluate itself even if there’s no one to evaluate her. It is so easy to ask subordinates to follow, but how many times do you look back to see if they are actually following? Some people may follow with their physical bodies, but not with their hearts and minds. If the people you lead only follow with their bodies, your leadership style or approach must be probed. The person in the best position to probe you is you. The man or woman that must put you in the dock to question you on your leadership methodology is no one else but YOU! That is one major trademark of conscious leadership.

Trains to develop, not to milk: some organisations train their staff, and that is very encouraging; some don’t, and that is very damaging. The intention of training is another issue that determines a leader’s quality. The motive of certain leaders training their employees is to milk them rather than develop them. A leader that trains to develop gets the best from his employees, but the ones whose intention is just to use them to maximize profit will end up in the ditch.

Listening ears: a leader that listens is revered. A leader who doesn’t just listen to those in the upper part of the organizational structure, but also to those at the bottom is rare and deeply respected. Subordinates will give their hearts to such a leader.

Admits mistakes: in everyday life, it is hard to find people who never make excuses for errors; man’s ego makes him never admit his mistakes when he misses it. Even when he does, he looks for a way to make his admission dignifying. Great leaders say it bluntly, and in black and white, ‘I missed it. I made an error. I am deeply sorry.’

Conscious leadership has trademarks which are easily identifiable. Are you a conscious leader, or have you fallen asleep on the train taking you to your vision place?





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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

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