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Leadership Consciousness

Leaders grow and develop by learning to master the seven levels of personal consciousness and the seven levels of organisational consciousness. 

An authentic, full-spectrum leader must understand and master his or her personal dynamics, as well as the dynamics of the organization, department or team he or she leads. In other words, you have to be able to lead yourself before you can effectively lead others.

The seven levels of leadership consciousness are summarized in the following table and described in detail in the next sectioin of the Web site.(Click on table to enlarge)

 Seven Levels of Leadership Consciousness

In the first three levels of leadership consciousness, we encounter both healthy and unhealthy behaviours. This is because these stages of development reflect the needs of the ego—the self-interest of the individual.

Unhealthy behaviours derive from the anxiety caused by the subconscious and conscious fears of the leader’s ego about not being able to satisfy his or her “deficiency” needs:

  • Not having enough money, protection or security to satisfy the ego’s need for safety at Level 1
  • Not having enough love, caring or acceptance to satisfy the ego’s need for belonging at Level 2
  • Not having enough power, authority or status to satisfy the ego’s need for respect or recognition at Level 3

These personal issues/behaviours are projected onto the organisation by the leader and become part of the culture.  The personality of the leader, the personalities of leadership team and the way these personalities interact are always reflected in the culture of the organization.

Healthy behaviours at the first three levels of consciousness are a sign that a leader has either learned to manage, master or release his or her fear-based beliefs or did not develop such beliefs to any significant extent when they were in their formative years.

The focus on mastering the leader’s fears around their perceived deficiency needs happens at the fourth level of leadership consciousness. At this level of consciousness there is a realization that the unhealthy behaviours of the first three levels of consciousness are a handicap to the future growth and development of the leader. Supported by feedback from their subordinates, peers, and bosses, leaders begin to focus on their personal mastery.

In the upper three levels of leadership consciousness, the leader uncovers his or her transcendent purpose in life, and aligns this purpose with the vision of the organisation. These stages of development reflect the “growth” needs of the soul:

  • To find meaning in existence by uncovering your unique purpose
  • To make a difference in the world by collaborating with others who share the same purpose
  • To lead a life of self-less service for the good humanity and the planet

The most successful individuals are those that have mastered both their “deficiency” needs and their “growth” needs. They operate from full-spectrum consciousness. They display the five  evolutionary characteristics: They are adaptable—they can respond appropriately to all situations, they are continuously learning, they are able to bond and cooperate with others, and they can handle complexity.

Full Spectrum Consciousness

Full-spectrum leaders display all the positive attributes of the Seven Levels of Leadership Consciousness:

  • They master “survival consciousness” by creating an environment of financial security, and physical safety for themselves and those in their charge.
  • They master “relationship consciousness” through learning to be open in their communications, and by creating a culture of caring and belonging that engenders employee and customer loyalty.
  • They master “self-esteem consciousness” by measuring and monitoring progress towards the organisation’s goals, and keeping the organisation focused on quality, excellence and continuous improvement, such that employees feel a sense of pride in the organisation’s performance and can pursue their professional growth.
  • They master “transformation consciousness” by learning to understand their deepest motivations, and becoming responsible and accountable for all their actions, as well as empowering their staff to act with autonomy, and supporting them in their personal growth.
  • They master “internal cohesion consciousness” by becoming authentic. They find a sense of purpose in their lives; create a shared vision for the future of the organisation that aligns with their purpose, and acts as a source of inspiration for all the stakeholders of the organization. They embrace a set of shared values that resonate with employees, and guide them in their day-to-day decision-making.
  • They master “external cohesion consciousness by collaborating with partners who share the same sense of purpose, and similar values, to make a difference in the world, as well as mentoring or coaching their peers and subordinates to help them grow and develop, and find personal fulfillment through their work.
  • They master “service consciousness” by aligning the needs of the organisation with the needs of humanity and the planet (social responsibility) to achieve long-term sustainability for everyone; and by performing acts of self-less service, with humility and compassion.

The journey to full-spectrum leadership is not easy – and it is harder for some than others, particularly those who are holding on to conscious or subconscious anxieties about being able to satisfy their deficiency needs.  The journey to full-spectrum is a personal journey.

It requires commitment, and the courage to explore the shadow side of your personality, and look deep into your soul. Not everyone has the ability to attain full-spectrum personal consciousness, and even fewer have the competencies to attain full-spectrum leadership. This should not prevent us from trying to become the best we can become.

If we approach this work from the Level 3 consciousness of achievement we will not succeed, because this is not a pass or fail endeavor. It is not about being the top in the class. It is about becoming authentic, fulfilling your potential, and becoming the best for the world, not the best in the world. 

The quickest way to become a full-spectrum leader is to constantly seek feedback from your subordinates, peers and your boss. The feedback should always focus on how you can become a better leader. Self-knowledge is the key. We all have our blinds spots. That is why we need feedback.

It is important to remember in seeking feedback not to be defensive. Everyone’s perception is their reality: This is why it is important to evaluate all the feedback you get from an objective standpoint. However, when you continually get the same feedback you can be sure that this issue is something that needs your attention.


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