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What is conscious leadership, and how can it help make recruitment more equitable?

What is conscious leadership, and how can it help make recruitment more equitable?

Hard as you might try, it’s very difficult to build an inclusive organization without switched-on leaders who are committed to conscious leadership.

And we’re not just talking about the people in upper management positions.

You’ll make your recruitment efforts fairer and more equitable if you have conscious leaders at all levels of your organization.

So what do we mean by conscious leadership? And how can leaders within your business embody this concept?

Let’s take a look.

What is conscious leadership?

Conscious leadership is a technique implemented by some of the world’s most influential leaders. It’s based on the following principles:

  • Being self-aware and understanding your impact on others
  • Examining your default responses
  • Being open and committed to learning
  • Creating a collaborative culture
  • Feeling empowered to drive change

Conscious leaders are creative change-makers who see people as individuals. They are not close-minded, defensive, or uncompromising.

Instead, they welcome opposing points of view and are in the habit of questioning any pre-determined stance.

💬 Conscious leaders are creative change-makers who see people as individuals. They are not close-minded, defensive, or uncompromising.

How does conscious leadership improve inclusion?

Conscious leadership is useful when you’re trying to improve inclusion within an organization because it helps you step outside your norm.

  • You question your business’s default responses, noticing bias and pushing back against it.
  • You listen to the perspectives of others and value the input of each individual.
  • You can acknowledge mistakes.
  • You’re prepared to challenge the status quo and instigate change, ensuring your actions and your words align.

All of these behaviors support equitable recruitment.  

Conscious leaders can identify and rectify problems with their current recruitment process. They can assess professional needs on an individual basis. And they see each employee’s unique value.

As well as changing processes, a culture of conscious leadership and intentional inclusion becomes apparent to job seekers. You stand out as an inclusive organization meaning that talented and diverse candidates will be excited to send in their applications.   

5 ways to be a conscious leader

Want to make conscious leadership a foundational part of your organization? Then here’s what you need to do.

Practice self-awareness

One of the most crucial aspects of conscious leadership is self-awareness.

Leaders need to understand their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, feelings, and motives – and how these things are reflected in their actions. Only then can they act consciously, monitoring and managing their behavior to promote inclusivity effectively.

So how do you become more self-aware?

Simply taking the time to notice your thoughts, feelings and motivations is helpful. But getting an outside perspective is also essential if you’re to identify and address any blind spots.

You might like to seek honest feedback from a range of colleagues, asking them where you’re falling short and what you could do better. A professional coach or mentor may also be able to offer an alternative viewpoint.

Be aware of your influences

We’re all a product of our experiences. The people we surround ourselves with, the things we’ve been taught, and the life we’ve lived all influence our outlook and behavior.

An unconscious leader doesn’t stop to question these influences. But a conscious leader understands that they have the potential to impact inclusivity.

That’s because a leader may instinctively gravitate towards one candidate rather than another. They may underestimate the challenges facing some of their team members. Or they might rely on recruitment practices passed down to them from a previous manager.

It’s important to understand and question the influences in your past and in your present. Listening to perspectives and ideas from a wide range of people within your organization will help.

Be intentional

Conscious leadership means not allowing things to drift. You approach situations with intention, understanding the why that guides your actions.

To do this, you first need to clarify the values by which you want to operate.

Think about the values that are important to your life — both at home and at work. Then ask yourself whether your actions are currently reflecting those values.

Any gaps? Then these are areas that require work. You need to bring your values and your actions into closer alignment.

When you do, you’ll start to speak and act with greater intention. You’ll weigh both the impact and the intent of your behavior. And this will have a positive effect on your organization and the relationships within it.

Step outside your comfort zone

When was the last time you tried something new?

Conscious leaders are curious. They’re committed to personal growth and strive to learn new things. And they’re not afraid to make mistakes.

If it’s been a while since you ventured beyond your comfort zone, commit to doing something different this week, whether that’s going to the fitness class you’ve been meaning to try or rustling up a new recipe in the kitchen.

Also, apply this ethos to the workplace and your inclusivity efforts. Adopt a growth mindset. Have the courage to ask questions and (potentially) get things wrong.

As well as learning more about diversity, equity and inclusion, you’ll promote similar behavior among your team. They’ll become more creative, less boxed in by a fear of failure, and more likely to share their own thoughts and ideas.

Treat people as individuals

So far, we’ve talked about developing your skills as a conscious leader. But it’s worth remembering that so much of conscious leadership is about your team.

You should seek to develop each team member, assessing their needs individually, creating a psychologically safe space, and valuing everyone for their unique contribution.

Do your best to ensure they have access to the benefits, resources, and career opportunities that they need while fostering a collaborative culture among employees. Everyone should feel confident that their voice will be heard and their opinions will be considered.

Treating people this way promotes an inclusive, conscious culture that further supports an equitable recruitment strategy.

Are you committed to creating a more inclusive culture at your workplace?

Head to the Headstart blog for more insightful articles about improving your DEI.

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