Conscious leadership forms mainstream business

Steady job cuts in the tech sector have many inside corporate America worried that other sectors could experience a premature end to the post-pandemic hiring frenzy. LinkedIn Labor Confidence Indexreleased in late 2022, it collected data from nearly 900 million members to establish a baseline of current employees looking down the barrel of corporate volatility.

Over 30% of respondents self-reported being worried about the status of their jobs, fearing that impending budget cuts to their departments could lead to more layoffs. Yet, contrary to C-suite decisions, women in the workplace activate choice as a lever for future decisions.

Mckinsey’s Women in the workplace report (2022) showed that during the past year, 29% of women considered taking a less demanding position or completely leaving their current employer.

The convergence of professional, long-term and substantive career security continues to be influenced by the index of opportunity or lack thereof. The McKinsey report identifies that the “broken bar” has remained unchanged over the past eight years. Increased pressures between home and work for professional women continue to be negatively impacted by career diversions that slow upward mobility. Advancement from entry-level to managerial ranks continues to favor male candidates, while limiting women with commensurate achievements. Out of every 100 men, only 87 women advance from entry-level positions to managers.

The trickle-down effect reveals that men significantly outnumber women who would otherwise be qualified for senior management positions, creating a slippery slope of need across the spectrum of talent.

The report goes on to say: “Female executives are leaving their companies at the highest rate in years, and the gap between women and men leaving is the largest we’ve ever seen. To put the scale of the problem into perspective: for every female CEO promoted to the next level, two female CEOs choose to leave their company.”

The variability of responsibilities in the light and reflection of the global pandemic has led many around the world to seek alternative principles to guide professional activities.

Influence to change the way of thinking

The passage of time and the new normal of transparent and less stable job prospects have led some to look to spirituality as an elixir for current challenges.

After the pandemic, people are becoming more spiritual, according to a report last year. 75% of Americans described themselves as spiritual, and 28% said a deepening of their faith was caused by the pandemic.

The report’s authors noted, “People are spiritual, but they are discouraged from bringing that part of themselves to work. Leaders now have an opportunity to build a rare culture—one where people are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work, and leaders are happy to do so.”

Spiritual pursuits across cultures and professional domains seem poised to translate into corporate environments through conscious approaches to leadership.

Conscious leadership

Jeffrey Deckman, Innovator and Thought Leader of the Year 2021 at the International Business Awards for his work on Conscious Leadership, sees a conscious approach to leadership as necessary to heal the social unrest of the past three years. “Being a conscious healer at work involves a unique form of detachment that blends empathy and compassion with professionalism and discipline. It requires us to ‘see the man in the man’ while acting in the best interest of the organization as a whole.”

An example of a professional who consciously approaches work from life lessons brings culture into practice for the clientele.

Robin Rivera spent years researching women’s leadership, focusing on social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. As a Mexican-American and a 2012 George Miller Scholar, Rivera believes that conscious leadership is in its relative infancy.

“Conscious leadership seems to be the buzzword of the moment, but few have understood what it really means. We are leading the way in accelerating human consciousness through powerful divine guidance and multidimensional transformation,” said Rivera.

After earning her Masters in Conscious and Transformative Learning, Rivera focused on training conscious leadership for the flex workforce.

“In these urgent times, we are witnessing the rapid globalization of the digital marketplace and increased demand for alternative teachings, healing modalities and energy work,” says Rivera.

Like Rivera, change strategist Albana Vrioni argues that greater awareness is needed to support turbulent markets. “Conscious leadership is not altruistic and not permissive – it is inclusive and wise. The opposite of conscious leadership is discord, judging, criticizing and putting others down. Narrow-minded, rigid, short-sighted, arrogant and narcissistic leaders are the opposite of conscious leaders.”

Rivera’s personal story of homelessness and dependence on food stamps for survival overlaps with the need for compassion infused with contextual awareness for others, professionally and personally.

“I come from humble beginnings that precluded vivid daydreaming about a future of work that could mean something,” Rivera shares. “I was fortunate to have teachers who recognized my talent for writing and led me down the path to Cal Berkeley. These experiences created an impetus in me to focus on the meaning of work, service and culture. It’s essentially conscious leadership, and I have the privilege of serving my clientele in a way that brings me just as much, if not more, satisfaction than they do.

The challenges of Rivera’s past underscore the effort many professionals are putting into the messiness of the post-pandemic working world. “The demand from clients to learn about leadership from a new and personal leadership perspective continues to grow,” adds Rivera.

The end game is not aimed at perfection, adds Vrioni. “Conscious leadership is not perfection. No leader is perfect. Conscious leadership is exploring how much ecosystem awareness we have to make decisions that involve the environments we work in.”

As leaders across the corporate spectrum continue to struggle with talent shortages, work-life balance demands, and financial market volatility, many are turning to new leadership modalities to meet current needs. Rivera, the recipient of more than 37 awards for her leadership, advocacy and community service, sees opportunity amid the instability in various sectors.

“Conscious leadership embraces us all, providing a path to understanding and compassion in a volatile world.”

The interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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