compassion

This is What Conscious Leadership Looks Like…

Photo credit: David Walker/Stuff

Photo credit: David Walker/Stuff

Monday morning. A new week. For that, I am immensely grateful.

I shut down last week and I wasn’t sure why. I was angry, felt hostile inside, and I was reading everything negative online like an addiction.

It occurred to me this morning that I was in shock over the terror events in my peace-loving native New Zealand. For a country of just 5 million, a massacre of this nature is akin to losing over 3,000 people in the US to one terror event. Gunning down 50 people in a small town like Christchurch is like taking out over 1,100 inhabitants of New York City in two small religious sites.

It hurts.

Aotearoa has known worse, of course. The massacres of our brutal history between Māori and Pākeha, the white colonials, have perhaps influenced our desire to be peace-loving and inclusive in modern New Zealand. For sure though, the attacks on those two Christchurch mosques are like nothing we have seen in Middle Earth in modern times where a minority of our community have been so obviously and hatefully targeted.

So I sat with all this over the weekend.

It took me to detox from my newsfeed, lots of meditation and physical exercise to reduce the stress and anxiety, journaling and reading books on subjects such as consciousness to get to a place on Monday morning of clarity, energy and intention.

The clarity that came to me this morning is that Christchurch just might be the breakdown before the breakthrough, the valley before scaling the heights. Perhaps it had to happen to show the world what conscious leadership looks like. It happened when the best person possible was in power to guide the country and the world through their shock and grief - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She is a fine example of conscious leadership that the world has been shaken from its old thinking to witness, a style of leadership that the world is starting awaken to the fact that it is thirsty for.

  • She is vulnerable, visibly weeping when she visited the families of the victims.

  • She is compassionate, reaching out to say that she and her government will do all they can to ease the pain over the next days, months, years.

  • She is empathetic, acknowledging their religious practices by assuring the families that the police are doing all they can to release their loved ones as soon as possible.

  • She is strong, making a commitment to change gun laws so that such a tragedy never happens again on New Zealand soil.

  • She is intentional, focusing only on the families as her priority, unifying political parties, not finding an opportunity to score points for her political advancement or to appease her partisan supporters.

There is nothing weak about how Prime Minister Ardern is showing up to lead us through this crisis.

It is a new era—time we expected more of ourselves and our political, religious and business leaders, demanding more conscious leadership.

“There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness.”
— Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

When our egos run the show, as has become our primary state of consciousness, there is no room for any of the characteristics that Prime Minister Ardern is demonstrating. When we live in ego, as most of us do, it is too busy trying to feel superior, to be right, to gain more at the expense of others, to defend itself, to attack others, and to renew its addiction to unhappiness.

“The ego always wants something from other people or situations.”
— Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

I work with leaders who want to do things differently in their new role, who want to make a positive impact beyond financial measures. Prime Minister Ardern so beautifully demonstrates what I am talking about, creating an environment that allows vulnerability, compassion, empathy, unity, and above all, strength. Ruling by the politics of fear with competition, reprisal, redundancy, creating a toxic environment, and still expecting high performance and profit is as absurd as it sounds.

Creating an environment where teams can connect, create, collaborate - that’s where high performance, purpose and profit lie.

For now, I hope the world is observing Prime Minister Ardern and waking up to what conscious personal, political, religious, and business leadership could look like. My intention and energy to contribute to the general acceptance of conscious leadership is stronger than ever.