It is undeniable that the COVID pandemic has brought enormous problems and emergent crises for all humanity. However, we can also say it has exacerbated and brought to light certain topics we need to deal with as a society.
The consequences of the pandemic will be with us long after we consider it under control or even eradicated. Many experts agree that one of the main dangers we will be facing is the post-pandemic mental health crisis that will have terrible consequences if we don’t take urgent measures now.
With people mired in uncertainty, stress and burnout, it is our responsibility to move towards a new kind of leadership. The pandemic has put our fears, anxiety and turmoil front and center. What we need as a collective is to reconnect with our universal values: with compassion, empathy, dedication and evolution. And we must exhort and inspire our leaders to act accordingly.
Despite the havoc caused by the COVID situation, it is encouraging to think that beneficial conversations have been triggered. In settings of corporate governance topics such as mental health, compassion, and humanity have come to the table. Today these words are beginning to appear people’s lips, and it is creating an irresistible opportunity for those of us who are convinced that the world needs to wake up and heal.
In that sense, we can consider this process as a great awakening. A key moment in which it is everyone’s responsibility to make decisions and promote momentous changes. The time is now for those who lead groups of people, be it communities, companies or organizations. Those who take the initiative and promote well-being, diversity and mental health care in these environments will be protagonists, undisputed co-creators of a trend that is here to stay. And this while training our teams on these issues and becoming ambassadors of mindful leadership wherever we are, to propel and accelerate the change and transformation we long for.
Why conscious leaders?
This is not just a great opportunity with capitalist benefits, but quite the opposite: it is a unique opportunity for the awakening of humanity. Conscious capitalism is about integrating seemingly opposite themes needs and, in order to do so, we need conscious leaders. The effect on society is undeniable: those people who train as conscious leaders will unfailingly improve the quality not only of their projects, but also of their interpersonal relationships and, consequently, their lives in general. We are talking about a paradigm shift, a profound transition in the meaning we associate with the role of leader.
We need more conscious leaders: people aligned with their values and virtues, with their feet on the ground, and with their heart, mind and body integrated because their decisions start from that space, from their center of power, in absolute integrity.
What does a conscious leader prioritize?
All this sounds very good in theory, but how do we put conscious leadership into practice and become ambassadors of well-being, of good living? Although this is a great and long process, here are three virtues that we should aim to achieve on a daily basis:
- Consciousness: This is the most obvious and at the same time challenging. Awareness is being one hundred percent present and focusing our energies on whatever is happening at that precise moment. Just asking ourselves “Where am I now? Am I present?” is enough to bring us back to the here and now. And if we are not present, the mere fact of acknowledging it is a good start.
- Compassion: It begins with empathy, putting ourselves in the place of the other, activating emotion, and the recognition of the other’s pain. But it is crucial to transform that energy into compassion, so as not to lose ourselves in that pain and to be able to activate care, nutrition, generosity, gratitude, appreciation, service in alleviating suffering, thus aiming for the common good. The most important requirement is to open our hearts. Meditation is our undisputed ally in transforming empathy into compassion.
- Wellness: Conscious leaders prioritize their well-being, feeding and nurturing their four fundamental pillars: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. And above all, they take mental and emotional health very seriously. They are regularly revitalized, because they know that the quality of their actions and decisions is closely related and is proportional to the wear and tear of their energy and the process of their emotions. But they go one step farther, because they understand that we are all interconnected, and they advocate for the well-being of their entire team and community. Pausing and reviewing our self-care habits is the beginning of this journey toward mindful leadership. The good news is that once started, there is no going back.
It’s time to wake up and heal!