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Leading from Within

Enlightened Teams and Conscious Leadership

It takes a special blend of strong, vibrant, thoughtful and creative leadership to create an Enlightened Team. Using The Enlightened Team System, you can be in the role of leader or a leader within your team.


Recently I read a book on conscious leadership which I can wholeheartedly recommend: The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success, by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Klemp. I am delighted to see how my Enlightened Team system dovetails so beautifully with their aspects of a conscious leader.


Some of their commitments of conscious leadership are:

  • Taking Radical Responsibility
  • Learning through Curiosity
  • Feeling All Feelings
  • Speaking Candidly
  • Eliminating Gossip
  • Practicing Integrity
  • Generating Appreciation
  • Excelling in Your Zone of Genius
  • Living a Life of Play and Rest

The examples they use to show what each commitment in becoming a conscious leader really resonates with me. However, I have find that 15 is a large number to recall—at least I can’t seem to keep that all in my head!


I have defined five aspects needed to be an effective leader within an Enlightened Team—similar to or overlapping many of the 15 commitments that Dethmer, Chapman, and Klemp use. I was intrigued to find that I could incorporate the 15 commitments under my five core elements of an enlightened leader.


An enlightened team leader taps into these five main attributes:

  1. Being Real
  2. Being Reflective
  3. Being Respectful
  4. Being Resilient
  5. Being Responsive

An effective leader must be REAL. That means no more compartmentalizing work and life. No more saying “everything is fine” when things at work or in life might not be. The more REAL we become with one another the stronger leader you become. Sharing vulnerabilities and imperfections is a relief for most people and allows for a real relationship to develop. When you are a real leader you are much more open and accessible.


To be part of an Enlightened Team you need to be REFLECTIVE. If you are asking others to be reflective, aware and willing to check-in internally, it is extremely important that you model this as well. If not, words and actions display your disconnect. When a leader is reflective and can share their thinking about something—even if people don't always agree—team members will more likely be open to understanding. Reflecting means going within and checking internally how you are doing with something.


How you communicate those feelings is also extremely important and leads us to the next aspect: being RESPECTFUL. When you communicate respectfully with your body language, words and actions, it is so much easier to connect with others. Respectful communication goes a long way in developing trust and safety in a group—a vital key to the success of your team.


RESILIENCY is the ability of a person to be flexible and bend with the wind, the times and the changes that are always happening in business—or life. Finding ways to stay grounded and nurture yourself allows for a sustained approach to living in life and work. Having emotional resiliency means you can change emotionally in a fluid manner and not be over-attached to one way of being (either positive or negative). As the leader, it means you can handle different emotions from your team members and not get flattened by it.  This form of resiliency is what we all strive for—greater peace internally and externally.

When one is a leader, RESPONSIVE listening is required. This is vital: to listen, listen, and listen some more. And then to respond and be sure to acknowledge and take action on things that support the vision of the organization, the team and yourself. If you listen and never do anything and only absorb what is told to you like a sponge, then it will be as though nothing was ever really communicated. This appears as passivity on the leaders part, and lack of trust and failure to believe anything will happen on the part of the team.

To grow as a leader you can use the 15 commitments of a conscious leader or the five elements of an enlightened leader—but the most important thing to remember is that being a leader starts on the inside.  When working on a team, we always want to see that the leader and team members walk their talk. That honesty and integrity is what it takes to lead consciously and to build an Enlightened Team. 


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