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It’s the end of 2018 and many leaders are burnt out.

All around the world––CEOS, executives, and employees are going to work feeling like they have to, not necessarily because they want to. They are exhausted when they get home, exhausted when they leave the next day, and exhausted with their employees and colleagues.

According to the American Psychological Association, 61% of the population’s most common form of stress is from work. And from a study by the Center for Creative Leadership, “88% percent of leaders report that work is a primary source of stress in their lives and that having a leadership role increases the level of stress.”

Businesses are feeling the effects. Leaders are leaving top positions because they are feeling a lack of purpose. Organizations are losing incredible talent –– and in the process –– millions of dollars and oodles of impact.

According to a 2017 Gallup study, burnout seems to have become “just part of the job”, with about “two-thirds of full-time workers experiencing burnout on the job. The cost is that burned-out employees are 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job. Those that stay, typically have 13% lower confidence in their performance and are half as likely to discuss their development with their manager.”

We are at a turning point in organizations.

And it’s time to shift.


The problem with leadership burnout is that we end up not maximizing our human potential. We end up staying in an unfulfilled and overworked mindset. And everyone can feel it––from top to bottom.

Leaders who are burnt out are not operating at their greatest capabilities, so they have less of a capacity to inspire, operate with emotional intelligence, and grow their organizations and teams.

By not maximizing our human potential, we are ultimately wreaking havoc in the workplace, which ripples over to our home, our family, and our personal lives.

So we have to ask ourselves…

What is going wrong with leadership and the workplace in this day and age?

Many people are going through the motions of a system that was designed over 100 years ago for a more mechanized, industrial-age business structure. Some leaders still treat employees like cogs-in-a-wheel, micro-managing, and operating from a “less conscious space”.

Per my previous Forbes blog, “The New Workplace: Where Meaning And Purpose Are More Important Than Ever”, the nature of business is shifting and people want more out of work and life. They want more purpose and meaning. Less rat race.

So, we have to ask ourselves to dig deep and shift towards a better, more sustainable solution.

To spark a change in this predicament we’re in, we need authentic, conscious leadership.


A shift in workplace consciousness is vital right now.

We need a change that will ultimately lead to the future of our well-being, the future of our productivity, and the future of our organizations and work life.

One of my favorite quotes is from Frederic Laloux, author of ‘Reinventing Organizations’:

“The general rule seems to be that the level of consciousness of an organization cannot exceed the level of consciousness of its leader.”

An organization ends up being an extension of the mindset and actions of the top leader.

If our leaders are able to shift their mindset and way of being –– if they can hold an authentic and open space for their organization –– it will allow them to start making the necessary processes, systems, and procedural changes needed for the business to thrive. These changes will allow employees to utilize them, develop themselves, and bring their best selves to work.

The shift needed is towards a leadership style with greater emotional intelligence, greater awareness, and greater openness and collaborative actions.

Leaders need to dig deep inside themselves to access their awareness of self (including emotional self-awareness, accurate self-knowledge, and personal power) in order to transform.

Self-aware leaders have the ability to truly know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their triggers and best forms of communication, which can help them better navigate complex situations. Per the Laloux quote above, by elevating and maximizing the consciousness of our leaders, it will ripple out into the whole workplace.


Better Leaders = Better Business

This graph from The Leadership Circle displays the positive correlation between relationship-focused and visionary leaders –– and high performing businesses. The study is a result of the top individual leader ‘360 multi-rater’ profiles as compared to their business results.  The shading of the top-half represents the level of consciousness that the assessment names “creative competencies”.

As the graph displays, it’s clear that as creative competencies (consciousness) increases, business performance increases.

Developing our leaders is not just about developing them so they’re better people – it’s also about real business results.

There’s an actual bottom line impact when people operate at a higher conscious level.

Better leaders mean better employees and a better workplace, which leads to more productivity and tangible results.   

Per my earlier Forbes article,

“as leaders become more conscious on the inside, their outer competence grows to enable them to navigate complexity, make better strategic decisions and deepen professional relationships. They are able to move from operating in a more reactive state where decision-making is not shared and obedience is required to sharing authority and operating from a place of inner purpose where their values, talents and strengths are guiding the contributions they make to an organization.”

This type of leadership is required to create lean, innovative, visionary, agile, high-fulfillment organizations and cultures.”

Conscious leaders are able to look at the strategy and processes within an organization and begin shifting them by flattening hierarchies and empowering people to bring all of their gifts, talents, and values to work.  

The way to change the workplace is to change our leaders.


Leaders operating at their highest level is good for business, good for organizations, and good for the world.

For a leader to increase her consciousness, she must be courageous enough to start the shift, share her perspective, and lead as an example. She must cultivate here inner power through self-reflection, mindfulness, deep learning and self-discovery.

This shift can not only bring a sense of purpose to individuals/employees, but it can bring about an innovative and a more expanded purpose to the organization as a whole.

As the global workplace shifts and the nature of business changes, more people are seeking organizations that have more conscious leaders and developmental cultures. This can be valued just as highly as the compensation and benefits package offered.

Implementing leadership practices from a place of consciousness and purpose is not only the right thing to do – it’s one of the most effective ways to retain employees and grow your organization.


Conscious leadership, or the process of developing it, begins with self-reflection and discovery.

Here are the three simple questions I ask CEOs and heads of businesses as a self-check:

  1. Are you leading a conscious workplace from your authentic self?
  2. Are the members of the team around you operating from a conscious space?
  3. Are the systems and processes of your organization operating from a conscious space?

If you answer “no” to any of these, it’s probably time to do something – to shift, to analyze, to learn, to act.

This is the future of leadership. This is the future of work.

There’s a bottom-line impact to maximizing human potential.

So it’s time to make a change.

2019 is right around the corner (or maybe it’s already here when you’re reading this). It’s time to make a shift as a leader so you can be successful, effective, and productive in the workplace.

If you want to learn more about the topic of conscious leadership, or if you have any questions on how to make the shift, feel free to reach out or stay in touch at InSight Coaching & Consulting.

Wishing you a happy and self-reflective transition into 2019.

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Author Renelle Darr

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