• Susan Pattis

How to Define Conscious Leadership? (Part II)

About Consciousness


Consciousness refers to personal awareness of unique ideas, memories, emotions, feelings, sensations, and environments. Individual consciousness is about understanding oneself and the world. It is part of your consciousness to explain something you are experiencing in sentences or words to someone. Consciousness changes constantly; for example, your consciousness could shift to a project presentation the next day whilst you are feeling sad for not receiving a message from a good friend.

Consciousness is behavior controlled by the human brain. Human consciousness originates from the animalistic behavioral components of play, communication, and tools. The interaction and combination of these components are unique in humans. For example, communication creates language or symbolic games, and symbols and tools lead to human reality. Humans' controlling actions and behavioral options form the humans' conscious systems.


States of Consciousness


External influences can alter consciousness, such as drugs, brain damage, perception shift, change in thinking, understanding, and interpretations of the world. Some of the states of consciousness include dreams, hallucinations, hypnosis, meditation, and sleep. The levels of consciousness and unconsciousness are related to the levels of awareness. In other words, changes of awareness cause shifts of consciousness. Coma, confusion, delirium, disorientation, lethargy, and stupor result from altered consciousness. Changes in consciousness can affect clear thinking and proper decision-making.

Human consciousness was studied mainly by philosophers for thousands of years in history. Rene Descartes, the French philosopher, explored the concept of mind-body dualism that mind and body can interact when they are separate. The first topic studied by psychologists and structuralists was a conscious experience using introspection to analyze and assess conscious sensations, thoughts, and feelings. The introspection process inspired researchers to study consciousness. William James, the American psychologist, described consciousness as a continuous and unbroken stream no matter how the constant changes or shifts. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud studied the importance of the unconscious and conscious mind.



Theories of Consciousness


Studies of human consciousness have developed fast since the 1950s, focusing on observable behavior. There are two major theories of consciousness: integrated information theory and global workspace theory. Integrated information theory attempts to create a measure of the integrated information that forms consciousness by studying the physical processes that underlie conscious experiences. This theory focuses on whether one is conscious and the degree of consciousness. The global workplace theory suggests a memory bank that the brain draws information from to form the conscious experience. This theory provides a broader option to understand consciousness.


Conscious Leadership


Conscious leadership is about activating personal authenticity and full awareness of leadership positions. It requires authenticity to be who you are. Conscious leadership focuses on the 'we' not on the 'me' by taking full responsibility for creating a culture of trust, understanding, care, and positive influence. Conscious leaders are aware of the to-do list's challenges and focus more on the to-be list

Conscious leadership is about the awareness of leadership's influence on the culture, people, and the environment. Conscious leadership is about how leaders use words or actions to impact the organization's mission, vision, and culture. For example, if a leader talks about the crisis and problem, the employees will focus on the issues with overwhelming pressure all the time.


To Be Continued.