Leadership, Consciousness, Ego and the Evolution of People and Organisations
Leadership at its most basic premise has evolved as humans have evolved. It has transitioned from the primary animal instinct of survival, which was about gain through force and predatory actions along with pleasure. This was usually through aggression and dominance to enable survival.
The emotional responses occur before the frontal lobes of the brain have a chance to discriminate or modify responses. At lower levels of brain development, the discriminating or frontal lobes of the brain are bypassed via the thalamus and amygdala. So, survival is paramount and instinctive.
At this level leaders see people simply as a means to survival or gain.
The intelligence is focused on self-gratification and ego; therefore, the result is a fight or flight mechanism that operates as a predominant mode of behaviour. This also has a damaging effect because of the triggering of hormones like cortisone and adrenaline into the nervous system which shuts down the immune system.
This has a long term personal effect on the health and well being of leaders but also has a very damaging effect on the culture of the organisation as their behaviour creates a reactive form of communication (fight or flight) that is negative and problem focused, rather than positive and solution focused. This in turn creates a dissonant organisational culture.
Fear and survival can become behaviours which can lead to teams to erode trust and authenticity because behaviours focus predominantly around blame not self-reflection and learning.
Organisations who have leaders operating at these levels of consciousness lose their best or most evolved leaders for this reason. The unfortunate result is ‘like attracts like’ so a culture self-perpetuates itself until it self-destructs because it's unable to have the level of consciousness that can create the needed future results through greater creativity and energy. This is more predominant in more evolved cultures which display qualities of happiness and creativity. They are positive thinking, solution minded cultures that can have the self-awareness and intuitive ability to see and adapt to new futures.
Undeveloped leaders lack the self-reflection so their ego-based brain functioning always sees the problem outside themselves as they lack the emotional/spiritual ability to see the need to evolve or change because they do not see themselves as part of the problem.
Deflection and blame become the art of the ego and prevent meaningful conversations and transparency.
Leaders who operate like this in these organisations are too busy defending the past to create a better future because they lack the ability to listen to their people and create the ability for people to give feedback without fear because they themselves are unable to accept views that differ from theirs.
People hide their mistakes out of fear of consequences, so no new learning take place because the un-evolved leader is reactive and emotional as they immediately bypass the frontal lobes and move into the survival fight or flight state.
The left-brain self-centred response leads to fear anxiety anger and resentment.
Many current leaders who have not evolved their inner self awareness and still operate in this lower evolutionary state creating a damaging effect within themselves, their teams and organisations.
The significance of developing a different style of brain development that increases the right brains function, creates the ability to contextualise the meaning of events allowing for a more balanced response to events than a strictly left-brain response.
This gives a different neuro-hormonal response which releases endorphins and balances the nervous system. This then triggers a more emotional bonding behaviour that has a positive impact on people and organisations.
It is significance for leaders to understand this evolution of the brain be aware of research which clearly shows that changes in the brain through mediation has a powerful effect on developing the brain and evolving leadership styles.
"Know thy self" becomes the most important learning for leaders as they must transcend any technical past learning of skills and experiences and proactively engage in a personal journey of self-reflection, that is not focused externally but instead on one’s own self - the inner journey of leadership.
That requires a new set of skills and seeking out a different style of learning that at first must be challenging because our brains are hardwired to the past.
Nonetheless challenges lead to growth progress and freedom to operate at a totally new level of consciousness.
This then changes the culture of organisations to one were the realisation of happiness can coexist with achievement and success.
Happiness is at the basis of creativity, problem solving, positive communication and team work.
Organisations who fail to understand the significant advantage to this style of learning are unable to adapt and sustain success.
If the truth is to be realised that people are our most important asset, we must have leaders who are evolved to a level of consciousness that live that themselves and invest in the culture as well as the systems and processes.
Remember culture is people, but it’s their inner beliefs and attitudes which is consciousness.
Author: Steve Griffith
Steve Griffith is the founder & CEO of Griffith Consulting.
Steve delivers leadership, resilience and meditation programs to individuals and organisations all around Australia each year.
For more information about Steve, please click here.