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“There is a time in our lives, usually in mid-life, when a woman has to make a decision - possibly the most important psychic decision of her future life - and that is, whether to be bitter or not. Women often come to this in their late thirties or early forties. They are at the point where they are full up to their
ears with everything and they've "had it" and "the last straw has broken the camel's back" and they're "pissed off and pooped out." Their dreams of their twenties may be lying in a crumple. There may be broken hearts, broken marriages, broken promises.” 

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype


 
 
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In almost every situation someone is called upon to lead. Taking up the call involves a conscious choice, and yet for many leaders, even those who are very experienced, not much consciousness is applied. If you ask a roomful of CEOs how  they got where they are today -I've done this dozens of times when teaching a  course on leadership for business people - the top answer is always "I was lucky." Looking back, CEOs and other top executives mainly recognize that they wound up in the right place at the right time.

There are courses in leadership everywhere, and most of them, so far as I can tell, use case studies. The performance of successful leaders is analyzed, with comparisons to less
successful leaders. These courses no doubt produce a set of skills, but the tendency is for these skills to be technical and managerial - human skills are far harder to teach and pass on. Yet they are the key to persuading other people to follow you.

I've taken a different tack, arguing that leadership is all about consciousness. It has to be, since the response that a great leader inspires (loyalty, respect, emulation, love) is life-changing. Such responses are not evoked by well-trained managers. Skills can be developed in consciousness. This isn't a mystical area, although we must go beyond practical psychology. A successful leader isn't a psychological manipulator, power grabber, bully, or public relations hack. Success, as it is practiced consciously, brings a better life, inner and outer, to both the leader and the group he leads.

3 Secrets of Charisma! Why Bill Clinton is a charismatic leader

Courtesy of The Chopra Foundation

We'll focus on seven skills that fit a conscious leader, organized into the acronyms LEADERS. Below 
is a thumbnail sketch of these skills, which will be discussed one by one in the next seven posts.

L
Look and listen. Do this with your senses, being an unbiased
observer who has not judged anything in advance. Do this with your heart,
obeying your truest feelings. Finally, do this with your soul, responding with
vision and deep purpose.

E
Emotional bonding. Leading from the soul means going beyond
melodrama and crisis mode, getting rid of emotional toxicity to understand the
specific needs of your followers.

A
Awareness. This means being aware of the following questions
that underlie every challenge: Who am I? What do I want? What does the
situation demand? 
A leader must ask these questions of himself and
inspire his team to ask for
themselves.

D = Doing. A
leader must be action-oriented. In whatever he does he must serve as a role
model, held responsible for the promises he has made. This requires persistence
but also the ability to view any situation with flexibility and
humor.

E = Empowerment.
The soul’s power comes from self-awareness, which is responsive to feedback but
independent of the good or bad opinion of others. Empowerment isn’t selfish. It
raises the status of leader and follower
together.

R
Responsibility. This means showing initiative, taking mature
risks rather than reckless ones, walking the talk, having integrity, and living
up to your inner values. Seen from the level of the soul, a leader’s greatest
responsibility is to lead the group on the path of higher
consciousness.

S
Synchronicity. This is a mysterious ingredient from the
unconscious that all great leaders harness. Synchronicity is the ability to
create good luck and find invisible support that carries a leader beyond
predicted outcomes to a higher plane. In spiritual terms, synchronicity is the
ultimate ability to connect any need with an answer from the soul.