In his new book Developing the Conscious Leadership Mindset for the 21st Century, Jeffrey Deckman discusses the serious problems facing leaders using traditional, old-style authoritative management methods and how they are affecting all of us both on political and business levels. Most importantly, he provides an enlightened paradigm and concrete tools for any leader wishing to create an environment that encourages innovation, employee engagement, and profitability. Jeffrey Deckman is interviewed by Howard VanEs, president of Let’s Write Books, Inc.
HV: What exactly is Conscious Leadership and how does this differ from other forms of leadership? Tweet This
JD: Conscious leadership is a fundamental shift in both the mindsets and methods away from the traditional industrial age, command and control – top/down linear leadership paradigms that have defined the past two centuries.
It is a paradigm that shifts both the model for and the role of management away from ones that employ the restrictive forces of power, authority, and structure to ones the uses the energizing forces of influence, empowerment, and form to create the conditions that allows people to contribute more of their intelligence, capabilities, and energies in ways that serve both their desires for growth and the organization’s need for profits.
It promotes the idea that leadership is a state of consciousness and that people truly only become followers of those who they respect as having a high degree of authenticity, integrity, and respect for others. It uses as its model the idea of leaders more as wise, protective tribal elders as opposed to those who will sacrifice others to get results.
It starts with embracing the mindset that the first step on the path of leadership is an inward one; and so are all the rest. That the best leaders are those who are not driven by the passions of the mind, but who are committed to serving the needs of their “tribe” with wisdom, empathy, discipline, discretion, and self-control.
In other words, they allow their actions to be controlled by their “inner elder” as opposed to their egos.
HV: What inspired you to write a book about Conscious Leadership?
JD: I wrote Developing the Conscious Leadership Mindset for the 21st Century to address several serious problems that traditional leadership mindsets and methods are creating and worsening in two vital areas that affect us all in one way or another. These areas are: business and political.
We are currently facing a crisis in leadership in this country as a result of the consciousness and sophistication of people outgrowing the traditional leadership models that are far too paternalistic, too Newtonian, and even too patronizing to be effective in today’s fast paced, technology driven Information and Innovation age.
Business: Traditional industrial age power-based thinking that defines management as being smarter and more important than the workforce are not only primitive, but they are embarrassingly ignorant to the value of the collective genius and capabilities of the workforce.
While sufficient, and even effective, for the relatively slow moving and stable world of the industrial age, that thinking is now a severe liability in a workplace that has the four most independent minded, educated, and mobile generations in history in the workforce and which is experiencing rates of change that are increasing exponentially in both speed and complexity.
Manpower, efficiency and repetition used to be the key drivers of performance and profits in the industrial age. Today it is mindpower, effectiveness, and adaptability. These changes are demanding fundamental changes in leadership mindsets, models, and methods. This book provides modern leaders with relevant and proven tools to help them adapt to the new reality in which they must lead.
Political: Far too many of our modern political leaders are too narcissistic, ego driven and power based. They are more focused upon self-aggrandizement than they are devoted to the long-term health and well-being as well as the resiliency of “tribe”. As a result, they are focused upon building and empowering themselves and the institutions that empower them as opposed to the empowerment of individuals they are supposed to be serving.
The advent of social media is serving to severely exasperate this situation by giving ego driven, inauthentic individuals a platform to create well-crafted brands and messages designed by media experts to sway the opinions of trusting people.
Because the ego side of the equation is growing, the “elder” side of the equation must grow as well, or we will all suffer.
This book speaks to the mindsets and methods that will help those men and women who are truly servant leaders to expedite their growth, increase their impact, and give them tools to help develop the next generation of conscious leaders.
Never before has leading with authenticity, integrity, and respect been more important to our companies, our communities, and our culture”
HV: Who is Developing the Conscious Leadership Mindset for the 21st Century written for?
JD: This book is for both experienced and emergent leaders who see the role of a leader to be that of a master communicator, collaborator, and facilitator of the needs of those they are in service of today while insuring the long-term well-being of those who will follow.
For the experienced leader it will help them to shorten their learning curves on their way to becoming their unique version of a conscious leader. It will support and expand their thinking. It will give them new tools and will help them shift from traditional methods to the new methods without losing effectiveness.
It will also help them “unlearn” some of the traditional methods they learned on their path to their current positions.
For the emergent leader it will do the same as above but will also help them to avoid going down the path of command and control to begin with. That will expedite both their success and the success of those fortunate enough to be in their tribe.
HV: What will leaders get out of reading Developing the Conscious Leadership Mindset for the 21st Century?
JD: Highly effective and field-tested mindsets, models, and methods to transform your leadership effectiveness in the front lines of business or politics.
More important though is that the book will help them to expand their consciousness and levels of self-awareness from where they currently are to their next natural step. Then it can be re-read from that new level in order to take the reader to their next level beyond that; and so on.
The book is uniquely designed to meet the leader where they are and provides them with a pathway to grow to their next level of conscious leadership; whatever that may be for as long as they want to continue to grow.
So, they will get a tool that they can continuously use on their growth throughout their career but that also serves as a hands-on field manual to help them and their teams to deal with front line issues and crises as they arise in real time.
This book is also designed to be used as a highly effective self-teaching tool for an entire management team to elevate their cultural consciousness leadership.
It is the gift that keeps giving, in many ways, for many years.
HV: What is the single most important piece of advice you can offer someone leading a company or organization today?
JD: Realize and embrace the fact that human capital is far more valuable than financial capital in today’s world. Money doesn’t make money any more than money loses money. It takes people to do either and both.
And it is the level of consciousness of the leaders and managers in the organization that determines the level of profits that the people generate.
HV: How has your background and experience in the leadership space prepared you to write this book?
JD: I have had the opportunity to experience pretty much the full range of experience one can make on the path of leadership, outside of the military.
I began my career out of high school as a “grunt” on a cable television line crew. From there I became a lineman, a tower worker, a field engineer, a foreman, supervisor, manager and eventually the CEO of two of my own companies, both of which I started from scratch and boot strapped to multi-million-dollar firms in the technology sector. I have also founded and built non-profits and political/community organizations.
So, I have spent forty years in the real world and on the front lines in the full contact, unforgiving business and political worlds. I have experienced my share of successes, devastating failures and have had to learn how to manage tremendous levels of stress.
But more important is that I have been a devoted student of Native American, Taoist, and Eckist spiritual teachings for 30 years and counting. An important part of my journey was twelve years of intense study that fundamentally transformed me from being an ego-based leader to becoming more “elder” based.
The combination of these experiences in both the business and spiritual realms have combined to show me the perspectives and truths which I am sharing in this book and which can be used by anyone who desires to use them.
HV: Your book is experiential, including theory and at the same time you made it a workbook. What was your thinking behind this and what do you hope readers will gain from this format?
I set several aggressive but clearly defined goals that I wanted this book to achieve. And I promised myself that if I couldn’t achieve all of them throughout the book, I wouldn’t publish any of it until all of it did.
Those goals were: It had to be truly innovative—not simply evolutionary. It also had to be relevant—designed to address real world conditions and firmly rooted. Third, it had to have utility. It had to provide tools that could be “learned today and leveraged tomorrow” by those women and men on the front lines of operational leadership. Then I wanted it to be understandable, relatable, and written in such a way that it helps the reader grow by meeting them wherever they currently are on their path of conscious leadership and will help them to grow to their next natural level…over and over again as their understanding of each concept evolves and deepens over time.
In other words, I didn’t want to make people’s heads hurt when they read it, regardless of their level of experience. I wanted it to intrigue and energize them not fatigue and frustrate them.
I also wanted to write it in a format so that it could be used as both a self-teaching tool, and as a tool that an entire management team could use to conduct internal training classes that will shorten their learning curves on the way to creating an entire team of conscious leaders.
My personal and professional goals are always to help people become as self-sufficient as possible—as personally empowered as possible while simultaneously being excellent stewards and caretakers of the organization that supports them and to which they are responsible for caring for.
But perhaps my most important goal was that I didn’t want to write a book that would be read once and put away. I wanted it to be worthy of staying within arm’s reach so that it can serve more people, more often to help them build healthy, resilient and profitable organizations, communities and maybe even families.
I did my best to hit those targets to be of greater service to the reader and those who are fortunate enough to be led by them. It’s all about creating positive ripples in a world hungry for them.
HV: What was most surprising to you about the writing process?
JD: I could write a whole book around the answer to this question alone.
But I think the one thing I didn’t really expect, and which is not only lingering but is continuing to grow, is how much I love and respect the entire process of starting at the beginning of the unknown and ending up at a place I couldn’t have imagined, but had prayed to be led to.
I learned things about myself that I never knew. I gained a deeper understanding and respect for the work itself. I learned how I write. I found, accepted and ultimately embraced my unique writer’s voice which gifted me with a deeper acceptance of myself as a creative person.
And I am finally no longer simply admiring writers and yearning to someday be one. I am one. And I learned that I was one all along, I just didn’t know it until I did it.
I also was both amazed and at times incredibly frustrated by the fact that the book just wouldn’t leave me alone. I have been trying to write a version of this work for five years and had many false starts and wrote volumes of stuff that I had to junk. But the thought of walking away wasn’t an option. Then all of a sudden, I hit a breakthrough and it all flowed and within six months I went from nothing to a having a book that I am really proud of in my hands.
HV: What made you decide to self-publish this book instead of seeking out a traditional publisher? Tweet This
JD: Because of the nature of the work and the uniqueness of its content and approach I took, I wanted control of the creative process and the end product.
I also wanted control of the timing. I didn’t want to have to rush to meet some deadline imposed upon someone else for a reason that wasn’t important to either me or the work.
I also knew that the contents of this book were coming when it was coming and often I had to wait on the next piece to be revealed before I could write the next piece. I didn’t want to have pressures that would weaken the content.
On the other side, in the event the content was flowing quicker I also didn’t want to have to wait on someone else to fit me into whatever schedule they had that I didn’t care about.
So, I wanted to have total control over the product, and I wanted to be able to protect the “birthing” process from outside influences or pressures. I felt as though my main role in this process was to not only be a catalyst and vehicle for this work and this thinking to be manifested, but I also had an obligation to protect it from unnecessary influences and pressures that could weaken its content and therefore its effectiveness and ultimate impact for people.
With that being said without your help this book NEVER would be published in its current form and certainly not now. I don’t feel I self-published. I see you as my publisher. And I am forever grateful to you as my partner and the midwife of this process!
HV: Thank you! It has been both and pleasure and honor to work with you on this book.
Both the Kindle and Paperback versions of Developing the Conscious Leadership Mindset for the 21st Century are available on Amazon.com by clicking link below.
An award-winning serial entrepreneur and recognized leadership thought-leader, Jeffrey Deckman develops and teaches the modern leadership and organizational methods necessary for businesses to succeed in this highly competitive new economy. He is the creator of the Bigger Know Principles of Leadership and is the author of Developing the Conscious Leadership Mindset for the 21st Century.