Role of a Leader – Harness Collective Conscience
Collective conscience has remained a relatively unknown obscure concept even though it is highly pervasive and all around us. Coming together of two or more individuals results in the formation of collective conscience. As the group gets bigger, multiple sub-group get formed with each sub-group having a shared purpose and a goal and thus, collective conscience. An organization is a collection of teams, each with a specific purpose forming the whole and thus multiple levels of collective conscience at play. Each node of an organization structure signifies a presence of collective conscience.
The groups with coherence in collective conscience perform much better, happier, and enjoy mutual co-existence. Great leaders have intuitively deployed techniques to harness the collective consciousness. The world of management education has remained ignorant of its impact and its critical role in success and failures.
It appears to be principles in nature that individual consciousness affects collective consciousness and that internally coherent systems possess the ability to repel external influences, while incoherent systems are easily penetrated by disorder from outside. This principle in science is also known as the Meissner effect or simply a Field effect.
Coherence in Collective Consciousness.
The primary determinant of the quality of life in society is the degree of coherence or integration in the collective consciousness. Maharishi states that the result of a coherent collective consciousness is integration between individual desires and the needs of the society as a whole. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). Maharishi cognized this principle and demonstrated its application at the level of the city by bringing down the crime rates etc and global peace by avoidance of national conflict and wars. This paper shows the application in the space of corporate leadership.
In every organization, there is individual and collective consciousness at play. Whether we believe in it or not, understand it or not, it exists and influences the individual consciousness with an exponential impact on the effectiveness of collective actions. Family, teams, organizations, religions, cults, nations, and similar are all examples of collective consciousness. Nature applies the same principles of consciousness whether an individual or a small/ big group.
Understanding of Vedic knowledge, an encyclopedia of unmanifest consciousness in all its aspects, enables harnessing of consciousness at both individual and collective levels.
Attention: Consciousness Energy Flow
Humans are endowed with a finite amount of conscience energy. Energy flows with attention. Attention is driven by the interest of the mind, heart, and intellect.
Action is effective when accompanied by attention and ineffective otherwise. Undivided attention yields the most effective outcome whereas divided attention results in a below-par outcome. (Refer for more on it. http://rakeshgupta.me/human-faculties-parts-of-wholeness/)
The success of a leader to fulfill the team’s mission lies in his capability and competency to draw and retain the attention of the team members. More the collective attention, the easier the success. The effectiveness of action is the extent of total attention that is contributing to the effect.
Attention is diluted at the individual level and collective level. It is the role of the leader to plug the points of leakage.
“Consciousness is all there is”. Conscience primarily composed of human faculties of mind, heart, and intellect. Similarly, a collective mind, collective heart, and collective intent form the core of collective consciousness.
The mind seeks the fulfillment of physical needs referred to as survival and safety needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. While the heart seeks growth in value and self-worth among the people, referred to as identity and self-worth in Maslow’s hierarchy.
Intentions behind the action are judged as right, wrong, good, bad, ugly, etc by the intellect – a human faculty, the storehouse of accumulated experiences in the past. The intention is like a direction guiding human attention. Thus, it is the intent behind the action that determines the righteousness of the direction for fulfilling the intent.
Attention reflects a net effect of interest of mind, the interest of heart, and judgment of righteousness by the intellect.
Attention – Effectiveness of Action
Attention is the prime reflector of one’s consciousness. Whatever one puts their attention on, grows in their life. Undivided attention on a thing enhances its size and makes it easy to achieve. Likewise, the undivided attention of a team enhances the size of the team’s intention and makes it easier to fulfill.
Attention is driven by an interest in the outcome and the intent. Effectiveness is at the peak with self-determined actions but stands significantly diluted when instructed. The reason being missing knowledge and experience that informs the intentions and enables one to judge the righteousness of their action. Lack of trust in the person giving the instruction further erodes the effectiveness.
Actions are performed by the employees (read individual consciousness) but the interest in outcome and intent behind the action is owned by the organization (read collective consciousness). In absence of the relevant knowledge and wisdom, employees are unable to judge by themselves the righteousness of imposed and thus, dilution of attention and effectiveness of their action.
Effectiveness may be enhanced with a coherent functioning of its parts – Individual and collective consciousness involved. The primary role of the leader is to address these gaps in knowledge and experience to strengthen the sense of ownership among the employees and harness the coherence of collective consciousness.
Coherent Collective Consciousness
Incoherent Collective Consciousness
Key Diluters of Human Attention
Indirect connection with interest and intent dilutes the effectiveness of individual actions.
- Interest in the outcome – Conflict, and confusion in the mind of employees weaken their interest in the outcome.
- Value Conflict –“ What is it for me?” : Employees remain unsure about the value of their contribution to the organization as well as their share in the organizational success.
- Every employee has a choice to pay their attention to their personal interest or organizational interest. While he has knowledge and understanding of value gained or foregone in case of pursuing his own interest but lacks a corresponding level of knowledge and understanding about the organizational interest. The picture remains hazy and speculative of his contribution as well as his share in organizational gain. Which is a better choice? This confusion and conflict between known v/s unknown weaken his interest as well as his intent resulting in diluted effectiveness of action.
- Multiple goals: Confusion arises as the employee is obligated to simultaneously fulfill multiple goals arising from his role, divisional targets, organizational targets of the period, and in the long run. These targets are often perceived to be incongruent, contradicting each other. The presence of multiple goals leads to a confused mind and divided attention resulting in diluted effectiveness
Employees often lack relevant knowledge and experience to judge good/ bad, right/wrong about imposed actions. Even when they do and have ideas to improve, they are not allowed to experiment. This lack of knowledge about the righteousness of their action and lack of empowerment weakens their intent significantly and thus dilution of effectiveness. Their mind may be paying attention at best but their heart does not.
Lacking clarity, employees observe their organizational leader for behaviors displaying his interest and intent towards the organizational goals.
It is the role of the leader to help resolve these confusions and conflicts with a coherent set of policies, practices, leader’s behavior, and trustworthy track-record. In fact, irrespective of their title, one who does address these, emerges a natural leader of the masses.
Vedic Mantra for Aspiring Leaders
A leader who understands and has the competency to plug the massive leak of effectiveness is a natural leader. Such a leader delivers disproportionately better performance, is respected, trusted, admired, and remember by his people even long after he is gone.
- Earn Trust: Employees pay attention to a leader they trust and have their confidence to deliver the goods. Hence trust is critically important in a journey to the team’s fulfillment.
A leader can enhance trust in him/her by being a 24/7 role model of predictable behavior and decision making that is coherent with the defined collective consciousness. Practicing and preaching that is aligned with organizational mission. Morality, Mind + Oral, means ‘practice what you preach’ and ‘do what you say and say what you do’.
- Enhanced Engagement: A feel-good factor. Employee centric working culture, facilities, policies, and practices drawing the attention of existing and potential employees.
Engagement by itself is a cost, an expensive proposition that is costly to sustain and even more painful to let go of. Engagement becomes an investment with growing returns when seen in the context of collective consciousness.
- Alignment between individual Mind and Heart: Secret to sustain the attention
Fulfilling the physical needs of survival and safety satiates the mind. While an increasing potential to full fill the desires satiates the heart. Fulfilling both the mind and heart draws and holds the maximum attention of the employees towards the organization and its mission.
- Shape the Collective Conscious: Enhancing the visibility of collective conscience enables harnessing of it.
- Entangle Minds and Hearts- alignment of personal interests with that of the organization.
A visible link between value contribution and corresponding share of the individual in the team’s success. Reward and recognition fairly and transparently based on contribution.
Celebrating small success sets up the stage of bigger success by holding the attention of employees towards the organizational mission.
The attention and success form a vicious spiral loop wherein enhanced attention and enhanced success feed in the growth of each other.
- Entangle Intellect: A consistent approach in decision making across the organization.
Principles to judge right, wrong, good, bad, etc that is coherent with the organizational mission and thus, enhanced alignment of the individual intent(s) with that of the organizational collective intent.
Predefined priority ranking among the goals and sub-goals enables conflict resolution in a choice of righteous action when more than one goal and sub-goals are clashing. In a normal scenario, collective consciousness is like a light from an ordinary bulb that diminishes in a limited range. A consistent decision making across the organization transforms the collective attention into a highly focussed narrow-band laser light.
Relevant knowledge and wisdom to understand and be able to judge for themselves right, wrong, good, bad, etc results in an instantaneously right decision.
The harnessing of individual and collective consciousness is a secret gateway to tap into an unlimited hidden reservoir of talent and energy potential of every human being.
Aligning individual interest, intention, and attention with that of the organization is a secret Vedic key to open the gateway to the fulfillment of both the short term goals of profit and growth as well as the long-term mission. And in parallel fulfilling the needs, desires, and aspirations of many employees including the leader – Vasudhaiva Kutumbhkum meaning the whole world is my family.
If you find yourself or your organization mired with these problems, then it is time to change. If you continue to do what you have been doing, You will continue to get what you have been getting. If you want a different outcome, do things differently. This knowledge may be a good start for aspiring leaders or management education.
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