The Key Every Great Leader Knows to Grow Yourself

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”         – Albert Einstein 

As a leader in your organization you are responsible for the growth of the business and sometimes that can be a heavy burden to bear. However, as Einstein observed, growing your business depends on growing yourself. I’m not talking about upping your technical skills, becoming a better coach or expanding your business acumen. I’m talking about growing your own personal consciousness and achieving your full potential.

Businessman with thoughtful expression considering thoughts in his mindIt started with Maslow

In the early days of human consciousness study, Abraham Maslow theorized that people passed through a series of stages to reach their full potential. It starts with the achievement of basic needs such as food, water and shelter, and moves up until one becomes self-actualized and seeks ongoing personal growth and fulfillment. He looked to Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Ghandi and Beethoven as examples of fully actualized people.

Barrett takes it up a notch

More recently, Richard Barrett, author of The Values-Driven Organization: Unleashing Human Potential for Performance and Profit evolved Maslow’s hierarchy of needs into a model of consciousness with seven levels.

“The ability to measure consciousness gives you the opportunity, if you so wish, to manage your own evolution and the evolution of the human group structures in which you are embedded,” says Richard Barrett. If you can pull yourself up the psychological development ladder then you will have the capacity to pull the rest of the organization up with you.

So let’s see where you might be on the personal consciousness spectrum.

Summary of the 7 Levels

  1. Surviving: Satisfying your physiological needs by learning how to stay alive, keep fit and healthy, and staying free from harm.
  2. Conforming: Keeping safe and nurtured by those around you by being loyal to your family, kin, colleagues and culture.
  3. Differentiating: Finding ways to be admired and recognized by your parents and peers by excelling at what you do best.
  4. Individuating: Letting go of the aspects of your parental and cultural conditioning that prevent you from becoming who you really are.
  5. Self-actualizing: Becoming fully who you are by finding your sense of purpose and leading a values-driven life.
  6. Integrating: Aligning with others who share your values and purposes to make a difference in the world.
  7. Serving: Fulfilling your destiny by leaving a legacy and using your gifts in service to the world.

Where do you fit in?

Now that you’re aware of the 7 levels of development, where do you fit in?  Which levels do you feel you’ve mastered and which ones could be your next opportunity for growth? Think about the leaders you admire most and how they’re operating. And when you consider the leaders of your competition, have they stretched themselves to a higher level? If you really want a peek into where you stand, take this quick survey.

Your next steps

I’ve got three good reads for you:

Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Businessby John Mackey, Co-CEO of Whole Foods

The Values-Driven Organization: Unleashing Human Potential for Performance and Profit by Richard Barrett, founder of the Values Centre

Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives by Kip Tindell, Chairman and CEO, the Container Store

Find out more about how a detailed leadership assessment can pinpoint where you are on the leadership consciousness scale and provide you with a path for growth.

Note: Please put “leadership assessment” in the subject line and I’ll send you more information right away.

Steve Jobs didn’t just build computers, Walt Disney didn’t create just a park full of roller coasters and Tony Hsieh of Zappos didn’t just sell shoes. That’s because they evolved as leaders and broadened their perspective. And they brought their employees, customers and shareholders along with them.

So often we get caught up in the day to day and find ourselves as passive passengers on planet Earth. I invite you to stand up, take ownership of your own personal consciousness growth, and let’s ignite your potential to be a great leader!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Stay up to date on organizational culture via our Fuel for Thought updates. Plus you will receive our complimentary Leadership Impact Guide.

Scroll to Top