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New Paradigm Leadership ‒ The Untapped Solution To 21st Century Challenges

Written by: Kawtar El Alaoui, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it is that the traditional leadership model of command and control is obsolete. Unequipped organizations suffer as the world rapidly shifts into a new paradigm. Employees are leaving in masses; socially injuring systems are being called out, and many leaders are left playing catch up.

While many remain mystified with the shifts emerging on the planet, the answers are available. The difficulty is that the answers do not lie in logic or knowledge alone. This is the source of the gap between our current reality and the emerging future. The new leadership model is no longer about doing, it is about being.

The call to a new kind of leadership

Since the industrial revolution, the dominant leadership paradigm has been the command and control model. It focused solely on profit. On the other hand, the new leadership paradigm is about profit, people, and the planet.

We can no longer continue to ignore the environmental impact of our actions nor perpetuate the life-draining model of leadership based on goals, targets, and money as if our survival is not at stake.

We can no longer ignore the damaging psychological impact of employees being treated as a resource to be exploited rather than to be cultivated and enabled as creative and resourceful beings. Consequently, companies can no longer afford to operate without accountability for their impact.

Dr. Scilla Elworthy, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, says in her new book, The Mighty Heart in Action: “…a new story is now emerging in quantum physics which tells us the whole universe is a unified field. Our lives are a part of a cosmic web of life that connects all life forms in the universe and on the planet.”

The current reckoning is nothing short of a collective dark night of the soul.

What does this mean for leaders and organizations?

Organizations that would like to thrive in the new paradigm will need to implement agile structures, humane policies, and socially responsible decisions. This calls for leadership with authenticity, courage, and compassion.

How do organizations lagging behind bridge the gap?

The answer lies in a leadership model that is evolutionary in nature, yet practical in application. Here are the seven qualities that the new leaders will need to embody to carry organizations into the new paradigm successfully:

1. Conscious communication

As the noise of information overload amplifies in the digital era, combined with the challenges brought about by the transition into remote working, leaders must ensure communication is clear, authentic, and reaches not only the minds but the hearts of their employees, stakeholders, and communities.

In effect, conscious communication requires cultivating the ability to observe action, sense emotional and energetic fields, and communicate with self-awareness and integrity.

2. Whole-brain leadership

Left brain leadership has been stretched beyond its capacities. Far from providing solutions, it is now clearly the cause of problems.

This is because relying on our left brain focuses on survival, which immediately triggers competition and separation. Whole-brain leadership is the ability to expand into the intelligence of our bodies, hearts, and intuition and bring them together into balance with our left-brain skills. It makes emotional and relational intelligence available for decision-making through presence.

Thus, whole-brain leadership enables leaders to use the analytical part of their brains in service to all stakeholders, and a larger vision.

3. Talent and mission-aligned hiring practices

The mass resignations during COVID-19 have sent a clear signal to employers: employees are no longer willing to work only for money.

The new employer of choice will have to provide a psychologically healthy workplace with a clearly defined and compelling mission and vision.

Millennials are a different breed of workers and creators. They value their time, well-being, and are in constant search for meaning. To remain competitive, employers need to provide a workplace where these employees can thrive, be creative, and use their talents and knowledge in the service of a better world. And leaders will need to enable Self-leadership.

The good news is humans are inherently resourceful and motivated when working from their zone of genius. Employers have much to gain in investing in a workplace that values working smart more than just working hard.

Last year, I was coaching an entrepreneur to align with his zone of genius and bring his vision for 2022 to life. Within 3 months of working together, he had reached his goals for an integrated work-family life, increased his team’s productivity with minimal work hours, and reached more than a third of his financial target for 2022. It was even before the year began. This came as a result of re-organizing his activities based on his strengths, aligning his work with his values, and leveraging his team’s strengths and interests.

4. Values-based decision making

Organizational cultures often begin with defining values and die not living them.

Stakeholders and employees lose trust when organizations and leaders are incongruent with the values they preach.

Values need to be the North Star that guides decisions and enables employees to be an active part of creating a thriving and socially responsible organization.

In short, values create a shared vision and a sense of belongingness and purpose that can turn the most disengaged employees into shining stars.

5. Trauma-informed relating

Trauma in our social body is increasing and becoming more apparent through the COVID-19 crisis. When leaders do not recognize the signs of trauma, they risk worsening its detrimental effects on the physical and mental health of their workforce.

I have worked with disability files firsthand and being a trauma survivor myself, and trained as a trauma-informed coach, I recognize the signs.

A couple of years ago, after speaking with a leader, I came to know about one of their employees and recognized some signs. The leader was wondering what to do with their “problem employee.” I explained to them my perspective and offered to introduce them to a colleague who specializes in trauma-release work. They had a compassionate, yet firm conversation with their employee and offered them to take up qualified support.

Luckily, this employee was aware of their behaviour’s impact on their colleagues, and how it was alienating them, so they agreed. Within six months, they became a much improved team member and high achiever.

The extent to which trauma is confused for incompetence is inimical to the employees’ health and to the economy.

6. Cultural adaptability

One of the digital workplace opportunities is having remote teams in different locations across the globe. Leading a cross-cultural team requires awareness of cultural differences and understanding human motivators.

As a cross-cultural leadership coach and mediator, I have supported executives spanning from the Middle-East to Europe, from Africa to Asia in navigating cultural differences.

The most successful global executives have three things in common: an understanding of themselves and their cultural context, a curiosity for other cultures, and admiration for the resourcefulness found in diversity.

7. Deep listening to the social body

To thrive in the 21st century, organizations will have to be sensitive and flexible to adapt to socially relevant issues. As consumers become more aware of the power of their decisions, and the dangers our world faces, they will continuously challenge, and may eventually abandon companies whose effects are deemed harmful to specific groups or society at large.

To counter this, organizations must create holistic, sustainable, accountable, and responsible environments for shareholders, society, and future generations.

Conscious Leadership for a better world

Collectively, these seven qualities will enable a new and powerful kind of leadership. Leaders and their teams will work smarter instead of just harder: promote well-being, sense of belongingness and shared purpose, empower and cultivate their employees’ gifts, and encourage interconnectedness with their communities. And still be profitable. If you would like to explore a step by step model to implement conscious leadership in your team and organization, reach out by email.

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Kawtar El Alaoui, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kawtar El Alaoui. LL. B, PCC is a thought leader, global conscious leadership coach, facilitator and mentor. Her work redefines leadership from the inside out and enables leaders and teams to reach their highest potential. Kawtar’s conscious leadership model weaves self-awareness, conscious communication and collaboration, conflict transformation, social equity, trauma-informed relating, and values-driven decision making.

She is the Founder and CEO of Conscious Togetherness, Inc.

Kawtar is Faculty and Mentor with Leadership That Works India, Facilitator with the Business Plan for Peace in the UK, and Leadership Advisor with She Did It! Ell a osé! In Canada.



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