The conscience of a Leader

When I was in school, I was deeply impacted by a chapter from Letters from a Father to a Daughter by Jawaharlal Nehru that he had written to Indira in her growing up years. I went on to read the book and one of the quotes that stayed with me, I am sharing with you here… 

‘Never do anything in secret or anything that you would wish to hide. For the desire to hide anything means that you are afraid, and fear is a bad thing and unworthy of you. Be brave, and all the rest follows. We are not afraid of what we do or what we say. We work in the sun and in the light. Even so in our private lives let us make friends with the sun and work in the light and do nothing secretly…and if you do so, my dear, you will grow up a child of the light, unafraid and serene and unruffled, whatever may happen.” Jawaharlal Nehru

The reason I write this piece today, is in the course of my career I have been the fodder for gossip of various kinds and from my relationships with people to my partners I worked with, to the life I chose to lead and the way I behaved at work, everything was under the radar for various reasons. The only way I navigated through all of this and could stay unfazed and unapologetic of my choices was because I had the courage of someone who was unwaveringly sincere. I credit a lot of this to my upbringing and the value systems my family collectively nurtured in me. 

Some people manage it very well, their conscience. It doesn’t haunt or plague them, and it doesn’t irk them when they indulge themselves in something that isn’t entirely ethical or somewhat of questionable integrity. While the world is a lot of shades of grey, there are distinct areas that are identifiably not ok, and some behaviour cannot be condoned. It’s a struggle when you have a strong conscience that keeps you to your path of sincerity and this is largely because everything you do, you do right, despite who is watching or not. 

There is a higher purpose in context of leadership that is above personal gain or growth, and this also distills into the business purpose. Recognising this early in the leadership journey can give us far more sustainable ways of developing leadership styles and skills. 

Leadership is all about people and when you are dealing with people and relationships, the best way is to lead with empathy and clarity. As a conscious leader, you bring your entire self into the space of work you do and masked identities or a game face may not work and may also not be sustainable to keep up in the long run. 

As a leader driven by conscience, here are some essential values to uphold considering that people look up to balanced leadership which also has a direct impact on productivity and work culture. 

  • Stay responsible and own up to your failures and successes alike.
  • Be transparent and clear and honest in all transactions.
  • Commit to your role, your people and your organisation.
  • Stay infinitely curious without jaded layers of judgement.
  • Stay away from negativity, gossip and steer clear of personal attacks.
  • Use empathy, emotional intelligence and feelings to guide you.
  • Lead with integrity and respect.
  • Be kind, appreciate and recognise effort.
  • Play it fair, play it right and play for the team. 

Conscious leaders are not born, they are made, and they are made at every moment of choice and with every decision they take…

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Shreya Krishnan
Vice President - Marketing and Communications at Aon India Insurance Brokers
Shreya is a CSR Specialist and Corporate Grooming Consultant. Her interests lie in Activism, Dance, Theatre, Poetry, Blogging, Modelling, Acting. She considers herself an Earth Warrior and is an Event Anchor and Trainer. She is a Pageant Winner and public speaker.

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