At work, we often enjoy one another’s friendship, but not a lot of attention is paid to the art of becoming a great team or a great leader. Traci Barrett, Co-Founder of Navigate the Journey, has some recommendations to remedy that. Working as a leadership and strategic consultant, she has helped leaders and teams to improve, and has proven recommendations to help others who would like to do the same.

The Conscious Leader & Three Intelligence Types

As Traci explains, a conscious leader intentionally commits to developing self-awareness and empathy, while empowering teammates to do the same. The term was coined by John Mackey, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Whole Foods Market. In his book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, Mackey outlines three types of intelligence conscious leaders share. Traci walks us through each:

  1. Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Combines the intrapersonal (understanding one’s self) with the interpersonal (understanding others). Empathy and self-awareness are the two pillars of EQ.

  2. Spiritual Intelligence (SQ): The intelligence with which we access our deepest meanings, values, purposes and higher motivations. Spiritual intelligence allows us to distinguish right from wrong.

  3. Systems Intelligence (SYQ): Conscious leaders are excellent organizational architects. They get to the root of problems, and devise fundamental solutions that really solve issues, as opposed to quick fixes.


Improving Your Emotional, Spiritual & Systems Intelligence

Today, more than ever, we need conscious leaders and teams that devote themselves to having a positive impact. By understanding the three types of intelligence, leaders can take their leadership and their teams to the next level. So how do you get started? Here are some approaches Navigate the Journey uses to help leaders and teams improve EQ, SQ and SYQ.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is the great differentiator. It’s what takes you from a good leader to a great leader. As Traci says, “Understanding yourself better, leaning into understanding how others perceive you and how you react emotionally in different situations is key to connecting and communicating well with your teammates. Learning how to read people and adjust to their behavioral styles can take your team to new heights.”

We can increase our EQ through personal development and team development. Here are four tools to help:

  • Role model, mentor or coach: Find people who can help you grow and who will be more honest with you.

  • EQ-i assessment: The EQ-i assessment takes just 15–20 minutes to complete, and gives you a wealth of knowledge in several categories: self perception, how you express yourself, your interpersonal skills, decision making skills and your stress management. It reveals your blind spots, strategies for action and allows you to really understand how those blind spots are tripping you up for success.

  • DiSC assessment: It’s really fun to get the team together and become more self aware as a group using tools like DiSC. As Traci says, when you use such tools to bring the group together, you’re really putting the “human” back in “human resources.” You’re essentially developing a team health department where individual self awareness, leadership training and team development are all the goals. With DiSC, you can plot the entire team and see everyone’s behavioral style as well as what keeps everyone from communicating the best they possibly can.

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: Another great tool is Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Dig deep into your team trust level, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and results.

Spiritual Intelligence (SQ)

Traci defines spiritual intelligence in terms of character and purpose. A leader with high spiritual intelligence understands their own purpose and meaning, and takes it a step further to really understand the purpose, meaning and direction of their company. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, is a great example. In his book Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, he details Starbucks’s 2008 decline and his decision to return as CEO. His goal was to reconnect the company to its core purpose. In doing so, he brought the company back from the brink of disaster and achieved remarkable business gains.

Want to improve your spiritual intelligence? Traci recommends getting clear on three things:

  1. Your own personal mission and vision: A personal mission and vision is just as valuable as a company’s. Michael Hyatt’s Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want is a great resource to help.

  2. Your team mission and vision: Teams need to know where they’re going and why.

  3. Team core values: Core values shape your culture and cement your DNA. Define them, articulate them and operationalize them.

Systems Intelligence (SYQ)

The last intelligence is systems intelligence. Conscious leaders are excellent organizational architects who uncover the true roots of problems and devise solutions that really work. While some leaders lurch from crisis to crisis, others actively work to prevent problems from arising in the first place. To get better at the latter, dial up your SYQ. Traci recommends these tips:

  • Think big picture and teach each other to think big picture: A strategic plan helps people to think strategically about the business. Operating systems such as the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) can also help reboot your leadership, team and business.

  • Develop an accountability chart: As Jim Collins advises in his book Good to Great, get the right people on the bus, and get the wrong people off. Make sure everyone is in the right seat with clear accountability.

  • Have a scorecard: Get clear on goals and communicate the game plan, with feedback loops and dashboards.

A Conscious Decision

In order to be a conscious leader, you need to be a human leader with a full understanding of your intelligence beyond just your ability to do the job. In order for teams to be truly great, you need everyone on the team participating fully. It’s up to us to decide if we want to actively work at our leadership and help our teams to do the same. To re-energize your team, Traci says, “Give them vision, give them direction and measure it.”

If the players on your team have intent and are conscious players, you have the foundation of a great team. And if you take those tools—mission, vision, strategy, an action plan and accountability—you have all the tools to succeed and win. It all comes down to making an intentional choice for yourself and your team.

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