Carolin Fourie is a Managing Partner at Signium having joined the Executive Search Industry in 2001. Together with her experienced team in Munich she has successfully completed numerous national and international assignments and has covered a great v...
27 October 2021
The leadership culture determines the success of a company – especially in uncertain times. Great teamwork requires conscious leadership. Carolin Fourie, Managing Partner at Signium Germany, is convinced of this. In an interview, the HR consultant explains what managers can learn from the concept of “Conscious Leadership” and apply to their own style of leadership.
Demands on managers are increasing. In economically volatile times, long-term success becomes a challenge. How do top executives prepare themselves for the future?
Carolin Fourie: As a systemic business coach and as an executive search consultant, I am interested in the holistic approach and right fit. The concept of “Conscious Leadership”, coined by John Mackey, offers valuable suggestions. According to this methodology, Purpose is the core element of every company. “What is our contribution?” “What is our raison d’être?” Whether we are talking about for-profit or non-profit organizations, this Purpose must be clear and understood by every employee. It must be breathed and lived. Sustainability and social contribution are part of it. The objective: to develop win-win solutions for all stakeholders, for long-term planning, for value creation and innovation. This requires leadership with empathy, integrity and mindfulness. In other words, a “healthy culture.” Motivation of all employees is significant, continuous learning and personal development of the individual as well as of the team are core tasks of the leadership.
Speaking about Purpose: What connection do you see between Conscious Leadership and sustainability?
It is wrong to think that only non-profit organizations can make a sustainable contribution. The sustainable use of environmental resources, energy and social responsibility are part of a company’s Purpose. This corporate principle must be lived and credibly represented. Otherwise, this central statement will not be accepted by either employees or customers. Some industries are well ahead of others in terms of sustainability, but as sustainability KPIs are now anchored in boardroom objectives, progress in general is finally picking up speed.
How do you define a credible leader? What importance do mindfulness and acceptance of mistakes have in this aspect?
It’s about having the courage to seize opportunities and to promote innovation. Mistakes happen, a good leader looks at recurring mistakes and strives to avoid them. Good leadership fosters a culture of pro-activeness towards challenges, pressure and change, instead of passive reactions. Teamwork is critical, supporting each other, trust and a positive approach towards change are key for success. Emotional intelligence and integrity are of great importance in our fast-paced world. Every good idea counts, no matter who shared it. In such an environment, the potential of diverse teams can be realized and innovation flourishes. Individual team members do not suffer from loss of motivation or burn out.
In which industries and sectors do you see the greatest potential for a change towards conscious leadership?
Generally speaking, in industries such as construction or mechanical & plant engineering, quite a few companies are still rather traditionally led. However, I would like to tie this more to individual organizations and less to an industry. We executive search consultants have a good understanding of which companies are still managed hierarchically, which are lacking a good personal development strategy, or a positive company culture. We know accordingly where it is easy to inspire people to take on new challenges.
How can conscious leadership contribute to the success of organizations?
Using Finance as an example, the working atmosphere is often particularly demanding. CFOs have to make sure that financial statements, reporting, deadlines, due diligence projects, etc. are met and delivered on time. This often leads to pressure and long working hours. Companies that promote team play across all levels and focus on trust and integrity expand the scope for employees to make stronger individual contributions and establish trustful working relationships. Often, employees are challenged, but they should be supported and empowered at the same extent. With diversity and openness to inhomogeneity, the management enables broad career paths.
We are in an applicant market. Many companies struggle in finding talents across all management levels. The success of an organization is undoubtedly tied to good leadership. Work from home is here to stay, and again the basis for success in virtual cooperation is trust and motivation. In my eyes conscious leadership is the future.