Do you work in an organization that systematically put profits and revenue ahead of associate well-being and inclusion? Have you ever stood by silently or turned a blind eye to avoid being cast as a renegade or troublemaker?

In today’s society, we’ve created a corporate culture of fear, where standing up for personal integrity or demanding accountability for unscrupulous business practices can be a dangerous undertaking. Fear of job loss or facing the wrath of board members are just some of the threats that prevent honest and appropriate debate, dialogue, and reevaluation.

In this environment, can profits and ethics live in the same room? Yes, they can, if you move to a leadership approach called conscious leadership.

Conscious Leaders Risk Taking a Stand

Across the globe, we’ve come to accept that corporations can get away with theft, lying, and corruption.

So who takes the risk to stand up for what is right? Is it necessary that leaders leave corrupt and misleading companies? Perhaps it is.

But maybe the answer lies in having the courage to question norms, push for reform, and demand ethical decision-making. Responsible growth can be a rational and profitable outcome. The first step is to take a stand.

Conscious Leaders Risk Caring for Others

Conscious leadership invites you to take the extra moment to actually care about those you lead and learn about them beyond the formalities of business protocol. Connecting emotionally and establishing a foundational relationship with your associates isn’t because you want to pry into their private lives. Rather, it’s to let them know you care about their well-being. You can demonstrate that you are engaged in knowing their aspirations. And in doing so, you become intentional in your desire to lead them effectively.

Leadership is a human enterprise. The choice is yours as to whether you are willing to take the risk of being genuinely interested in your direct employees beyond the reporting structures that are in place.

The payoff alone is worth it: Forging emotional connections creates associate engagement, motivated team members who are willing to exert that extra degree of effort, and, ultimately, better customer satisfaction that leads to greater profits.

Conscious Leaders Connect to a Vision

Conscious leaders create a vision of the future where ethics, profits, and well-being co-exist and build off each other. But being a visionary is worthless unless others align themselves with this vision.

We all have concepts, plans, and dreams. Bringing these great ideas to fruition by developing strategies, plans, and structures is critical to your success. Believing in your ability as a leader is a risky business. But having a vision demands this type of thoughtful and purposeful leadership.

Conscious Leaders Invite Others

An integral part of being able to realize our visions is to invite those we lead and serve to join us. Yes, invite them!

When your vision is about satisfying your own need for self-aggrandizement or control, others sense this and are reticent to follow. But when your vision includes those you lead in the fruits of your labor and subsequent success, you lift up everyone around you to share in the rewards. And while your ideas may have great potential, they pale when measured against diverse and collective inclusion of those being led.

Conscious Leadership Is Earned

In today’s fast-paced world, respect and trust are not earned simply by title. Leaders must be willing to work by establishing the loyalty and trust of those they serve through their actions, behaviors, and personal connections made with each and every associate.

Dare to dream! Dare to inspire! Being brave is risky. So, too, is standing up for your beliefs or for a friend or associate. But ultimately, such risk-taking is worth the effort. Courage is exactly what will make you stand out in a crowd. It’s how people will recognize you as a conscious leader.

**Originally published at CEO World