Learning Leadership Takes Time. Just Ask Whole Foods CEO John Mackey

Article by Graham Winfrey at Inc.

Image by Alex Shutin on Unsplash


In the years since John Mackey co-wrote the 2013 bestseller Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, readers have sought out the Whole Foods Market boss to ask one question more than any other: How does one become a conscious leader? Though Mackey and his co-author, Raj Sisodia, touched on the subject of leadership in the book, which argues that business is about more than just making a profit, they left readers wanting more. A lot more.

In September, Mackey published Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business with co-authors Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps. The book offers nine charac­teristics and behaviors that purpose-driven leaders share, but Mackey is the first to admit that learning conscious leadership takes time.

“You can’t read a book and all of a sudden get it,” Mackey says. “You have to practice integrity, you have to practice love, and you have to work with purpose.”

One of the principles discussed in Conscious Leadership is that leaders must keep their team evolving. Con­tinuous improvement is required.

“No matter how great an entre­preneur you might be, if you don’t attract people who up your game and up the game of the organization, you’ll underperform ultimately,” Mackey says.