The Mindful Leader
Before you dismiss mindfulness as new age rhetoric, pay attention to the research. Recent studies in management science, psychology and neuroscience point to the importance of developing mindfulness and having a meditation practice that supports you both personally and professionally.
Mindfulness meditation has long been practiced by Buddhists and others seeking greater calm and peace of mind. A Buddhist-trained HR executive, Michael Carroll encourages business leaders to take time to sit and be still. Stressed-out executives, he maintains, need a way to reconnect with themselves to become more open and, consequently, more effective.
Mindfulness meditation addresses a wide range of topics, including:
- How to heal toxic workplace cultures where anxiety and stress impede creativity and performance
- How to cultivate courage and confidence in spite of workplace difficulties and economic recession
- How to pursue organizational goals without neglecting what’s happening here and now
- How to lead with wisdom and gentleness, not only with ambition, relentless drive and power
- How a personal meditation practice develops your innate leadership talents
Recent research highlights the many benefits of mindfulness meditation:
- Repaired immune systems
- Heightened emotional intelligence
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Sustained levels of joy and satisfaction
- Greater career resilience
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Fewer days lost to illness and stress
But practicing meditation requires much…well, practice. It demands vulnerability and heart, rather than ambition and achievement—a tall order for hard-driving, results-oriented executives.
The Art of No Achievement
Practice mindfulness meditation with non-achievement in mind. Meditation’s benefits are attained by exercising unseen “leadership muscles” as you sit still.
Ten leadership talents and states of mind developed through meditation:
These skills develop with practice and can then be applied with a natural ease and familiarity.
As you know from experience, leading others is no small task, requiring a poised, courageous, down-to-earth acknowledgment of reality.
When you slow down, you gain a realistic picture of what’s going on instead of speeding through your day—or worse, speeding through your life.
Self-Awareness Facilitates Change
Being unaware, we unconsciously engage our default behavior. Only when we become aware of something, are we able to make choices as to the action we wish to take. Sometimes, just being aware allows the problem to solve us–rather than requiring us to solve the problem.
We really don’t know how the world works. We only perceive how the world works and our unique perception is based upon who we are and what we are aware of that is happening around us.
Here is a mental model to use in your world:
- Beliefs influence perception.
- Perceptions structures reality.
- Reality suggests possibilities.
- Possibilities generate choices.
- Choices initiate actions.
- Actions affect outcomes.
- Outcomes impact beliefs.
- Awareness facilitates change