In today’s professional world, we are living in an age where we are producing more with fewer resources. As a result, we have increased responsibilities and increased stress. Many times, our body will reside in the present moment, but our mind will be drifting somewhere else. Leading mindfully improves personal and professional success. Many top executives are communicating to others about mindfulness and how it benefits their organizations and communities.
We all have the opportunity to be leaders in everything that we do, even if we don’t have a fancy title. Uniting mindfulness with leadership can give individuals and organizations competitive advantages. When researching mindful leaders the most common concepts that are discussed are focus, attention, purpose, reflection, transparency, and resilience. All of these can relate back to the seven attributes of mindfulness.I am currently reading two books about mindful leadership. The first book, Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership is written by Janice L. Marturano, Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership. She defines a mindful leader as someone who embodies leadership presence by cultivating focus, clarity, creativity, and compassion in the service of others. These four natural abilities of the mind can be trained and strengthened. Janice discusses that by practicing mindfulness, we will tend to notice the times we are being mindless a lot more often. We can train our brains to come back to the present moment if we are wandering.
The second book is The Mindful Leader by Michael Carroll. This book introduces the following ten principles and how to integrate them with mindfulness and leadership in the workplace: simplicity, poise, respect, courage, confidence, enthusiasm, patience, awareness, skillfulness, and humility. Carroll writes, “When we lead a career that is sharply focused on being more successful, more admired, or just more comfortable, we can deceive ourselves into neglecting the world around us. We end up managing our lives like projects rather than actually living them. Consequently, for mindful leaders, cultivating this ability to be at work and throughout our lives is not just a nice idea or an interesting thing to do. Rather, by learning to be at work we discover how to stop kidding ourselves and respect the world around us.”
This quote spoke directly to me. I remember a time when my work took priority and my whole life was on auto-pilot. Since practicing mindfulness and incorporating it with my leadership, I have gained self-knowledge, self-awareness, and am much more balanced with my emotions. Becoming a mindful leader improves focus, attention, and time management. It increases our learning and memory capabilities by thinking outside of the box and by problem solving through responding versus reacting. Being a mindful leader allows us to be more resilient, gain emotional intelligence, and to lead with purpose.
How have you combined mindfulness and leadership? Please share your reflections and observations. You can also follow me on Twitter.