Is there such a thing as “mindful leadership”? Can this training of the mind be an ally for the increasingly complex challenges of leading?
And, what is “mindful leadership”? The word “mindful” in everyday language is not new. It is often used as a warning about something that may be dangerous, or unexpected. For example, one might be told to be mindful of the foreign traffic rules. But as it applies to leaders, being mindful is less about paying attention to external elements, and more about paying attention to what is happening “inside.”
In the more than two decades that I have worked with leaders from many areas of our society—corporate, non-profit, government—it has been my experience that the single most important factor in being a successful leader is to “know oneself.” Not in some “new agey” way, but to truly understand enough about our mind, our reactivity, our “filters” to be able to use that information to make us more effective, more compassionate and more innovative. This work of cultivating our capacity to know ourselves can be difficult… but it is the difference between an auto-pilot existence and being there for your life.
In this blog, we will continue to look at this question of what it means to be a mindful leader and I invite you to share your experiences, your struggles and your questions.