Mindful Leadership Definition
Leadership presents increasingly complex challenges in an ever changing environment. As leaders it’s easy to run on autopilot, becoming caught up in a cycle of constant sacrifice, often leading to fatigue and burnout. Mindfulness provides an alternative. A way of developing awareness, agility, perspective taking and adaptability. Mindful leaders are authentic, self aware, focused and compassionate. They are fully present. With their clarity of thought and decision making, they want to make a difference beyond targets and KPIs. Mindful leaders embody these qualities, empowering those around them to grow and fulfil their potential. Mindfulness is moment to moment awareness. Jon Kabat Zinn describes it as ‘Paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment without judgement.” Being aware of what is happening as it unfolds without pre-empting, second guessing or judging. Mindfulness practice develops and sustains these key aspects of effective leadership.
Mindfulness, Leadership & Effectiveness
There is a huge buzz around mindful leadership. Complex business environments and increasing demands require a new approach. Empirical research increasingly confirms the benefits of corporate mindfulness and mindful leadership.
It’s well documented that what happens at the top of organisations eventually filters down. With businesses adopting flatter structures, challenging top down hierarchies and embracing shared leadership it’s easy to see how the term mindful leader could apply to anyone with influence in an organisation. Workplace mindfulness provides us with a way of transforming workplaces, moving away from daily firefighting and the chaos of attention deficit trait (ADT) cultures to a more aware, authentic, resilient, productive, focused workplace.
The Benefits of Mindful Leadership
- Greater executive resilience
- Clearer thinking
- Greater clarity of intention
- Increased resonant leadership
- Improved decision making
- Higher levels of self regulation
- Reduced levels of stress
- Higher levels of creativity and innovation
- Increased productivity
- Increased flow state
- Employee engagement
- A reduction in sacrifice syndrome
- Higher levels of satisfaction
- Decreased cognitive overload
- Reduced conflict
- Improved metacognition
Mindful Leadership You Tube Videos
We’ve chosen some of the best mindful leadership videos for you to view.
Take a look at this video on mindful leadership from one of our favourites, Janice Marturano
Professor Ellen Langer on Mindless Leadership and no, that’s not a typo.
Rasmus Hougarrd on Mindful Leadership
Mindful Leadership Coaching
The benefits of mindful leadership coaching for business leaders are numerous. Mindful coaching can be used to increase self awareness, prioritise attention, reduce stress, increase resilience, or unblock habitual thinking patterns allowing leaders to reframe their thinking removing blocks to solutions.
Mindful coaching enables leaders to really focus on the mindset challenges that they have identified. Utilising the benefits of empirically backed brain based practices from neuroscience, mindful coaching helps leaders to hone and change their behaviours. Engaging in this mode of coaching enables leaders to align their personal growth and performance with organisational goals, strategies and values.
Mindfulness Meditation for Leaders
Think of practicing mindfulness in the same way you view going to the gym. Mindfulness is a form of mental training. The more you workout at the the gym, the stronger you become. Mindfulness is no different. It’s training for your brain and an investment in your wellbeing. The more you put in the greater return on investment you’ll see for your efforts. With as little as ten mindful minutes a day you’ll begin to recognise some of the benefits of mindfulness already mentioned. Interested in learning more? Here are some suggestions for informal mindful leadership practices to inspire your journey.
- Model mindful leadership. Develop your own practice. Start where you are, even it’s just 60 seconds before you switch on your computer each day. Set an intention to be more mindful, more authentic and present in your interactions with others
- Adopt tech free meetings. Agree to minimising distractions by turning off your tech and choosing to focus instead on colleagues and the issue being discussed.
- 60 Second Pause. before you begin a meeting take 60 seconds to leave behind the previous meeting or issues of the day and become fully present and focused. You can do this as a team or individually to develop mindfulness and management, building mindfulness into your working practices.
- Walking. Use the physical transition along a corridor, between rooms to practice mindful walking. Adopt this as a prompt to bring your attention to your breath and pause. Notice your thoughts, feelings and sensations without judgement. Reflect and continue with your day.
Mindful Leadership Books
- Mindful Leadership, Maria Gonzalez
- Finding the Space to Lead, Janice Marturano
- Your Brain at Work, David Rock
Mindful Leadership Training workshop
We’ve worked internationally with FTSE 500s, tech start ups and university leadership programmes developing mindful leadership. We offer a range of mindful leadership training courses delivered by experts in the field with real world corporate experience. Take a look at our courses page for more information or contact us
Mindfulness and Management
The benefits of mindful leadership clearly map over to mindfulness and management. Developing a mindful culture will enable your business to increase employee focus, more effectively manage change and organisational stress, working more effectively. Take a look at our mindfulness at work section for more information.
Mindful Leadership Quotes
“There is no work-life balance. We have one life. What’s most important is that you be awake for it.”
― Janice Marturano
“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” – Pema Chödrön
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
“What would it be like if I could accept life – accept this moment – exactly as it is?” – Tara Brach
“To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh
“A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his or her shadow, or his or her light.”
― Janice Marturano
“The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield
“We are generally not very good at acknowledging the difficulties in our lives, but quite good at denying and ignoring those parts of our lives that are painful.”
― Janice Marturano
“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” – Sharon Salzberg
Want to know more? We work internationally with Fortune 500s developing leadership, improving performance and building resilience. We provide mindfulness courses in the form of bitesize sessions, one day mindfulness courses, 2 day, 4 week and 6 week mindfulness programmes. Contact us to find out more. We’d love to hear from you.