Each of us leads in one fashion or another. We lead by example. We lead by direction. We lead by status — from the top down. But how many of us practice mindful leadership, leading from the inside out?
That’s what mindful leaders do; they are entrenched in their ability:
- to see things the way they really are – with clarity
- to practice present centered non-judgmental awareness
In other words, mindful leadership is about recognizing that your leadership is in service to others and it’s about clarity: self awareness, awareness of others and the world around us. It’s about leading with authenticity, about compassion and about inspiring others.
Easier said than done.
Drew Meyerowich, a retired US Army Colonel led the largest training organization in the US Army. Today he is the Chief Operating Officer for a privately held manufacturing firm. Meyerowich speaks frequently on three traits of effective leaders:
- Know your people.
- Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and work.
The retired military officer never mentions Mindfulness in his presentations, yet the very essence of this effective leader is grounded in mindful leadership. He makes it sound easy. And it is, when it becomes a habit.
There’s the rub. Like physical exercise, mindfulness is something we have to engage in consistently by consciously devoting attention and energy to it over time. “Contrary to conventional belief, mindfulness and mindful leadership can be said to be all about full engagement,” writes Stefan Rydin. “Full engagement is about being fully present, to be total in what you do, whatever it is,” he writes.
If you aspire to inspire; if you wish to lead from within; or if you just want to develop a compassion that opens you up to other people’s journey you need to grounded in mindful awareness yourself first.
Find a meditation and mindfulness course or group somewhere near you or take the lead on starting a corporate mindfulness program. You can start by contacting us here. Contact us
One the great benefits of mindful leadership is the opportunity to foster mindful co-workers, partners, associates. Mindful employees are less stressed out, even happier – and happy workers tend to be more productive workers.
The opportunity to lead is not isolated to the battle field or the board room, the factory floor or the cubicle. We are all leaders in our own right and we lead every day. With that as context, Harvard’s Bill George reminds us all: The key to effective leadership is the ability to integrate your head with your heart.