Mindfulness and Leadership

Managers could be more effective in exercising leadership if we had a better grounding in reality. It is hard for us to know really what is going on for ourselves or our people or the world in which we are operating because we are so busy and our attention is so distracted. When we do try to be focused we can still miss the mark because our attention is so distorted by preconceptions and our own identity.

Mindfulness, or the practice of paying attention without pre-judgement, is now being promoted in a range of professional fields from medicine to psychotherapy and even negotiation and mediation. Mindfulness also can contribute so much to the quality of our leadership.

How could managers cultivate greater mindfulness and what might be the benefits?


Relational dilemma of leadership

Where should manager leaders locate ourselves in relation to the groups and organisations which we lead? Many leaders get this wrong. The most common practice is for manager leaders to join our other manager leaders and place ourselves above our people. We conform to an us-and-them pressure from both groups, it protects our authority and it is personally less vulnerable but it is not the most effective and fulfilling way to lead.

The other very popular practice is to place ourselves out in front of our followers and hope that our charisma and inspiration will somehow suck the group in a preferred direction.

Russell Crowe in the movie “Master and Commander” moved effortlessly between both positions! The flaw is in confusing authority and leadership and the cost is separation and disconnection. So where might be a better place for manager leaders to locate ourselves?

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