What is Mindful Leadership?
What is Mindful Leadership?
When we discuss the term “Mindful Leadership”, we’re referring to a movement. Mindful leadership is the ability to lead from the bottom up, to gain the respect and recognition from others, and to do so in a manner that is both compassionate and cutting edge. This is a not a simple process, but it is a necessary one. When we think of leaders, the words command, power, and control come to mind. But leadership is far from an absolute rule. True leadership—mindful leadership—can only be accomplished if a person is willing and ready to put others and the mission before themselves, and this begins with deep listening.
Deep Listening: Mindful leadership is not only about listening to what others have to say, but it’s about dropping our assumptions and preconceived ideas as we listen.
Compassionate Communication: As mindful leaders we must then take this information and translate it into compassionate communication; in doing so, we seek common values which override personal opinions.
Radical Inclusion: But neither of these skills matter if we are not willing to practice radical inclusion, which means breaking down attachments to our own ideas and ways of doing things and expanding our field of philosophies, our understanding of different cultural concepts, and our network of people.
Pushing the Edge: While practicing these skills of empathy and kindheartedness, a leader must also remember not to lose his/her ability to “push the edge”. A mindful leader’s primary obligation is to drive the evolution of whatever he/she is leading, whether it’s an organization, a community, a movement, or a group of friends. Pushing the edge may mean posing the difficult or delicate questions while asking others and ourselves to expand our comfort zones, moving beyond our vulnerabilities and finding strength in our convictions to move forward without fear or reticence. We must be brave enough to provide our own shocks in the wave intervals so that we can help ourselves and others push through those difficult moments.
Gratitude and Humility: At its core, mindful leadership requires a sense of gratitude and humility. We must cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” without an expectation of return. It is an honor and a privilege to lead, but too often this position of power elicits an air of superiority in the leader. What we need is a breath of humility; we must realize the power we hold as leaders and in doing so, we must place the good of our missions before our egos.
Global Leadership: When we take these skills to a global level, we will begin to see the world we live in as one planet, with one people, and one purpose, while recognizing and respecting our place in nature and our debt to it. From a socio political context, we must break down the boundaries we’ve created, whether they exist within families, communities, regions, cultures, or nations, in order to create a sense of planetary community, as one species with one overriding sense of cooperation.
It is within this cooperation where true leaders emerge. As we work on a daily basis to put these skills into practice, we understand that the way forward will organically arise out of our willingness to collaborate and generate dialogue between all types of people and cultures. Contrary to the commonly held perception, a leader often emerges through consensus with others rather than through imposing his/her own preconceived ideas on the group.
We are living in critical and complicated times where violence, pollution, and population are increasing at exponential rates. The solutions to our world’s problems are not clear cut or logical, and so to find answers to these complex issues requires a more holistic procedure using the skills of deep listening, compassionate communication, radical inclusion, gratitude, and humility combined with the power of pushing the edge. It’s not an easy combination of skills to exercise. It takes practice, yet its rewards are pervasive.
In the largest sense of the word, mindful leadership comes from the concept of “Big Mind”. Mind is the field of consciousness behind our entire universe, supplying all the energy, power, and impetus to push us through these challenging times. If we keep that Big Mind in mind, we’ll be that much more adamant that leadership arises from compromise and consensus and moves us forward in what we might call “flow motion.” Here, we discover the rhythm of the evolutionary wave within, feeling its energy and syncing it with others as we combine our energies to flow forward into the deep understandings that will give us the solutions to the challenges of our time.
If you’re interested in learning more about mindful leadership, check out our events at Greenheart Transforms.