Develop Mindful Leadership

Mindful leadership is a new buzzword in corporate training that develops skill building and awareness in all aspects of management. This tutorial explores how to start developing your skills on how to be the best leader you can be!



  1. Explore the foundations of mindfulness. Mindfulness in essence is not just being aware, but more importantly being engaged and dynamic with yourself and your surroundings. This allows you to be more creative, realistic and pragmatic with every situation. In a business context, or any leadership role, the art of being more aware as well as more creative significantly enhances opportunities, addresses potential challenges and creates a more fulfilling personal life.
  2. Start by finding the present moment. A simple method is to close your office door, sit in a comfortable chair and close your eyes. Be aware of your breath, your sensations in the chair, or just background noises. Mindfulness should ultimately be effortless, but at the beginning, many of the subtle aspects may not be apparent to you, but will with time become more and more evident exposing things that you may not have been aware of.
    • The purpose of this exercise is simply to draw you into the present moment. This means that you aren't being tied down to the past experiences, future deadlines or other distractions that get in the way of being able to process information to make an informed decision. Ultimately everything is in the present moment, even though the past, present and future condition the way people think and act. Critically, this method is not just a relaxation method in which you can refresh your mind, but it allows things to settle which often allows a creative solution to become evident.
  3. Be present as often as possible. Mindful leadership is not just awareness, but being able to see and listen to what is happening all around you. Interestingly, mindfulness is also critically linked with memory, so it enhances dynamic memory, but also allows memory to be more versatile.
    • One of the major challenges in a busy environment is being aware of what's going on - often there is simply too much happening at once. Mindfulness allows you to accept your situation, delegate and prioritise your workload as well as the people and projects around you so it prevents a blockage in the flow, and allows solutions to be implemented in the most efficient and effective way.

Personal Development

  1. Consider the dynamics in your environment. Specifically this is the quality of your interactions with coworkers, various levels of management, the customer and supplier dynamic in the market and your own relationship with your own role.
    • The principle purpose of this exposes all the underlying relationships that you may or may not be aware of, and because of the fascinating relationship mindfulness shares with memory, the relationships that have simply faded away from our awareness. Reflecting on these often expose potential benefits as well as conflicts that should be explored. Often leaders can be rather laissez faire, or depending too much on simple improvisation - these in themselves can be exceptionally useful in various contexts, but not all. Mindfulness can allow you to pick and choose a more relevant management style that suits the situation.
  2. Be daily aware of your own emotions and personal health. By recognising your state of mind in the moment is of enormous potential benefit. The reasons for this is if you are tired and overworked, or controlled by desire or anger to win or control, then you are sewing failure or - at best - a compromised result into any project you undertake.
    • A major one to keep an eye out is the inner "control freak" or "too busy" mind-state both in yourself and in others, as well as the state of mind that consistently looks for the faults in things. These are in themselves amazingly effective obstacles to creativity and narrowing the depth you can see into things. By letting go and stepping back to allow others to progress, or by developing means of cooperation can create a more harmonious, effective and value based solution to most parts of life.
    • Likewise, reflect on your own energy. None can be 100% perfect all of the time so occasionally your own wellbeing and energy levels will be affected. This allows you to recognise and act to unwind and relax, which also can inspire your colleagues to look after their own personal wellbeing and development.
  3. Be aware of your thoughts, intentions and plans. Often people tend to ignore the thought process unless it says what they want to hear and this reveals a critical divorce from the present moment - as we simply don't want to engage the situation fully, so we cannot create a holistic or complete solution. Additionally, this is robbing you of much in the way of developing new skills and can dramatically pull down your motivation and well being. By changing our perception subtly, or taking a fresh look after a break, this gives new energy to resolve old problems.
    • Ideas can often be practical, but very often, can be misguided and unhelpful if you aren't fully aware of the context. By being aware of them, you can dissect the thoughts and abandon those that are impractical or unbeneficial, but at the same time developing the practical and beneficial ones, thus training the mind to incline towards being more confident, calm, creative and practical. It is amazing to discover for yourself exactly when you are being led around by your internal deeper intentions that may be against your personal direct goals.
    • Gut feeling can often be something that is misused. Gut instinct to an experienced person is often surprisingly accurate in negotiations when determining when the person at the other end of the table is being honest. But often stronger desires can certainly shape the perception into being inaccurate. The desire to sign a deal can set you up for a very compromised result.
  4. Find your inner "cool". This helps you be more calm generally in crisis management, but also helps you see beyond the "poker face" of many negotiators and their goals. There is a subtle difference between cool and aloof, so it is useful to distinguish the two.
    • In relationship to this method, stepping back for a little quiet time, observing more closely, or by varying team leaders if necessary so that a stale environment can be revived, will often allow many issues to resolve themselves.
  5. Start to develop a deductive and productive frame of mind. By practicing awareness, it becomes clear when you are falling away into fantasy plans and dream goals, or stewing away making plans to beat a rival, climb the corporate ladder or control others around you.
    • Being able to distinguish between useful ideas and unskillful ideas both in yourself and from others is a very valuable skill.

Practical Development

  1. Be aware or corporate systems from the ground up. So far this tutorial has mostly explored the personal relationships, but just as important is the very structure of the organisation. Being aware of them as they are well expose just how smooth they are. Many systems and methods may be out of date, not followed or sabotaged within an organisation, where many not only work very well but are an opportunity to expand, as well as recognising and rewarding the people who run them.
  2. Expand your range. Look outside your own office to explore other companies with their own teams and methods, this can help you explore ways to develop your own company's strengths.
  3. Reflect often on your own and others actions. This practice has nothing to do with being judgmental, but has a lot to do with being able to understand the intentions people have that guide their actions. By understanding and recognising them as they happen gives a wide scope for problem solving and creating beneficial results.
  4. Consider how the environment affects you and others. In many cases, renovating the workspace is money well spent when it makes it safer, easier to navigate and more inspiring an environment to work in.
  5. Practice mindfulness as often as possible. To begin with, you may find it's easy to lose track of time and your awareness falls and that's fine, however that in itself is key to the benefits mindfulness can offer - when people lose track of what's going on, they can too easily make flawed decisions when they simply aren't aware.
    • This can expose large weaknesses in your own leadership skills and the structure within the world you operate, but also exposes all the areas that you an develop yourself and to train others.

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