Creating the Space to Lead Wisely in an Ever Changing World
The demands of the modern workplace
In an increasingly complex and diverse world the need to lead wisely is placing higher demands on the leaders of today. The speed of change, along with the volume of information we are continuously exposed to from so many different sources, can at times be overwhelming, and 21st century leadership requires a different approach to the pressures of the modern workplace.
There is an ancient chinese proverb that goes ‘when the wind blows some people build brick walls, and others build windmills’. So by harnessing the dynamic potential of complex and volatile times, leaders can open up new and exciting possibilities, whether it is for the development of business opportunities, or for leading on social change.
To achieve this leaders need to be equipped with the necessary capabilities and qualities to effectively respond to these new demands. To act wisely even when everything around them can seem chaotic and uncertain. In short, the need for mindful leadership.
Why Mindful Leadership?
Many leaders, having been educated in the many modern leadership approaches, are typically very knowledgeable about leadership and the kind of approaches that can be applied in different workplace scenarios. An approach we might best describe as evidence-based leadership. A kind of leadership that uses sound judgement, good information and expertise to make effective decisions, build reliable plans and make things happen. Evidence based leaders may also draw upon their many years of experience to inform their approach to both their strategic and operational leadership responsibilities. Evidence-based leaders will frequently demonstrate highly effective approaches to the many everyday business challenges they encounter.
However, there are times when past successes or knowledge of previous ways of working cannot be relied on to navigate the complex, diverse and constantly evolving landscape of today’s business environment. As the world changes, the way we lead needs to change too. To imagine that the future is uncertain and that previous ways of working may be an unreliable guide to the future requires leaders to adopt a different approach to their work. A flexible, open and reflexive approach. In essence a mindful leadership approach.
What is Mindful Leadership?
Mindful leaders are less reactive and defensive in their work and when faced with uncertain, complex, volatile and/or ambiguous situations, are able to respond with cognitive complexity and reflexivity; and emotional stability. Cultivating mindfulness, an open, curious and non-judgmental approach to our present moment experience, opens us up to a heightened level of intrapersonal awareness of individual thought processes; increased flexibility and ability to hold multiple perspectives, paradoxes and ambiguity in awareness; and be guided by deeply held personal values such as fairness, equity, integrity and compassion. In the absence of clear pathways wise leadership connects us to our deepest needs and values, where they act as a compass in uncertain seas, and where mindfulness maintains our awareness and vigilance to the ever changing landscape.
Developing Mindful Leadership
Cultivating Wise Mindful leadership is not so much a science or art, but more a kind of consciousness. By training our minds to be more open, emotionally stable, and flexible, our awareness expands, and we begin to increase our capacity to truly see what is going on around us. It is a very simple practice that can be developed through, amongst other things, learning to regulate our attention, and building a gentler more accepting relationship with our thoughts and feelings. With the right kind of support and regular mindfulness mediation practice, leaders can develop a mindful wiser approach to complex workplace situations and by doing so, developing an approach that not only supports ongoing business effectiveness, but also opens up the possibility for a more open, engaged and empathic leadership style. Mindfulness is good for our wellbeing too.
Want to know more?
If you would like to know more about how to develop leadership mindfulness, then follow this in link to find out about our forthcoming mindful leadership retreats.