The Journey to Mindful Leadership

It has been a blissful 10 months since completing my PhD! No writing, hard deadlines, or questioning my sanity. And my bound dissertation is a daily reminder of the important of life long learning. I have had a nice break, but now its time to jump back in to learning..

I have set some lofty goals over the past few years, and here we are again. As my career has evolved from the days of Sales, to Director of Marketing, Adjunct Professor, Dean, to everything in between…I have really focused on simply working hard, doing my job, and continuous improvement. It never occurred to me that Leadership Skills are (somewhat naturally) developed over time when in the right environment-surrounded by the right people. Until now, as I reflect back on my career and anticipate the challenges and opportunities to come.

The Goal
A few months ago, I began to research leadership topics and curate leadership books to read for the purpose of helping inform and energize myself. The goal was to really hone in on the skills I have, those I need to develop, and to identify these skills in others I work with in order to better define them in myself. So, for the next few months, I will be reading, reflecting, and writing

In my masters programs (I completed an MS Marketing and an additional 18 hours of MBA courses), there was focus on effective management skills and a deep dive in to all genres of business. However, I know I never differentiated management and leadership. My goals were to become a CMO for a Fortune 500 company ( I had my eye on SC Johnson and P&G, with my runner up being The Dallas Stars), yet I do not think I fully understood leadership in my 20s. I think I more aligned leadership with power, and did not define the type of power (more on that in another post). Then, later in life, my PhD courses were not leadership focused either. Yet, I found leadership qualities in many mentors I had though my years of study. And here I am now, in a leadership role.

It has taken me being surrounded by leaders and managers to really understand the qualities that I appreciate and admire, the qualities I possess, and those qualities I hope to embody.

The Leadership Books

The books I have curated are below. I am focusing on Higher Education, yet many main stream leadership books transcend. It may take some time to completely digest them, and I have more awaiting my purchase on my ever growing Amazon List! And, of course I am always open to suggestions, so feel free to comment below at the end of the post. You will see evidence of several themes in my selections thus far.

Joy, Inc.
Start With Why
Reframing Academic Leadership
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
The Essential Academic Dean: A Practical Guide to College Leadership A Practical Guide to College Leadership
The Academic Deanship: Individual Careers and Institutional Roles
A Guide to Leadership and Management in Higher Education
Challenges in Higher Education Leadership
Women Leaders in Higher Education
Inclusive Leadership in Higher Education
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT
People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow
Ego vs. EQ: How Top Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps With Emotional Intelligence
Ego Is the Enemy
The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World

The Focus
Leadership books are a great resource to help identify the leadership skills I have and those that I need to develop. However, I want to take this one step further to bring the content of the books I am reading to life.

The focus of this series is to Identify:
Skills I Have,
Skills I Need to Develop,
Skills I See in Others to Better Define Them in Myself

I am so fortunate to work alongside many leaders. From them, I have learned – and am learning. It is through them I see leadership skills in action and it is through interactions with them I can really define and develop those skills in myself.

Spectate, Cheer, and Constructive Feedback

I hope you will sit along the sidelines, but not just spectate. But, instead cheer me on through this journey and when needed- offer constructive feedback (LinkedIn, Twitter, G+.) This is a learning experience for me, and I truly want to harness my uniqueness, become a more effective leader, and be a leader who inspires others to be better and more mindful as well.

My call to action to you is to subscribe, or follow/connect with me on my social channels and offer feedback and commentary. As a community we can learn from one another and support one another through discussions such as this.