Journey to Mindful Leadership: Part 2

Here we are just over 2 months since I started my Journey to Mindful Leadership. It has been a great few weeks of reading, reflecting, and now sharing! I covered some ground on a few books, a few courses from my employers catalogue of course offerings via HR, and a certification via HarvardX on Leadership.

I am not offering a full review of all 5 books I read over the past two months, but rather pulling a few themes from my readings that really resonate with me, and are key takeaways as I strive to be a more mindful leader.

The Books:

In many organizations, we are quick to respond to new threats or new problems by applying “old solutions” to organizational issues. I am sure many of you have encountered a myriad of business problems and often end up frustrated in the quest for solutions. This frustration can lead to fear in an organization thus creating more aggression.

Instead of perpetuating this cycle, what if we were to look internally to see one another as the “resources” needed, and engage the existing creativity within an organization? Fostering relationships and nurturing growth and development should be at the top of any leaders to do list as well as becoming a better listener and respecting each persons uniqueness. “Effective leaders encourage people to bring their best talents and selves to work” , they do this by:

  • consistently promoting openness and transparency;
  • empowering their people;
  • ensuring groups and committees function effectively as a team;
  • providing support, coaching, and care;
  • understanding the importance of hiring the right people in order to develop ‘fit’.

Leaders must consider the fundamentals: knowing how to listen and speak to one another; facilitating free access between employees throughout the organization; being open with information; honoring collaboration; encouraging speaking truthfully to one another. For this to truly work and occur organically, there should be the understanding of both the network of relationships and the resources required to support the work at hand. Think of self organizing and one of my sons favorite “toys”: Kinetic Sand. Please do take just a moment to just watch the movement here – it is mesmerizing-  and think of this self organizing as your organization….

No one can lead an any organization by spectating and ignoring the network of relationships thorough which all work is accomplished.

Employee engagement is defined by Kruse as the “emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals”. As leaders, we are responsible for the engagement of our teams. Driving engagement stems from:

  1. Communication- do team members feel that there is frequent two way communication?
  2. Growth and Development- do team members feel like they are learning new things and advancing career?
  3. Recognition and Appreciation- do team members’ feel appreciated and that their ideas count?
  4. Trust and Confidence- do team member trust the leadership and have confidence in the organization future?

I have focused on this with my faculty in a variety of ways previously- but am being more intentional of late. For example I am facilitating more opportunities for two way communication and asking that my faculty take a more active role in this endeavor. I am also actively seeking out the goals of my faculty who are willing to share, and helping them work towards those goals.  I have made efforts to recognize faculty who go above and beyond for students as well as those who truly embody our brand values.

Self Reflection and Seeking Feedback

Not knowing how actions affect others is one of the biggest mistakes a leader can make. As Leaders we have to develop greater awareness of how we behave and present ourselves. We must recognize our moods and impulses and how they impact others. We should watch closely how actions impact others immediately, and then use that information as a guide for how our emotions affect a wider circle and for longer periods of time than one might imagine.

We also need to help one another by offering feedback and help one another notice when we may fall back to old behaviors. I have found self reflection far more challenging than asking for and acting on feedback. It is essential, as leaders, to not ignore feedback that may be negative or feedback that we do not like. This feedback is essential in a quest to avoid missing important information, and to keep your ego in check.

Next Steps

Scheduling time for daily introspective is a priority for my Journey.  This time for  meaningful reflection practice will help me focus on what is truly important, nurture my own career passions, and those of my team. I need to slow down and be present.

In what ways do you incorporate a daily introspective for a more mindful leadership journey? Meditation, keeping a journal? Comment Below ….

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