5 December 2014

When do you start mastering mindful leadership?

Teams and organisations are constantly changing. High performance is expected, more intensive teamwork and profound innovation, not only to serve customers better but also to address important economic and social issues.
One of the first management gurus, Peter Drucker stated that it was crucial for the survival of organisations that they systematically let go of old and no longer useful ways of working in order to create space for innovation. And the urgency has only increased. But change does not take place so easily, because we must first gain insight into our autopilot of routine action and once we start changing we have to face our inclination to make ourselves immune to change because it generates too much fear and uncertainty. That is true on a personal level, but also in our organisations. What’s more, as society we are faced with issues concerning food for a growing world population, climate, water and energy, and we still have no solutions for these or, when we have them, fear what they bring. Challenges indeed.

Developing the five dimensions of mindful leadership can support you in addressing all these challenges. By increasing your ability for mindfulness, you strengthen:

  • Resilience
  • Fearless presence of mind
  • Taking unconditional responsibility
  • Investigative openness
  • Experimental, innovative and connecting action.

With mindfulness, you learn to switch between action and reflection, between doing and being. You replace the autopilot with the mastery of the conscious response. As mindful leader you create a green zone of mindfulness not only for yourself but also in your team and you establish space for learning. And in the same way you also take the next step: directing as organisation your full attention on matters that you are doing in the outside world: delivering products and services to customers, taking into account the demands of the social environment.

With the mastery of the mindful response, you create room for making a contribution to solving the major issues facing organisations or networks. Improving what already exists is no longer sufficient; solutions must be sought that are not obvious, and are in unknown territory. For that it is necessary that organisations and networks – and the individuals within them – open themselves for observation, the awareness and the choices that are asked of them: mindful from the perspective of the future. Otto Scharmer, one of the founders of this approach, calls this presencing. It is not just about improving the organisational system, but rather about regeneration, the renewal of its very foundations . You renew the connection between the aspiration of the organisation and everybody’s individual contribution, but on a higher level, namely what the environment or customers and other stakeholders need from us.

When do you start mastering mindful leadership?