The Mindful Leadership Blog

The Slumbering Giant Stirs: Heed the Need for Mindful Leadership

November 1st, 2011

The Occupy protests are heating up. Regardless of what side you take, there is a need to wake up!

There’s a growing sense of unrest—from the Arab spring, to the European austerity protests, to the TEA party, the Occupy movement, the 53 percenters, and the list goes on and on. What does it mean? And why bother writing about it on a leadership blog?

Here’s what it means, a basic human yearning— to have a voice, to be heard, to be respected, to be connected, and to be known in ways that honor, explore, and unlock potential—has gone unaddressed in the world (and the world of work) for far too long. Consider the recent Qantas debacle—employees and management on different sides of an issue—paralyzed by their inability to resolve it. The tipping point nears. There is a call for a General Strike in Oakland and across other US cities tomorrow.

As leaders, we are often oblivious to the power we yield, the environment we create, the constraints that we place, and the ways in which we hold the passions and convictions of others in abeyance. Oblivious and mindless leaders are starting to stir; they recognize general discontent, ponder what to do about slipping engagement and trust scores, and wonder what it will take to get those people in line or on board.

The problem, though, is that they still look outside for the answers. The answers lie deep within. Here are five things you can do today to be a more mindful leader who truly engages others and enables all to lead and create great things:

1. Humble yourself: What do you do that hinders, hurts, demoralizes, and yes, even, oppresses others (their thoughts, passions, and self-concept)? If you can’t find an answer to this question that is unsettling, you haven’t gone beyond your own ego. Look harder.

2. Acknowledge to others that upon reflection you believe you could be a much better leader and help others create even better products and services.

3. Open yourself to the truth: Ask questions such as the following “How passionate are you about the work that we do?” “What do I or others do that keep you from becoming the person and leader you were destined to be?” “What do I really need to do to understand who you are, the talents you bring, and the potential of which you’re capable?”

4. Listen (with acceptance, reverence and curiosity). Do NOT allow your ego to get in the way.

5. Baby-step it forward. Act on what you’ve learned. Do something every day. You’ll make mistakes along the way. The old you will fight the transition, the new you will be fearful of losing control. Apologize when needed. Ask for help and feedback. Keep mind and heart open.

A new you awaits!

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