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In this topic we explore how mindfulness can be pursued in the interest of better leadership.

Big Ideas Summary

Ask yourself, can the way you think about awareness foster effective leadership?

This month we are pleased to present our featured topic on Mindful Leadership. Here you will gain an understanding of the philosophies and techniques behind the practice of mindfulness, and its role in supporting good leadership. This article will also provide you with in-depth resources that include relevant literature and media on mindfulness for use in your everyday life to inspire you towards affecting positive social change in an innovative and engaging way.

"As leaders, we are responsible for creating environments in which our colleagues are nurtured and energized, our organizations innovate and flourish, and our communities are respected and supported. It is a complex assignment … Our minds can become distracted by the urgent at the expense of the important and we can become so preoccupied with yesterday and tomorrow that we are no longer able to excel at leading in the present." Janice Marturano – Founder and Executive Director, Institute for Mindful Leadership

Today more and more people are beginning to talk about what it means to be mindful. From relationships to the workplace, mindfulness has gained a reputation for fostering increased awareness, innovation, concentration, memory, insight, clarity, authenticity, and stress reduction (Source: live bold and bloom). Although the concept of mindfulness stems from ancient Buddhist meditation practices, one does not have to sell all of their possessions and retire in silence atop a mountain in order to benefit from it. The concept of mindful living can resonate far beyond this classic trope, and is flexible enough to become a part of your everyday life. All you really have to change is the way you think about thinking. In short, mindfulness can be defined as the act of present-moment awareness directed in a focused, interested, and non-judgmental way (Source: Stress Reduction at Work). This opens up many possibilities for mindfulness and its application, and not surprisingly, many hugely successful entrepreneurs have adopted mindfulness into the way they conduct business due to its positive effect on leadership capability (Source: Huffington Post).

Developed in large part by former General Mills VP Janice Marturano, mindful leadership involves using mindfulness and mindfulness meditation to cultivate focus, clarity, creativity, and compassion. As our work environments become more complex, and we are tasked with multiple distractions, as entrepreneurs we run the risk of poor decision-making, and ill-conceived strategies in the workplace. Our interpersonal relationships with team members may suffer as a result as well. Cultivating mindfulness on the other hand allows for the ability to step out of our busy minds and attend creatively and flexibly to what’s happening in the present moment, reinforcing our ability to be efective leaders, and thus, effective entrepreneurs (Source: Mind Space Clinic).

Mindful Quotation

[Source: Networking Ahead]

Books About Mindfulness

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life. (2005). Hyperion Publishing.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. (2009) Delta Publishing.

Gonzalez, Maria. Mindful Leadership: The 9 Ways to Self-Awareness, Transforming Yourself, and Inspiring Others. (2012). Jossey-Bass Publishing.

Articles About Mindfulness in Startups and Business

In this article by, the difference between mindfulness and meditation is explained.

In this article by INSEAD, the importance of mindfulness is greatly linked to positive leadership qualities. By knowing your own leadership style and motivations, as well as those of your team, your overall effectiveness and productivity as a startup can increase greatly.

INSEAD also provides another article that describes why using mindfulness every day as an entrepreneur leads to better decision-making overall.

In this article by Forbes, you will find nine different ways to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday business activities to help you succeed in your startup.

Cense Research + Design provides a helpful model for pre-existing organizations to incorporate mindfulness into their design.

In this article by Tiny Buddha, Henri Junttila outlines seven common obstacles to achieving mindfulness and how to successfully overcome them.

If you are still a bit overwhelmed by the concept of mindfulness, Startup Owl provides an in-depth article on the basics and psychology/ biology of mindfulness, and why it is considered to have a positive effect on entrepreneurs and business ventures.

Websites About Mindfulness In Startups

The Institute for Mindful Leadership is a not-for-profit organization whose intention is to provide workshops and resources to help train the mind to be more focused, aware, and cultivate creativity and compassion. Click on the link above to read helpful articles and access resources.

Alongside a wealth of information on the many uses of mindfulness in everyday living, Tiny Buddha provides insightful meditations and quotes for using mindfulness in the workplace.

Mindfulnet is a one-stop resource that provides links and information about mindfulness through research and technique articles, apps, conferences, videos, podcasts, and more.

Mindful is an online blog and magazine publication that features articles that celebrate the art and practice of being mindful in everyday life.

Stress Reduction at Work is an online blog with resources on how to enlist mindfulness in the reduction of work-related stressors and challenges.

Twitter Accounts to Follow

John Kabatt-Zinn @johnkabatzinn

Janice Marturano @JaniceMarturano

Tiny Buddha @tinybuddha

Mindfulness Tools @StressReducton

Oxford Mindfulness @OMC_mindfulness

Mindful @MindfulOnline

Videos to Watch

In this interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn, he discusses the connections between awareness and leadership.

Among many other great resources, Mindfulnet offers this introductory video on what mindfulness is and how it is practiced, including its importance in the workplace.

In this video conference, Prof. Amanda Sinclair shares her views on mindfulness in the workplace, its effect on leadership ability, and some effective techniques for implementation.

Apps About Mindfulness

Calm An easy 7-step program that teaches you how to meditate.

Headspace An app for developing mindfulness and meditation techniques and skills.

The Mindfulness App

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