Here are 5 things that successful leaders know about leadership that make us want to follow them:
Continue reading → 5 Things Successful Leaders Know That Make Us Want To Follow Them
Is there anyone reading this who would not like to be calmer, more composed, influential and level headed, especially in difficult situations? Mindfulness can get you there.
Mindfulness is your ticket to sustained equanimity, happiness and success as a leader and a person.
What is it exactly?
At its most basic level, mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a way that creates space for insight. Insight is critical for success because it is where transformative ideas, products and services get created. This is the bedrock of your organization’s success.
But mindfulness leads to more than these material results. It opens the pathway to wisdom, compassion and, dare I use the 4 letter “L” word, love. And hey, couldn’t we use more of this right now?
Why Does It Matter Now More Than Ever?
Here are just two reasons:
1. There are unlimited benefits of technology and social media but there are also staggering unintended outcomes that we are now beginning to understand more fully: Huge increases in narcissism, rapid declines in empathy and compassion, isolation, challenges in creating meaningful relationships, increased ADD and ADHD to name a few. Mindfulness practice is a powerful and fast acting antidote for these consequences and one that is available to us all for free. Leaders everywhere (formal and informal) are in a position to expand people’s awareness of this solution and of encouraging and facilitating the practice of mindfulness in the workplace where we spend so much of our time and lives.
2. We are in a time of domestic and world- wide turbulence of various kinds (political, social, economic, environmental) and this has many people emotionally triggered. When we’re triggered we are out of balance and reactive. Reactivity perpetuates animosity, fear and anxiety. If we don’t have a way of regaining and maintaining balance from the inside out, we can’t be part of the solutions for these challenges. In fact, we perpetuate them. Leaders don’t just lead strategy and execution. We set the tone emotionally for our organizations. Our teams will do as we do, act as we act and show up as we show up. Doing it mindfully is critical for setting the standards of leading with respect and integrity and compassion. This, as we have seen in countless research projects, will lead to better financial and organization performance. Subsequently, it also leads to levels of cooperation that allow for problem solving of the most profound kind for the world.
What can you do NOW?
We each have to find our pathway to mindfulness. Here are some options and resources to consider:
1. Yoga that is spiritually based not exercise based.
2. Mindful Meditation: Meditation is NOT about eliminating your thoughts. It is about catching yourself more and more quickly when you mind becomes a runaway train and returning to the moment. It is a direct retraining of the brain. The push notification tech world we are all living in has fractured our attention to the moment. Mindfulness fixes this.
a. Read or listen on YouTube to some of the great teachers to understand more (Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Salzberg, Jon Kabat- Zinn)
b. Practice the old-fashioned way: sit and breathe.
c. Use Meditation apps:
Insight Timer: my favorite. The largest free library of meditations (Over 10,000) It also has talks and music and a huge base of worldwide teachers
Headspace: Good for beginners with lots of guided meditations and classes
Calm: Good for experienced meditators and also provides breathing exercises, visualization and guided sleep stories.
3. Learn from great, successful leaders who practice mindfulness and compassionate leadership like Jeff Weiner, CEO LinkedIn:
4. Gratitude Practice. Gratitude brings us into the moment instantly. I am taking a Grateful Living e-Course with Grateful Living. Org They also have a ton of other resources including e-cards to spread gratitude.
5. Attend a Wisdom 2.0 Conference. This is a fabulous gathering the focus of which is how to live with technology without it swallowing us whole. Check it out. Coming to San Francisco March 2019
To lead means to have followers. Our great responsibility and privilege as leaders is to use our leadership intentionally for the good of our teams, organizations and for the world. Every single one of us can make a difference by leading by example and becoming more mindful, present and dedicated to unlocking the potential good within ourselves and others.
Copyright 2018, Sheila Madden. All Rights Reserved.
85% of people around the world are not engaged or are actively disengaged with their work. (Gallup December, 2017). The result is a $7 trillion loss in productivity worldwide. Sadly, this trend has been holding steady for more than 20 years.
It seems that everything in the world economy has changed except how leaders continue to miss the opportunity to engage people.
Gratitude: Could this possibly make a difference?
What we desire and need as human beings in order to be engaged at work is to be respected, offered the opportunity to learn and grow and to be thanked for our contributions. Consider this:
Indeed, we hunger for gratitude and we intuitively know that in a workplace where it is practiced, a more civilized, creative and thriving world will prevail. And yet, the research tells us that leaders worldwide are ignoring this inner wisdom and failing to engage the hearts and full commitment of their teams.
Curiosity, creativity and innovation are all human experiences that come from the integration of heart and mind. In organization life, we often forget this and we work only from the neck up, with our minds. Over-investing in rational thought and intellect is a great folly for leaders and is an epidemic in global leadership as we see from this multi-decade pattern of dismal engagement numbers. It is an approach to leadership where the primary mode of operation is believing that the mind provides the only road to solutions and results. It is an over-emphasis on tasks with not enough focus on people and expressing appreciation to those people through which all things happen.
When we do this, we leave behind our potential genius and our ability to unlock the genius of others. The result of which is a lack of engagement and, subsequently, results that are a fraction of what they could be.
Another Program Is Not The Answer
Gratefulness is a powerful tool for building extraordinary and engaged teams. We don’t need another program to raise engagement. We need to coach leaders to lead with gratitude and reward them for doing so.
To be grateful leaders means we are paying attention to our people and to what is happening right now and to the opportunity in every moment. We are comfortable with ambiguity and, therefore, we are allowing ourselves to be surprised by ideas, people and situations. We are listening and responding. We are focused on others, not on ourselves. We are operating with complete faith that in doing so, the results will come, and they do.
Grateful Leadership Behaviors
When we demonstrate grateful leadership we:
Daily Practices To Develop Grateful Leadership Skill
Leading with gratitude is not difficult but it requires practice in order to bring the necessary balance to the dynamic between mind and heart. Here are some ways to develop your ability to lead with gratefulness:
If you want to work with these practices, try rating yourself on a scale of 1-5 (1=I don’t do this and 5= I consistently do this) on each of the 7 grateful leadership behaviors listed above. Set goals and action plans to improve. Utilize at least one of the daily practices suggested and then rescore yourself in 30, 60 and 90 days. Take note of how your practices help increase the engagement of your team and, wonderfully, your own happiness as a leader.
Sheila Madden works as an executive coaching supporting leaders in technology, healthcare, non-profits and higher education.
Copyright 2018 Sheila Madden, Madden Coaching & Consulting. All Rights Reserved.
90% of the problems that leaders face, and their subsequent solutions, are ambiguous, according to a study done by Korn Ferry/Lominger. To deal with this ambiguity requires spaciousness in thinking and being. It is not about always having the answer and proving to be the smartest person in the room. Rather, it requires having humility and respect for the responsibility of creating an environment where people can learn to think, innovate and problem solve successfully while navigating through the unknown.
Continue reading → 6 Things Courageous Leaders Never Fail To Do
“My Religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” The Dalai Lama
Kindness is a leadership characteristic that will deliver financial and humanitarian returns beyond imagination. It helps us create work environments that are based on trust and that allow people to express and experience meaning and purpose at work.
Continue reading → Kindness: The Surprising X Factor For Successful Leaders
Einstein believed that God’s thoughts were accessible and that he could hear them if he got himself into a certain state of mind, the mind of imagination. When he said that imagination is more important than knowledge, my guess is that he came to that insight after he experienced what many of us have experienced: Knowledge can only take us so far.
Continue reading → 5 Ways Super Successful Leaders Operate
Our lives are a series of relationships, the success or failure of which happens one conversation at a time. The same is true for our organizations. The quality of the conversations that executive teams have among themselves will either help their organization succeed, under-perform or potentially fail.
Continue reading → 5 Questions Leadership Teams Should Be Asking Themselves Everyday
From Interview To Conversation
I’ve been doing quite a bit of career coaching in the last three years, particularly working with people on developing their professional brand and their go-to market strategy.
When I coach my clients on how to be their best in interviews the intention is to transform the interview into a conversation. A conversation is when people, either one-on-one or in the case of panel interviews one-on-many, show up on equal ground to talk about problems that need to be solved, skills required and potential partnerships/opportunities to be had.
Continue reading → Seven Things Successful People Do When Interviewing
For 25 years my husband has been teasing me about my inability to take a decent nap. He can take a nap anywhere, anytime. The usual scenario for us is that we lie down and within two minutes he is sound asleep and snoring. Within five minutes I am twitching with restlessness. Within six minutes my mind has turned into a roller coaster of thoughts about what I should be doing, what I have forgotten to do, what I am worried about doing or not doing and a thousand “what ifs” that torture me unmercifully. In the meantime my husbands slumber continues and the deeper his innocent and effortless sleep goes the more agitated I get. Not just because he is right, I can’t take a decent nap, but because I want to and I haven’t been able to figure out why I can’t!
Continue reading → Want To Be The best At What You Do? Take Naps, Seriously
According to Korn/Ferry’s For Your Improvement, 90% of the problems and challenges that leaders from the middle level up through executive level face are characterized as “ambiguous”, meaning that it is neither clear what the problem is nor what the solution is.
Continue reading → 5 Ways To Be A Leader Whom Innovators Will Follow