5 Traits of a Mindful Leader


Listen to the latest episode of WorkHuman Radio with Pandit Dasa, embedded at the top of this post.

Aspiring to become a mindful leader starts by asking yourself a set of somewhat uncomfortable and confronting questions.

  1. What is my motivation for leading?
  2. Am I in leadership because I enjoy power, control, and fame?
  3. Am I leading to serve or am I leading to be served?
  4. Am I willing to put the interests of the organization ahead of my own?

Mindful leadership means being able to take an honest look at yourself and asking these questions on a regular basis. It also means trying to lead without ego and being willing to put the interest of others before ourselves. If you want to develop into a mindful leader, here are five traits you should focus on.

 

  1. Leading by Example

A mindful leader should not expect others to do the things that he or she is not willing to do. Otherwise, there will be a disconnect between the leadership and the workforce. That can gradually cause a deterioration of trust. Those in leadership positions should be aware that their behavior and attitude will influence the culture of the organization and the people working under them.

  1. Appreciation and Recognition

A paycheck is good but is not always enough. Individuals need to be appreciated and recognized on a regular basis for the hard work that they’re putting in. Regular appreciation is especially important to balance out the more critical feedback that a leader sometimes needs to provide. The worker who is appreciated and properly recognized will be more engaged and there’s a higher likelihood that they won’t develop a wandering eye.

  1. Leading with Humility

Humility is not a sign of weakness or a lack of confidence. According to Ken Blanchard, “humility doesn’t mean to think less of yourself, it means to think of yourself less.” A humble leader is able to recognize his or her strengths and weaknesses and is not afraid to ask for help when needed. Leading with humility means that the leaders are open to receiving feedback and won’t just blame the workforce, but are able to look at their own shortcomings when company goals have not been met.

  1. Communicating with Compassion

We know how impactful words can be, and for leaders it is vital to be able to communicate in a mindful and compassionate manner. Be aware of your emotions before responding to an email or communicating in-person. Take the time to consider whether the communication you’re about to deliver is honest and beneficial. It may not always be possible to meet these criteria, however if we’ve taken the time to be as thoughtful as possible there is a greater likelihood of a positive outcome from the communication.

  1. Balanced Emotions

Having a regular mindfulness meditation practice can help an individual get in touch with their feelings and emotions and become aware when they might be disturbed or angry. This can be useful as our schedule gets busy and hectic. Mindfulness gives us that moment of pause and calm to reflect on our actions and behavior so that we don’t act out of emotion and do something we might regret. It can help us improve our emotional intelligence, which allows us to understand another person’s perspective and be more sympathetic to their needs and concerns.

Mindfulness will not magically help us develop these qualities. It helps put us in the right frame of mind so we can be more aware of our thoughts, emotions, speech, and behavior. The more we become aware of these things, the more we will be able to control them and not be controlled by them.

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Gadadhara Pandit Dasa Gadadhara Pandit Dasa (2 Posts)

Pandit Dasa teaches courses at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. He has spoken at a TEDx conference and has led workshops on stress management and meditation at Google, Bank of America, Novartis, Intel, and other companies. He also speaks at the nation’s leading universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Duke, New York University, USC, and many others. Pandit has been featured on PBS, NPR, The New York Times, and writes for The Huffington Post. He spent 15 years living as a monk, practicing meditation. His life is chronicled in his book, Urban Monk: Exploring Karma, Consciousness, and the Divine.