Mindfulness for leaders

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Focused leadership training – Leading from awareness

Being a manager has never been easy, but today leaders are facing unprecedented complexity and ambiguity. Technology and constant availability produce information overload and generates anxiety and a sense of disconnection.

The volume of information at our disposal is, in fact, leading to less rather than more certainty. We seem to live in a state of “continuous partial attention”. The most frequent complaint by leaders is the lack of mental space they experience. We simply do not have the space to be clear and focused, to listen deeply to ourselves and others in order to take adequately informed and wise decisions.

If we are to successfully resolve the greater challenges we face today, we need more focused and creative leaders, who are self-aware and able to regulate their emotions and reactions.

Focused leaders are able to:

  • connect – to others, to the larger community, as well as to their personal values and ethics
  • skilfully initiate and guide change – by listening and collaborating with open curiosity and if necessary, showing a willingness to live with ambiguity until a decision becomes clear
  • motivate others to flourish in their work and to find their own meaning in work and life
  • stimulate innovation by accepting failures as experiments from which to learn and inspiring their people to do the same
  • have a clear sense of purpose and direction
  • take good care of themselves

From fire-extinguishing to leading from inspiration

A focused leader is a leader who is truly present. Those around a mindful leader see, feel and are inspired by this presence, which creates a ripple effect deep into the organisation.

Being a leader has never been easy, but today brings unprecedented complexity and ambiguity. When we consider the challenges leaders face today, it’s easy to see the need for cultivating focused leadership:

Increasing complexity and ambiguity

The environment we live and work in is becoming ever more complex and ambiguous. There are numerous new and difficult challenges and many organisations face considerable resource restraints.

A state of “continuous partial attention”

We are attached 24/7 to an array of technological devices that produce information overload, which generates anxiety and a sense of disconnection. The volume of information at our disposal is, in fact, leading to less rather than more certainty. We can argue that we live in a state of “continuous partial attention”.

Lack of mental space

The most frequent complaint heard by leaders is the lack of mental space they experience. We often simply do not have the space or the breathing room necessary to be clear and focused, and to deeply listen to ourselves and others in order to take adequately informed and wise decisions.

The world needs leaders with an open mind and warm heart

If we are to successfully resolve the greater challenges we face – not only within our organisations, but in our society and planet as a whole – we need more leaders who are focused and creative, with an open awareness and a clear sense of purpose and compassion for the greater whole.

Leading from awareness

The necessity for leaders to reflect and renew themselves is at the heart of the most influential contemporary leadership models. How can this be achieved in today’s high-speed and complex environment?

Practicing mindfulness is a scientifically proven way of leading with awareness, by enabling leaders to create more mental space in the midst of the constant busyness and challenging environments. They learn to become aware of their own mental patterns and habits, and develop tools to change unhelpful habits.

The benefits from this shift do not only apply to the individual leader and their team, but to the organisation as a whole. Higher engagement levels and more trust in leadership are an important result – as well as more successful change management within the organisation.

Focused leadership does not necessarily replace other leadership or management approaches. It serves as an enabler for those approaches, by giving leaders the mental calm and clarity to apply them.

How do you learn focused leadership?

We spend most of our time in the often frantic “doing – thinking – problem-solving” mode in which stress builds up and clouds our vision.

By learning to switch between the “doing” mode and a more contemplative “being” mode, you learn to find more mental space and develop more awareness. This enables you to connect more deeply with others and with your personal purpose.

A focused leader is characterised by a strong presence, focus, humility, compassion; emotional balance, value-centered, resilience and positivity.

These capabilities are developed by:

  • learning a set of contemplative practices, such as mindfulness meditation, to deepen (self-) awareness and regulation
  • teaching about brain science
  • reflecting on personal leadership values to develop a clearer sense of purpose
  • learning to pause in the midst of the franticness of your hectic life
  • sharing ideas and experiences with other programme participants
  • reflecting on challenging situations and how to remain balanced and find the right response according to your values

We offer leadership programmes ranging from a 3 day in-person programme to a 8-week online programme.

Our leadership programme builds upon the Mindful@Work framework but applied to leaders with a strong focus on self-reflection and specific leadership skills.

Would you like to offer a programme on focused leadership in your organisation?

In our Focused Leadership Programme you learn how to:

  • recognise stress-inducing patterns and respond more appropriately to these
  • develop self-awareness in order to monitor yourself accordingly
  • cultivate focus as well as the ability to tolerate ambiguity
  • bring mindfulness and compassion into communication and the feedback you give and receive as a leader
  • respond wisely to challenging situations
  • lead by inspiration, based on your personal leadership principles

In our new adapted programme we will focus on the following set of 7 key competencies for leaders:

1. Focus: The ability to focus and to be truly present is key for high performers in this distracted and fast paced working environment.

2. Resilience: Selfcare, stress management tools, knowing how to protect and nourish yourself are needed to boost wellbeing and prevent burnout and exhaustion.

3. Empathy: The ability to connect to others and to be truly present and kind is needed to create a human working environment which is based on trust and motivation rather than fear and control.

4. Positivity: The ability to find joy in little moments of daily life, to cultivate gratitude and contentment is crucial to counter the negativity bias of the human brain and to contribute to a happy workplace and life.

5. Values: A focused leader has a clear understanding of their set of values and uses them as a compass to navigate in life. The value compass provides meaning and purpose and helps to stay true to yourself and in control of your life.

6. Emotional balance: Leaders often consider emotions to be kept out of business life while unconsciously they are being controlled by them. It is therefore important to be in touch with your emotions and knowing how to regulate yourself.

7. Humility: An inspiring leader keeps their ego in check and can relate to others as an enabler and a coach rather than top down through command and control.

The content and set-up of this programme is specifically designed to help you integrate mindful leadership practices into your daily life and work.

In this course, we work both on personal stress-management and interpersonal applications for mindfulness, helping you to find more balance for yourself and inspire others to do so as well. No prior knowledge or experience with mindfulness is required. The course can also be given in an individual format.

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About us

We believe that mindfulness skills can make this world a better place, not only because it helps to improve individual wellbeing, but also because it leads to wiser choices and more kindness in this world.

Learn more about our vision, meet our team of international trainers and check out our beautiful locations.

  • Beate Trück
  • Jake Dartington
  • Lot Heijke
  • Heather Gorham
  • Alena Reisinger
  • Steve Savels
  • Silke Lalvani
  • Lyuba Byessonova
  • Berenice Boxler
  • Claude Maskens
  • Evelyn Rodtmann
  • Yvonne Tuinte
  • Sandrine Rauter
  • Katrien Maes
  • Isabelle Hoberg
  • Katleen Janssens