Monday, November 2, 2015

How to Become a Mindful Leader

Have you ever read Robin Sharma's book, "The Leader Who Had No Title"?  It demonstrates that everyone is a leader and can change the world they live and work in with their own leadership. I loved the book because I have always said the same thing.  We are all leaders.

I think Mindful Leadership is similar to that.  It's about leading your self first.  You cannot inspire or influence others without doing that.  "Be the change you wish to see in the world," Mahatma Gandhi said.  And once you get the hang of leading yourself, you begin to be able to relate to others better because mindfulness is the foundation for emotional intelligence.  You begin to experience the ripple effect.  Your shifts will impact others.  You will inspire... and influence.  And that is leadership.

In most mindful leadership training, you don't learn traditional leadership theories and models. The learning can be very different for each participant.  You are given tools, practices, and thoughts to reflect on so that you can be on your own personal leadership journey.  Mindful leadership training can help you become a more compassionate person - hence a more compassionate leader.  It is an excellent way to augment other leadership training and skills, but it is not the same.

In my programs, some participants spend the full program learning how to calm their chattering mind in order to find focus, while others learn how to respond to anger differently... others learn how to cultivate space to be more creative, and others learn how to be patient.  Some have learned how to relate to their colleagues in a way that nurtures respect, openness, compassion, and creative problem solving.  Some have reduced stress and simplified their lives.  Some have noticed positive changes in their work habits.  And others know they've shifted, feel more content, work with more ease, and can't quite explain what has happened.  It is not a one size fits all approach, either.  Each session facilitated, each person coached, requires a different approach and brings a different outcome.  It is very much YOUR own program.  I give you tools and coaching.  You create whatever you need or want to create.

I think I love helping people be mindful leaders because I am on my journey to be the best mindful leader I can be.  When I led a team of people in the workplace, I did not know what mindfulness was exactly, but I definitely tried my best to lead with compassion, and I know it made a difference.  My team was engaged, committed, creative, and supportive of each other and demonstrated superb customer service.  Other team leaders tried to emulate what we had because we were definitely successful.  There are a variety of reasons for that, of course, but I believe one important contributing factor was that we cultivated a team of mindful leaders.

Being the change you wish to see sounds so easy.  But we get caught up in old habitual patterns of beliefs and behaviours.  Fear gets in our way.  Resistance to change occurs.  We may have all this intellectual knowledge that being a mindful person and leader is a good thing... but we fall off the path.  Many times, that results in self-hatred or fear - whether it is conscious or not.  And we spiral back down towards self-defeating behaviours... which are not exactly inspirational to others.

That is why mindful leadership is a practice... and not necessarily a smooth one.  It really helps to have a supportive group that is also practicing.  Being able to share your successes and failures on this path without judgment can give you the grounding you need to keep it up, face the fears that arise, and help you be accountable for the shifts you wish to make.

If you would like to improve your mindful leadership abilities, organize a group of people that also want the same... it can be 2 people or 10 people - size doesn't matter.  Get educated on what mindful leadership is all about.  Practice.  Begin by meditating a few times to notice any shifts when you calm your mind.  Discuss your experiences.  Support each other.  And laugh. Be kind to yourself and others. Taking on a mindfulness practice (which is what mindful leadership is all about) uncovers truths about ourselves that sometimes we don't like.  Learning compassion is essential for our wellness - which is critical for excellence in leadership.

Start here... BE MINDFUL.

For more information about Tina's next Mindful Leadership Workshop, visit the Facebook event page or email her at  If you are interested in Mindful Leadership workshop, program, or coaching for you or your team, connect with Tina at