The World Café method is an engaging and thought-provoking process to bring employees or community members together in conversation around a particular issue. One of the challenges in facilitating this process is: What are the questions people will dialogue around at their tables? Let me shed some light on this question.
I attended the third Mindful Leadership Summit in Arlington, VA. earlier this month with over 700 people with 27 countries represented. I had the good fortune to attend Finding the Space Lead workshop lead by Janice Marturano, Founder and Executive Director of Institute of Mindful Leadership and Mark Prior, an instructor.
Here are just a few thought-provoking concepts I gleaned from the Summit about mindfulness.
“Happiness is a state of mind. You can be in heaven in your environment, but hell in your mind.” [Read more…]
I recently facilitated a half-day retreat for a school’s community education staff on cultivating emotional intelligence (EI). I want to share several insights that came from their experience.
- Self-awareness is only helpful if you make a change in your behavior. This insight surfaced when someone recognized they were highly skilled in understanding their emotions. However, the challenge for them was to act on that information and make changes in their behavior, which is the self-management EI competency. Interestingly, their highest EI score was self-awareness and their lowest was self-management. Not a surprise.
- To be an active listener is to clear your mind. This insight surfaced when a person stated that they need to take intentional steps to become an active listener. How does one do that?
- Pause before engaging as the listener,
- Be aware of the clutter in your mind,
- Take one or two slow breaths and then announce to the person, “I’m now ready to listen and be present with you.”
Being intentional in our preparation to listen is critical.
- Slow Down. This insight surfaced when a person stated that they realized it takes time to cultivate EI. It takes practice, a change in one’s habits. So, be patient with yourself.
- Ask for Feedback. It is important to ask for feedback about your behavior and the changes you are attempting to make. How do you do that? Know the person(s) you are extending this invitation to; it takes a lot of trust. Be clear about the changes you are practicing and why you want the feedback.
Mindfulness and EI are learning companions. There is no need to compartmentalize them. When you are cultivating EI, you are being present and deeply aware of your surroundings, training your brain to engage in new habits for the purpose of deeply connecting with your inner self and with others. Isn’t that what mindfulness is about?
A mindfulness colleague shared with me several months ago the importance of demystifying mindfulness. She said we need to break down the definition of mindfulness and make it real for people, tangible, and relevant.
So, this is what I did in a recent session I facilitated for IT leaders on Cultivating Mindful Leadership. We briefly discussed the core elements of mindfulness: [Read more…]
In my work with leaders, I emphasize that our organizations have a climate not unlike our ecosystem. How we care for the climate we live in greatly influences the sustainability and welfare of life. Likewise, how leaders care for the organizational climate greatly influence the sustainability and welfare of people’s lives that work in it. [Read more…]
Let’s talk about anger! When leaders act out of anger in reaction to others, people feel it and it negatively permeates the work environment. [Read more…]
Practicing Mindfulness is Critical to Thriving Teams
One of the great enigmas in the workplace is why do some teams fail and others thrive. We may have some answers by virtue of an amazing study done by Google called Project Aristotle.
In 2012, Google embarked on an initiative to “study hundreds of Google’s teams and figure out why some stumbled while others soared.” They conducted intensive data analysis with 699 people that were divided into small groups each given assignments that required different kinds of cooperation. [Read more…]
“Do not maintain anger or hatred. As soon as anger or hatred arises, turn your attention to your breathing in order to see and understand the nature of your anger or hatred and the nature of the persons who have caused your anger or hatred.” (Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, a world renowned writer, poet, scholar and Zen Buddhist monk.)
As a leader, how do you deal with anger?
Do you blame others for causing your anger?
When anger engulfs us, we suffer and we bring suffering to others.
Could it be that when we are not mindful, we say and do things that create our own suffering as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests? [Read more…]
Imagine the value to your organization if employees were:
- Focused in the moment, working on projects and communicating with customers
- Calmer in their responses with challenging customers
- Attentive and less judgmental in listening to their peers
- Able to respond positively to change and unpredictable situations and events
As a leader, do you believe you “own” your ideas? If so, what happens when someone questions your ideas or provides feedback that you don’t agree with?