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?
One of the challenges of being a mindful leader is to learn not to be attached or possessive of what you do, especially one’s ideas. Ideas are simply that – ideas.
Once they come out of your mouth, then your ideas have no ownership. They are out in the public domain to be acted on or not. What a gift!
When we become attached or possessive of anything, it creates a mindset of absolute truth and sometimes changeless. We then become narrow-minded and shut off other views and ideas. Is that the type of leader you want to be? Is that the environment you want to create for others?
So, how does a mindful leader learn and practice non-attachment from one’s views in order to be receptive to others’ viewpoints?
- Practice mindful breathing in order to come back to what is happening in the present moment. This will help you to not get lost in your thoughts and feelings of attachment. Your breath will remind you to be present in the moment – listening to ideas nonjudgmentally.
- Instead of saying, “This is MY idea on this.” Say, “Here’s an idea as I think about this. . . . “ So change your words to avoid possessiveness – my and mine.
- Pay attention to your body. When someone criticizes your idea or no one responds to it, does your body tense? Are you thinking that no one cares about your idea? Are you wanting to react to justify your idea? Those are signs of attachment.
- Set the tone when discussing ideas. Say, “Let’s share ideas for this project. Keep in mind when we offer ideas, we don’t own them. Refrain from being personally and emotionally attached to them. Our focus is to listen nonjudgmentally, offer feedback in response, to help us fashion our best response in moving forward.”
I had such an experience just last week. I was meeting with two other colleagues refining ideas to a major project one of my colleagues is working on. He wanted our feedback on the project outline. The two of us did that but it was so evident that neither of us were attached to our ideas. We listened, questioned, offered our own reflections and built on others. Our focus – feedback in refining the project outline. The creative ideas that came from this were astonishing and all three of us commented about it.
What are you attached to as a leader?