What Is Mindful Leadership?

Quick quiz!

(Don’t worry, it’s only true or false.)

True or false: I sometimes have to ask the same question twice, because I failed to listen to the answer the first time.

True or false: I check email while sitting at a red traffic light.

True or false: I watch TV with my family and work on my laptop or iPad at the same time.


I am guessing you answered “true” to at least 2 of them, but probably all 3. In our day and age, multi-tasking is common. It can be as mundane as talking to our spouse while we wash the dishes, or as serious as texting and emailing during conference calls – that you’re leading.

When you fail to fully pay attention to what’s in front of you, your productivity plummets. When you’re mindful and focused, productivity increases.

And yes, mindfulness works. The Institute of Mindful Leadership conducted two studies in 2009 and 2010. In one, 80 leaders from 12 organizations reported amazing results:

  • 93% had an increased ability to discover and innovate
  • 89% said their listening skills improved
  • 70% said their strategic thinking skills improved

Mindful leaders are:

  • Resilient – able to thoughtfully process and handle challenging situations and keep moving forward
  • Focused – capable of paying full attention to what they are thinking and what others are saying and doing around them
  • Empathetic – can relate to others’ challenges and better connect with them
  • Creative – think up new ideas and solve problems easily

In my next blog post, I’ll give you specific tips for increasing mindfulness. For now, you have a little bit of homework: Over the next week, make note of when your mind is most apt to wander and when you are most likely to multi-task. Simply paying attention to your habits will allow you to build mindfulness.

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