“Good leaders don’t lead by fear, but by love.”
This article might come off as a bit of a rant, but whatever. It’s time to get this out there. It’s done with love, believe it or not 🙂 It’s time for mindful leadership.
A Good Case for Mindful Leaders
I just got off working a show that was pretty stressful. Well, mostly it was chill, except for the times when we had to make sure everything was synced, especially for the many various vice president’s presentations. I worked with a great team and we really shined, considering that we only had one day to throw everything together for a two-day leadership conference.
There were moments though where things didn’t go so smoothly. These were the moments where the stress kicked in. These were the moments where we had to react quickly and rise to meet the challenges of a live show.
Mostly, this was a good form of stress. This is the type that gets you excited and motivates you into action. It’s a rush that feels like it releases as much cortisol into your bloodstream as endorphins. This is the kind of stress most people like. Think of, you know, riding a roller coaster.
There was one presentation, however, that had a slight hiccup. This was not so much the fault of the crew as it was a last minute change given by a very ego-centric VP. The presentation went out of sync… naturally… That’s what happens when you make last minute changes while trying to “one up” your peers, who most likely look down on your buffoonery anyway… duh…
Now, instead of taking the blame for making a last-minute change to a well-oiled machine, this self-serving ego decided to make a big deal and chew out lots of people who didn’t deserve it, instead of accepting what was her own fault. These people were ONLY THERE TO HELP OUT.
Apology… nah… This is corporate America, where when you rise up the ladder you “earn the right” to step on the heads of the underlings who give you the job…
So, we get the news, have to explain ourselves, and feel the immediate fear, then anger. Since we are professionals, we mindfully blow it off and continue on with the show. That’s what happens. That’s what we do. Even those without any mindfulness training have learned to take these things in stride.
It got me thinking though… and provided content for this article, which is always cool!
Why put other human beings through unnecessary stress?
I can think of many reasons that those with even just a hint of power like to do that to others, and I have to take a step back and realize that many people are emotional children, even “successful” people. At times, maybe more-so than others…
Anger, Stress, Fear, Whatever…
Now, I do feel sorry for people who are prone to this behavior. The anger, stress, and inability to handle it channels out to others and seems to isolate them. I can say flat out that we would support the more mindful people way more than the egos. There were leaders, real leaders, who we bent over backward to help, and they acknowledged it, to hundreds of others. It was truly beautiful. It was a partnership.
What really concerns me though is what this type of personality does to these people and to those around them. It’s toxic, and completely unnecessary. It’s also extremely mindless.
Instead, these people could use some mindfulness training. If not for them, then for those unfortunate enough to have to service them. I really advocate for the former here. Good leaders don’t lead by fear, but by love. If you lead by fear, your days are always numbered, take note.
Five Qualities of Mindful Leadership
Here’s my list of mindful leadership qualities that make a real leader. If you truly match these, great, if not, learn, or step aside and let a real leader stand up… Oh, and they’re not supposed to be “definitive.” They are what I’ve observed through the lens of mindfulness and my own leadership experience, since even before I made Eagle Scout at 16.
You need the ability to feel what your team is experiencing. You should be in touch with not only the objectives and logistical aspects of your team, but the lives and reactions of your team to your decisions. If you’re an ass and don’t care, better yourself, or step aside and let a real leader stand up.
You are the leader. If your team fails, you fail. You can address weaknesses in your team in private, and mindfully, but don’t for one second try to blame someone on your team for your failure as a leader. If you like to blame, learn, or step aside and let a real leader stand up.
Real confidence is your confidence in your team. This is no place for your little ego. It’s not about being confident in your abilities alone, but confidence that your team can carry you as well as you carrying your team. You’re not a leader because you are a leader. You’re a leader because your TEAM ALLOWS you to lead them. If you can’t see this, learn, or step aside and let a real leader stand up.
You need to be aware of all aspects of your team. This is not an exercise in micro-management, but more of an ability to monitor all aspects related to the synergy of the team, and lend your HELP and SUPPORT where needed. You are not a boss, you are a leader. If you prefer to boss from the ivory tower, learn, or step aside and let a real leader stand up.
You need to trust your gut, and make sure that your decisions don’t come from your little ego, but from the pulse and energy of the team and the objectives of your mission. This takes an acute awareness of your own mind and how your reactions to stimuli affect your decisions and your team. If you lead only from your head (ego), learn, or step aside and let a real leader stand up.
These five qualities are by no means all there are to being a good leader. However, in terms of mindfulness, they go pretty far. If you’re still reading this, and are in a position of leadership, take the time to absorb these notes. Your team will not only GIVE you the authority to lead, but will follow you and give you their all.
If you choose to ignore this, please, step aside and let a real leader stand up. Or, learn mindfulness and own it.
Do any of our presidential candidates fit in here? Do you think any of them are mindful leaders?