Mindful Awareness practices and trainings have spread widely with great implications for effective leadership. So many leadership models talk about "what to do" and "how to achieve" goals or "how to influence" people to follow them.
However, being able to influence people is not enough. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, in their book, Strengths Based Leadership, published by Gallup, tell us four reasons why people follow a leader, which is based on four basic needs: trust, compassion, stability, and hope. You may think of any person in your life like a grandmother, a teacher, your boss or someone in the public domain that you spontaneously felt drawn to and genuinely wanted to be like them or do what they do. Did you feel you trust them? Did you feel their compassion? Did you feel you can count on them to be stable? Did you feel hopeful by their guidance or direction?
Working with hundreds of leaders, entrepreneurs, managers, executives and others who lead in some way, I have noticed those four qualities in only a handful of leaders. My own grandmother was one of them. The commonality amongst them was a higher level of mindful awareness. Awareness about their own internal life and their impact on their environment. This level of awareness is vital for any successful leader. The good news is that leaders may develop the ability to engage their people through these four qualities of trust, compassion, stability and hope with Mindful Awareness practices. Moreover, research shows mindful awareness practiced regularly can become a trait. Here are seven skills/traits combined as the COMANDS model for great leadership with effective results. Here is a brief summary.
1. Connectivity - Understanding of the interconnectedness that exists within all aspects of life. A leader of COMANDS leads through integration and connectivity both intuitively and strategically and creates break-through results. As Diarmuid O'Murchu said, "We are not journeying in the universe but with the universe. We are not concerned about living in an evolving world but co-evolving with our world." Leading through COMANDS, a leader understands that every thought, speech or behavior leaves an impact on the web of interconnectedness of all things.
2. Openness - This is ability to see change as it happens. The ability to witness the passing of time and the passage of the content within time on a day-to-day, even moment to moment basis. Having the skill and awareness of this natural phenomena of all things passing, leading through COMANDS, the leader understands that pre-designed strategies and plans may or may not fit what is occurring in the moment. Hence, he/she is able to adjust, adapt to and proceed with ease and wisdom. The Dalai Lama said, "Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck." Leading through COMANDS, the leader actively practices openness to limitless possibilities and generously keeps the lines of shared resources, knowledge, expertise, and natural gifts open.
3. Mind Management - Mind is the most important element in management. It is through the mind that all information is regulated and interpreted. UCLA Professor and brain expert, Daniel J. Siegel, M.D, explains in order to be effective in life it is necessary to have a well-balanced and healthy mind, one that is well-integrated. He explains not having a well-integrated brain results in "Rigidity and/or chaos and result in symptomatic conditions that may be experienced as inflexible, maladaptive, incoherent, deflated and unstable." Research indicates mindfulness practices help integrate different functions of the brain. The better integrated the brain the more flexible, sharp, coherent, compassionate and stable the leader may be.
4. Accountability - This is the technology of accounting for thoughts, feelings, perceptions, choices and where they lead. Actions and intentions are not separate from each other. Being aware of the interconnectedness of all things, a leader of COMANDS is clear about the impact of their choices and actions and act in ways that does not cause harm to others nor to oneself. Some call this moral or ethical behavior. In fact all aspects of the COMANDS model bring our attention to one most important natural law. The law of cause an effect. Some call it "Karma", others call it, "What goes around comes around." Basically, we won't escape the outcome of our choices. The technology in Accountability in this model is the ability to account for cause and effect of all actions while still in the thought stage.
5. Need Assessment - Is the most important stage of planning. Every year billions of dollars are wasted on projects that go into halt because they are the wrong solution to the wrong problem or because there is insufficient assessment of needs and elements that make the project successful. Leading through COMANDS, a leader is aware that neglecting, ignoring or not understanding their constituents' personal and professional needs can be detrimental to the project success and satisfaction of all parties.
6. Discipline - This is the power of the COMANDS Model. In order to cultivate these or any trait it takes discipline and perseverance. Without discipline to practice any concept or training, nothing really changes. First, we learn about all the ins and outs of the new path (COMANDS Model of leadership), then willfully practice it. Jim Collins, the author of best selling book, Good To Great, explained that one of the most important aspects that set Good to Great companies apart from their counterpart is, discipline. "Disciplined people with disciplined thoughts and disciplined actions."
7. Simplicity - Life is often too complicated. Concepts too abstract and purposes too vague. Direction may be too complex and bureaucracy too thick. Leading through COMANDS, a leader is able to communicate the vision, mission, purpose, goals, ideas, direction and procedures with simple, clear and brief concepts; the way that all levels of followers may understand and implement.
For more information about the author go to: http://mindfulbusinessinstitute.com.
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