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How To Train Your Mind To Dramatically Improve Your Leadership

How To Train Your Mind To Dramatically Improve Your Leadership

For the past 20 years, Leadership and Mindfulness Expert Jacqueline Carter has worked with organizations around the world to enhance their effectiveness and improve their performance. She recently shared her expertise in an interview with Forbes where she discussed her new book The Mind of the Leader, co-authored with Rasmus Hougaard. Based on extensive research, including assessments and interviews with 35,000 leaders, this book shares insights into the mind of an effective leader and how to strengthen it.

Here’s a snippet of the interview between Forbes writer Kathy Caprino and Jacqueline. Read the full piece here.

Caprino: What are the core “mind” qualities you’ve found that leaders need to train, and why?

Carter: Our research found that three key mental qualities stand out in great leaders: mindfulness, selflessness and compassion.

  • Mindfulness provides leaders with a stellar focus on the task at hand enabling high productivity. But equally, it provides an ability to be truly present with people, clients and stakeholders. Presence in leadership creates better connectedness and loyalty and enables the qualities of selflessness and compassion.
  • Selflessness is the opposite of ego-centeredness. A selfless leader is more concerned with the interest and needs of his or her people, organization and society at large, than of his or her own needs and desires. Selflessness increases engagement and creativity.
  • A compassionate leader has the well-being and happiness of his or her people in mind and always looks for ways of improving it. People with compassionate leaders know that they have their back and as a result, trust and cohesion thrive.

In addition to our own research, a growing body of scientific evidence corroborates that these three qualities make for leadership that enables better organizational performance, health, social cohesion, and trust.

Caprino: Do you have any examples of what these qualities look like in action?

Carter: A mindful leader is present with people. They refrain from multitasking and do not check their phone when speaking with you. They are able to cut through the clutter of daily challenges and have mental space for creative thinking.

A selfless leader is one who praises the team for successes and takes responsibility for setbacks. They speak in terms of “we,” “you” and “us” as opposed to “I,” “me” and “mine.” They notice the contributions of people in their organizations and take time to express gratitude.

A compassionate leader is one who seeks to be of benefit to others. They ask questions like “What can I do to help you today?” They also do not hold back from giving tough feedback towards helping someone else realize more of their potential. They are also willing to make tough but wise decisions about people and are sure to execute with extreme care and kindness.