Learning To Lead
Leading people is one of the most challenging roles we can take on in life. It requires a dizzying array of skills, a strong education and passion. Most often, when we take on a leadership role, we do so because we want to make a difference. As leaders, we take for granted that we will work long hours, make great sacrifices and ride the roller coaster of success and failure. However, the busyness that accompanies being a leader in today’s globalised world often distracts us from what’s important and limits our ability to lead with excellence. We can learn to lead with excellence by cultivating our innate capabilities to focus on what is important, to see more clearly what is presenting itself, to foster greater creativity and to embody compassion. When we are able to do so, we are much more likely to make the conscious choices we need our leaders to make. These choices often lead to a win-win scenario: good for the organisation, good for the employees and good for the community.
The author of the book Finding the Space to Lead Janice Marturano has worked on Wall Street and for three Fortune 200 corporations. For fifteen years, she was vice president and deputy general counsel for General Mills, where she initiated the company’s programme in mindful leadership. she co-developed the very first mindful leadership curriculum as director of leadership education at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Centre for Mindfulness. She has brought the intensive training of mindful leadership to all forms of organisations—corporate, nonprofit, academic and government. Today she is the executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leaderships, which she founded in 2010.
Mindfulness is not about stress reduction or taking deep breaths. It is not a religion. It’s a methodology that trains a capacity of our mind that generally receives little or no training. Finding the Space to Lead shows a way to begin this training so you can learn to lead and live with excellence. Part 1 of the book describes what mindful leadership is, why Janice Marturano started training in it and then training others, and why it is so effective in developing leadership excellence. In part 2 of the book , the author describes a wide variety of simple methods to cultivate the capacity to lead with excellence, including meditation, reflections, and purposeful pauses (a method to train the mind by bringing attention to routine or especially chaotic moments in the day). Part 3 describes how the training is taken into application and questions for contemplation that will help people evolve from a manager who is good at execution to a leader who consistently makes a difference. Appendix 1 contains an index of all of the meditations, purposeful pauses, and reflections used in Finding the Space to Lead for a quick reference. In Appendix 2, reader will find an easy-to-follow sample approach for developing a personalised programme using the elements described in the book.
We all have the potential to lead with excellence, and we can no longer afford to make decisions and choices without bringing all of our capabilities to the people, issues, or opportunities at hand. When the mind is trained to be fully attentive, even in the midst of chaos, we have the space to make more wise and conscious decisions and choices. Whether you are leading a global organization, a small partnership, a community group or a family, Finding the Space to Lead will help you do just that.
By Nilabh Krishna