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Four different kinds of mindful leadership interventions
1. Individual mindfulness programs are primarily about developing leaders who have a careful and reflective appreciation of the present moment experiences they confront. They need to establish an understanding of the fact that ‘we are not our thoughts’, facilitating disciplined attention and creating a state of mental and physical relaxation that, in turn, enables attention to experiences. The purpose is to enhance the depth and breadth of what people notice from a resilient position of poise and balance. This will make them more capable of noticing, attending to and enjoying their personal experiences and interactions with others.
2. Individual wisdom programs extend the skills of individual mindfulness into deeper and more reflective consideration of the incongruities, impermanence and identifications that characterize our experience. Greater attention is given to reflective consideration of the purposes we set ourselves as individuals and leaders and in our relationships with others. The form this takes varies.
3. In collective mindfulness programs, the focus is on developing leadership knowledge and capabilities to overcome collective mindlessness. Such programs would aim to enable groups to work effectively with and lead others to notice and respond to weak signals that ‘things may be other than they seem’. To do so means attending to and overcoming habituated and entrenched differences in viewpoints and prejudices, systematically reflecting upon and attending to the need to change goals, strategies and directions within the pressures of group dynamics, institutional practices and relational issues.
4. Collective wisdom programs extend group development from collective mindfulness towards an orientation with how leaders address the strategic goals and purposes pursued in working with others. The focus is on further developing knowledge and capabilities around the nature, sources and consequences of organizational irresponsibility, and on fostering values, establishing practices and institutionalizing forms of governance that support greater dialogue, diversity, tolerance, compassion and responsibility in integrating narrow economic and broader socio-ecological concerns.
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