Mindful leadership is an idea whose time is here… now. Now is the present moment, and unless you can be self-aware enough to listen to what is present to you, here, now, you are not showing up as a mindful leader. Mindfulness takes practice, particularly in our hyperactive culture, which is full of fear, distraction and “never enoughness.”

Granted, it is highly unlikely that you live every moment of your life mindfully, but for most people even if they could do it for a few moments or minutes at a time, they are ahead of the game. Actually, this is serious business.

Collaborative leadership—which is not consensus in my book, by the way—requires a leader that can see people as individuals instead of prejudging them based on their social group. That, by the way, includes gender, both male and female. No two people are identical, so when we buy into social stereotypes we are not practicing mindful leadership.

Mindful leaders can be more empathetic because they are present enough to notice the state of mind of others. It should be noted here that this is tough to do if you are not even in touch with your own state of mind. What I mean by this is that many, if not most—and probably the vast majority—people are so out of touch with their feelings and unwilling to deal with their own “blind spots” that they at best struggle with seeing others where they truly are. If you don’t deal with your stuck areas, you will not have clarity of vision in your mind’s eye. This leads to all sorts of projections and assumptions, which only hinder team relationships.

You see, leadership development is really personal growth at work. Can you see the double meaning here? To be an artful, inspiring leader you must first walk your talk; and to do this you must grow yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally first. This takes courage. I know from experience that it is easier to hide behind arrogance and power over others, than to be vulnerable. Vulnerability requires fearlessness… less fear.

By the way, vulnerability is more about admitting that you are human, as we all are, so there is always a need to learn. It is a willingness to be your authentic self and not a blind copy of “traditional leadership.” This takes strength of character.

Growth does not mean that you are defective at all; there’s nothing to fix. A willingness to embrace growth just shows that you are wise and confident enough to realize that regardless of your IQ, background, or education you don’t know everything and have not reached your true potential. How can I say this?

Well, are you alive and breathing? Then your work here on earth is not finished, so you have more to learn. It’s as simple as that. Even those awarded Nobel prizes don’t know it all, so you can relax. Leadership development gets easier when we can lay aside the masks, embrace with gratitude and humility the gifts and talents that are naturally ours, develop them, and then share them with the world in our own unique way of making an impact, regardless of gender. So, as it relates to this post, here is a summary of the benefits of becoming a mindful leader—but, of course, there are many more:

#1. Better able to grow and develop your leadership skills
#2. Better able to inspire and engage team members
#3. More confidence and personal power/presence
#4. Stronger and healthier mental, emotional, and spiritual states
#5. Much greater ease in tapping your true potential

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself (herself).” ~Leo Tolstoy

I hope you join me in developing into a more mindful leader. Do you want to change the world? Then start with yourself. Change yourself and you can change your world. Now that’s truly visionary leadership that inspires action.

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at http://www.ValenciaRay.com