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Emotional intelligence: Are you a mindful leader?

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

If you’re a keen observer with sharp sensory perceptions, then you’re what Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer calls “a mindful leader.”

Mindful leaders possess curiosity, openness to new ideas and an awareness of their surroundings. They resist rigid thinking and bureaucratic rules.

To increase your mindfulness, watch how ­others interact. Try to connect cause and effect to see how an action leads to a reaction. If you hear someone in a group giggle, for instance, note whether the laughter builds.

Mindful leaders are rapt listeners. They seek understanding, not agreement. Nothing delights them more than to learn a new fact or gain an insight.

Thanks to their listening skills, mind­­ful leaders are especially attuned to signs of change. They spot trends quickly, processing clues that others ignore. They’re also more emotionally intelligent, noticing colleagues’ moods.

Many entrepreneurs excel in mindfulness. After launching companies, business builders tend to resist rigid habits of thought and remain flexible and receptive to wide-ranging stimuli.

Chief executives of huge corporations can also demonstrate mindfulness. Take A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble. He enjoyed visiting with customers in their homes and supermarkets, seeking out their opinions without imposing his own.

— Adapted from “13 Ways of Looking at a Leader,” Leigh Buchanan, Inc.

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