November 20 Compassionate and Mindful Leadership


This Monday night Bea will facilitate.  She shares:


This week I would like to focus our discussion and sharing on the topic of compassionate and mindful leadership. We are surrounded by people who lead us. In our nation's capital, in our work places, in our communities, and perhaps even in our families. But how do they lead us and if we ourselves are leaders, do we lead mindfully and with compassion? And what does this even mean? If it not about the "bottom line" or putting "America First" then what is it about?


In an article published in 2014 in the British Guardian, Thay says: 

"If you know how to practice mindfulness you can generate peace and joy right here, right now. And you'll appreciate that and it will change you. In the beginning, you believe that if you cannot become number one, you cannot be happy, but if you practice mindfulness you will readily release that kind of idea. We need not fear that mindfulness might become only a means and not an end because in mindfulness the means and the end are the same thing. There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way."


He adds that, "If you consider mindfulness as a means of having a lot of money, then you have not touched its true purpose," he says. "It may look like the practice of mindfulness but inside there's no peace, no joy, no happiness produced. It's just an imitation. If you don't feel the energy of brotherhood, of sisterhood, radiating from your work, that is not mindfulness."


What triggered my choice in this week's topic is a half-day event that I attended on Friday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce entitled, The Business of Kindness. It was co-organized by the Chamber of Commerce, together with the Born This Way Foundation (Lady Gaga) and the consulting firm Deloitte.


There is a lot of hype these days about businesses doing good, corporate social responsibility, and socially responsible businesses. There are also many wellness programs that integrate mindfulness and meditation in the workplaces. There is increasing evidence that companies that offer these kinds of programs have higher workers' retention rates and productivity. I remember when Thay came to speak at the World Bank, a few years ago. I thought it was brilliant that he addressed senior managers at the Bank, the very people who are in the business of eradicating poverty.  I can only hope it made a difference.


You can read the full Guardian article on Thay's approach to business and leadership here


And this is another good read that sheds light on Thay's thinking about compassionate leadership in the private sector and in the world.