Leading with mindfulness: Exploring the relation of mindfulness with leadership behaviors, styles, and development

Publication Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter examines the complexities of mindfulness in leadership, exploring potential advantages and disadvantages of mindfulness for leaders. Such an inquiry is important for theoretical development but also has practical implications when considering the design of mindfulness training for leadership and other areas such as employee wellbeing. In the present discussion, we clarify the discussion on mindfulness by distinguishing between the dimensions of mindfulness -- that is present-moment attention, intentionality, attitude of self-compassion, witnessing awareness and clarity -- and suggest ways these dimensions affect leadership behaviors. We also distinguish between mindfulness as a construct and as a practice, to elucidate potential effects of mindfulness. Given the focus of most mindfulness research is on intrapersonal effects of mindfulness, we turn our attention to the interpersonal effects of mindfulness which we feel is particularly relevant for leadership. In particular, we discuss three leadership styles—authentic, charismatic, and servant—that are widely considered in contemporary conceptualizations of leadership, that have an inherent link to mindfulness, and whose effectiveness can be regulated by mindfulness. Finally, we consider how mindfulness may affect the developmental process of leadership focusing specifically on how witnessing awareness quality of mindfulness could play an important role in facilitating constructive development.




Mindfulness in Organizations: Foundations, research, and applications




Cambridge University Press

City or Country

Cambridge, UK

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