The Mindful Leader – Michael Carroll

Want to know the secrets to leading others in the command and control mode? Don’t read this book.

Michael Carroll’s Mindful Leader has no set of action steps you can use to begin kicking butt and taking names, no programmatic script for you to execute and no catchy slogans to splash around the office or your SoMe presence. In fact, Michael is asking us to break out of these routines and take a fresh perspective not only on what leadership is but how we can enable that as well.

Carroll offers a path towards the practice of mindfulness in the midst of the corporation, and for that reason alone I was excited to read his work. An excellent segue to week one, Mindful Leader doesn’t pretend or purport to be “the way” or the only answer.

It’s simply a question of how to let ourselves “be” sometimes.

Having practiced meditation in the past I felt comfortable with the topic but curious to see how it might apply in an environment where things go so quickly, and action is often pursued at the expense of thought.  Reading this was more like a conversation with Michael periodically asking me to consider things. Maybe just be quiet and reflect.

And the author doesn’t suggest mindfulness need happen at the expense of something else – it isn’t an either/or proposition. One can be a tough-minded results-oriented mindful leader.

Along my way I was reminded through anecdotes the author shared of experiences I’ve had in the workplace and how they ended up.  Some good, some? not so much.  Had I been thinking as a mindful leader – had I trained my mind to do so earlier – I am sure some of these experiences would have ended in better ways.

Carroll’s point is that work is not something to be avoided or managed, but rather it is a part of our existence and if we embrace work in a mindful fashion it becomes a vibrant part of our daily experience.  Something to be honored for what it gives back to us when we practice mindfulness.

Make no mistake: this is not the only leadership tome you will need.  This book will not teach you how to meditate nor will it convey mystic insight.  It will do something though that in my opinion is more valuable: it will ask you to consider your relationship to work and to leadership in a way that is authentic for you and repeatable thereafter.

A powerful and worthwhile read.

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