Mindful Embodied Leadership: Mindfulness-in-Action as a Catalyst for Leadership Performance
thesisposted on 13.06.2019, 10:31 by Rodney King
The aim of this research is to explore mindfulness-in-action in moments of leadership performance and the degree to which it may enhance leadership excellence. To this end, this research answers two interrelated research questions. Firstly, what are the embodied experiences described by leaders that arise in the present moment of leadership and which they feel may hinder their ability to lead successfully? This question is explored through the analysis of a series of interviews with research participants. As an extension to my first research question, a group of leaders from various organisations were then taught mindfulness in an action-oriented way by means of a bespoke workshop that focused on utilising martial arts-based movements to teach the concept of mindfulness. My second research question explores to what extent mindfulness taught in an experiential, action-oriented way aids leaders in managing their leadership difficulties. Here the focus shifts to the leadership difficulties my research participants had previously described (i.e. in Research Question 1), as well as how, as leaders, they defined leadership before and after mindfulness-in-action training. The outcome of the research, via the analysis of interviews, was bolstered further by exploring participants’ trait or dispositional mindfulness through applying the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale both before and at two additional time points after the training. Overall, the analysis and findings of this research show that it is indeed possible to design and implement a training approach to mindfulness that is both experientially and action oriented, and which in turn has positive effects on moments of leadership performance. This research thus adds valuable insight in understanding leadership, learning and mindfulness, explored through moments of leadership performance.