Developing Leadership Practices through Awareness, Intention, and Attention

I’ve spent the last 4 years working heavily with the “science” of leadership – taking what are often amorphous goals and shape-shifting concepts and translating them into competency models and frameworks that allow a structured approach to leadership development. While I believe in the potential contributions of this approach, I also think it misses the mark in addressing the “being” aspects of leadership – the development of leadership qualities and practices that very directly impact the results we are able to achieve through our leadership.

One approach to developing the “being” aspects of leadership is to work with daily leadership practices that cultivate the qualities we want to embody as leaders. To be effective, practices need to:

  • Expand the field or awareness from which one operates
  • Apply clear intention to the expanded field of awareness and insights developed
  • Generate new insights through focused attention

Within that framework of awareness, intention, and attention, almost any quality or practice can be developed. Practices may focus on things as diverse as shifting emotional reactivity, enhancing resilience, developing greater authenticity in relationships, or even developing intuition.

Engaging in practices is about developing true mastery. Because so many of our skill development and individual change efforts and initiatives lack true practice, they often achieve fairly low success rates and limited return on investment. Developing and engaging in leadership practices is a low-cost, practical method for increasing the success and impact of our coaching, counseling, and leadership development efforts.

In my next blog we will explore the science behind leadership practices, based on thousands of years of learnings through the world’s spiritual and wisdom traditions, as well as the latest discoveries of neuroscience and mindfulness research.

In the meantime – what daily leadership practices do you engage in?