Mindfulness means being in the moment and observing the here and now without judgement. It stands in contrast to autopilot, which describes a state in which we do things mechanically and are not aware of the present. We are mindful when, for example, we eat an apple with all our senses. We are in autopilot, on the other hand, when we are already going through the day’s tasks in our minds on the way to work and do not register our surroundings at all.
The topic of “mindfulness” has been a trend for a long time and originally comes from Buddhism and Hinduism. “Mindfulness in itself has nothing to do with religion, but is a method,” says Furtner. Neuroscientific evidence has shown that mindfulness exercises have a positive effect. Studies show that they lead to increased activity in numerous areas of the brain, such as those responsible for attention and motivation.
Meanwhile, mindfulness has also reached the topic of “leadership” and offers several advantages in this area. On the one hand, mindfulness helps to better understand oneself and others, and on the other hand, leaders also benefit personally by becoming more peaceful and calm.
“There is no such thing as the ideal leadership style,” says Furtner. He explains that in the past the common teaching was that there is one leadership style that works for everyone. Today we know that people, organisations and situations are very different. Depending on the person and the context, different leadership behaviour is required. In other words, a dynamic leadership style is needed that adapts to the context. “A very creative head goes down if he is led too strictly. At the same time, the same leader cannot leave any room for interpretation when it comes to safety regulations and a strict leadership style is required,” Furtner explains.
A leader who has mastered the art of mindfulness perceives herself and others better. Which enables them to better recognise when which leadership behaviour is appropriate. Furtner explains the directive, transactional, transformational and empowering leadership styles. What exactly these leadership styles mean and when they are best used is discussed by the participants in the CAS Leadership & Inclusion training.