The Art of Conversational Leadership

I recently attended a fantastic session with the poet David Whyte entitled “Life at the frontier: the art of conversational leadership”. I know his poetic work and have admired it for a long time but I am also intrigued by his work in organisations and, as the title suggested, his “take” on leadership.
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Simple arithmetic or counting souls

So far, on most days and for most things 1 + 1 does equal 2.

This beautiful certainty brings a warm cradling to the unsteady world.
But what about counting souls?
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Growing the fruits of Shared Mindfulness

Instead of talking about, can we try talking from and to mindfulness? From mine to yours, from yours to mine. Embodying it right here and now, as I’m writing these words, and you embodying it wherever you are, as you’re reading them. Even separated by time and space, and connected by a shared curiosity, we can be mindful together. But mindful of what?

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Are we facing a ticking time bomb of myopic management?

In 2013, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management (APPGM) in the UK created a Commission on the Future of Management and Leadership to investigate how both would need to adapt and change in order to deliver sustainable economic growth for the UK by 2020.  Their findings were published last month.   What was their message?  Brace yourself – it’s not pretty.
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Redefining Leadership

In order to lead today, leaders at all levels need tools to engage people on topics they are passionate about. And to do so, they must develop the ability to listen in new ways and engage with tension and alternative views. Tools like World Café and Art of Hosting help to highlight views which conflict with our own ideas, which is a necessary ingredient for transformative change to take place.

Watch Lara Toensmann speaking at TEDxReset 2014 about her experience in connecting and collaboration to effect change.
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The gift of Mindfulness

I was overwhelmed by the simplicity and at the same time the emotional impact of this approach: rather than delving into my habitual “enthusiastic workshop attendee and competent coach persona” I felt stripped of any such social and narrative constructs.

By guest writer:  Clara Seeger, NeuroLeadership and Emotional Intelligence Coach
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The failure of the England football team is systemic

Whether you like football or not, it’s hard to witness the nation’s deflated spirit here in London after England went out of the World Cup in the first round.  And the papers on Monday were speculating whether this means the end of the road for England manager Roy Hodgson.  It reminds us of a similar call for the head of Fabio Capello after the nation’s poor performance in the 2010 World Cup.
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Sharing the credit

Nelson MandelaHow can we keep goodwill flowing in our direction all the time? How do we ensure that people around us are always willing to cooperate with us?

It is 50 years to the day, that Nelson Mandela was convicted in the Rivonia Trial and sentenced to life imprisonment. Reflecting on how, 27 years later, he emerged as a revered leader, Martin shares his view on how Mandela unlocked the powers of goodwill.
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Mandatory mindfulness training for Leaders

Within a two week period, in two unconnected conversations, two people told me that practising mindfulness had probably saved their lives. Now, you may think this sounds like an exaggeration. If I hadn’t known both of these people pretty well, I would have agreed.
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Mindful of the cynics

I recently read a great article by Madeleine Bunting of The Guardian who argued that soon we would all come to see mindfulness as a necessity to life. On first reading I thought this was a masterful piece, covering the history, practice and application of mindfulness in every aspect of our lives. Then I read through the comments from readers; there were some supportive responses and a fair few negative and cynical ones. Making an effort to suspend my knee-jerk reactions to be a) dismissive of and irritated by the anti-mindfulness lobby, and b) to start questioning whether mindfulness is really of value in the modern world and will be a passing fad, I pondered on some of the objections.
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