Zen Leader Blog

Realizing the Zen Leader: Recounting the Journey

Posted by Anthony Attan

Sep 23, 2012 11:52:00 AM

We often hear from readers of The Zen Leader, talking about their reactions, experiences or insights as they read the book and work through the activities.  Since some are just too good to keep to ourselves, here is a note we received from James Murphy, who described his own reaction to several of the chapters.

What has landed for me are the following:
 

Chapter 5: From Playing Your Strengths to Strengthening Your Play
 

While I’ve done a lot of these personality tests in the past and pretty much know where I am, this was a fun chapter. It was also unique in the sense that this is the first book or course I’ve seen where it is proposed to develop personality attributes that are not your strengths. I think this makes a lot of sense and I will try to do this. Instinctively, for example, I know my collaboration skills are weak and I’ve been trying to get my wife to join a ballroom dancing class to help me to improve this skill. I also know my driver skills are weak and my main physical activities are running and weight lifting. So it is curious that these activities have not resulted in stronger driver attributes.


As a side note, I chose to read this book not for work but for personal reasons. I am building a sailboat racing team and quickly realized that I was not performing as a leader properly. At work, I am not a manager, I am an architect, but I know to turn concepts into reality I need to lead so the concepts here will help me in that role.
 

Chapter 7: From Driving Results to Attracting the Future.

While reading this chapter and doing the exercises I was able to see a future that I hadn’t seen before. In a sense, I knew what some of the components of the future might be but I didn’t put them together into a larger whole. With this exercise I was able to do that. The unfortunate part of the results of this exercise is that if indeed my vision is the future and I am to lead the world to it, then I’ve got a lot of work to do because the future is very big indeed and fundamentally different than what we currently see. The silver lining is that I can see a path that starts with limited scope and can be incrementally expanded. (Note, this vision applies to my work, not sailing)
 

Chapter 10: From Delusion to Awakening

This chapter is good since it sets down some practical steps to make the lessons from this book stick. Indeed practice is required to acquire a Zen mindset. This chapter makes that clear and provides some good guidance. Indeed much of the book, and this chapter in particular were incomprehensible to me mostly because I have not experienced the mind state described in the book. Specifically I am talking about the concepts from the Surangama Sutra and understanding self and host versus guest, etc. I believe that in order to become the whole I will need to consistently practice and probably re-read this book a couple of times. As an ex-competitive runner, I believe my approach will have to be similar to athletic training. A plan, a schedule, making time and being consistent and disciplined.
 

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Topics: zen, zen leader, leadership, zen leadership, managing energy, the zen leader, the zen leader book, spirituality, mindfulness, well-being, Ginny Whitelaw, energy patterns

What does spirituality have to do with Leadership Development?

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Apr 15, 2012 7:09:00 PM

I have been engaged in numerous discussions lately in leadership groups and have noticed an interesting trend: It doesn't take very long for the conversations to swing into territory we'd consider spiritual.

Whether we are centering ourselves through breathing or relaxation before an important presentation or finding ways to be "more present" and engaged when interacting with others, today's leaders are stepping over into territory once only defined as "new age." The coaching community not only recognizes this, but already integrates mindfulness into their coaching sessions. Leadership books like The Zen Leader show us how to get out of our own way by flipping to new levels of consciousness. Mind-over-matter principles don't seem to be enough anymore. The spiritual side of leadership appears to be coming out of the closet and into the mainstream.

I came across this article called The Progression of Power which offers an interesting perspective on leadership over the ages and how modern spiritual concepts are influencing today's leadership style. It's easy to see why books like The Zen Leader are answering the need for leadership at a higher level (preview it here).

One of the keys to becoming a better leader seems rooted in this universal connectedness that we call spirituality. Is this a fluke or a serious trend that will impact business operational style as well as environment? I'd love to hear what others think.
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Topics: leadership development, the zen leader, spirituality

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This blog is dedicated to the concepts described in the book The Zen Leader by Ginny Whitelaw.  In this blog we discuss how these concepts are applied to a variety of current situations and applications, helping us all unleash the Zen Leader within us!

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