Zen Leader Blog

Diane Chencharick

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Managing Paradox Like A Zen Leader

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Mar 19, 2012 2:58:00 PM

“Once is a mistake, twice is stupidity.” My siblings and I heard that many times from our dear father. In his orderly, controlled life things were always very black and white. Once a pattern was learned we did not vary our response. Things were absolute and this served us well for many years as we matured into adulthood.


Topics: zen leader, managing paradox, paradox, managing change, leadership development

Is Zen Leadership Really Possible?

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Feb 27, 2012 11:13:00 AM

To answer this question, we first need to have an understanding of what zen brings to the leadership equation. In the simplest terms, zen is a state of being fully connected. Terms like "whole self" and "whole leadership" have been used to describe zen, which makes it seem that the path (and the payoff) to zen leadership is a bigger and more enlightened self, allowing us to lead fearlessly with all the tools of the universe at our disposal. This is absolutely true. But the paradox lies here: in order for us to let our zen leader emerge we must first get out of our own way. That means letting go of one of our most valuable possessions -- one that we have nurtured continually through our leadership climb -- our ego.


Topics: zen leader, whole leadership, zen leadership

Tension at Work - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Feb 6, 2012 7:44:00 AM

Some tension isn’t all that bad. In fact, we couldn’t move a single muscle without it.  The trouble starts when we forget how to let go. Our bodies become tight and we use tremendous amounts of energy “holding” it in place. With me, my shoulder blades are the first to start talking. But, tension affects more than our physical bodies. It affects our attitudes and work process as well, sabotaging our effectiveness with the potential of even derailing our careers when left unchecked. For example:


Topics: stress, tension, energy, managing stress

Change Management Starts from Within

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Jan 17, 2012 8:19:00 AM

A Zen Master goes up to a hot dog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything." The hot dog vendor fixes a hot dog and hands it to the Zen Master, who pays with a $20 bill. The vendor puts the bill in the cash box and closes it. “Where’s my change?” asks the Zen Master. The vendor responds, “Change must come from within.”

I know... it's an old joke. But there's truth in that punch line. The world that we create is rooted in our very nature. It plays out in how we lead and manage. For example, the leader

• who thinks large and creates a grand, overleveraged life;
• who thinks small and creates a tiny, safe life;
• who seeks outer greatness in answer to inner doubt;
• who is outwardly impatient, because it’s hard to control inner impulses;
• who’s relentlessly drawn to what’s new to stave off inner boredom.

The idea that we are in a world of our making does not mean we can consciously control everything. It's true, our choices are shaped by the past. When we can recognize that reality contains much more possibility than what's on our limited self-made palettes, we can make the flip from, what The Zen Leader calls, being "out there" to "in here."

It begins by seeing into the mirror. How am I playing into this? If I chose this, what might I get out of it? This first step lets us see how our own forces are in play.

Find the root. Like pulling a weed, if we don't find the root, our efforts are superficial. Roots are underlying fears that have molded our behavior.

Claim your power. Accept whatever your fears may be telling you, not as a judgment, but as a discovery about yourself. When fear loses its hiding place, our world becomes a vastly bigger, freer place.

The Zen Leader leads fearlessly by changing the world from "in here." How might your options increase if you had an unrestrained perspective when implementing change in your organization?

Topics: zen leader, managing change, zen, leadership, change management

Welcome to the Zen Leader Blog

A blog that transforms:

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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