Leaders who truly engage their people do so by enabling and empowering their people. They facilitate a supportive culture and help their people find purpose and meaning in their work. This in turn unlocks innovation and productivity.
For over a decade, we have worked with leaders helping them to engage their people and develop high-performing teams through mindfulness and people-centered approaches to leadership and culture. A few years ago, we decided to leverage our experience in people-centered approaches in a study with Harvard Business Review on how leaders engage their people.
We surveyed and interviewed 35,000+ leaders and 250 C-level executives worldwide and paired the findings with research results from the organizational and leadership development programs we have done with companies such as Deloitte, Cisco, IKEA and Marriott and 500+ others.
The results where clear: To engage their people and utilize their full potential, organizations need to put people at the center of their strategy.
It begins with developing leaders who lead themselves, their and their organizations with three core mental qualities: Mindfulness (M), selflessness (S) and compassion (C). Together, MSC Leadership; a practical framework for leadership development.
“The principles of mindfulness, selflessness and compassion in many ways go against the grain of how many businesses are run. They inspire me and provide insights to further evolve our culture and put people first.” Arne Sorenson, CEO and President of Marriott International
A mindful culture of meaning, connection and contribution.
Mindfulness is being present with a calm, focused, and clear mind. It refers to both a practice and a state of mind. The more you practice it, the more it becomes a state of mind.
It strengthens your ability to be present, focus, and prioritize in a busy day while being aware of the bigger picture and your strategic priorities. When we work with leaders, we include practical exercises to neurologically strengthen focus and brainpower but also on how to enhance their presence with their people.
”If we as leaders are mindful, we will better know what really matters to our people. We are more present, attentive, and curious. I know the difference between being present with my people and when I am not. I only have impact when I am.” Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International
We help leaders create a mindful culture of meaning, connection and contribution. This is the very core of a truly people-centered organization where people are intrinsically motivated and engaged to deliver high performance.
Inclusive leadership that enables and engages your people
Leadership is about getting results with others and thus developing and growing your people, so they thrive and shine with your support is paramount for reaching strategic goals.
A strong will and self-confidence combined with humility is a recipe for inclusive leadership that enables and engages your people. It’s basically about getting out of your own way. This is a personal developmental process where we work with leaders to balance selflessness and self-confidence to utilize their full leadership potential.
“An enterprise is made of people and the success of the enterprise depends on the engagement of people. Each and every role is important. Everybody counts. Everybody deserves respect. So, we invest in servant leadership training, nonviolent communication training, and mindfulness training. This helps us create a collaborative network and an enterprise based on meaning. These intentions are shared by 100 percent of the people in the enterprise.” Antoine Raymond, CEO of a French traditional industrial production company.
Selflessness is not just a nice philosophy – when implemented in the culture it drives business results. We work with leaders to develop a culture where the collective mission and purpose is in focus. People work as teams where everybody matters, and experience being valued for their contribution. This creates a sense of common purpose that unlocks intrinsic motivation and drive.
Self-compassion is crucial to sustaining high performance
Most senior leaders have been taking good care of themselves mentally and physically throughout their careers. In fact, C-suite executives are the ones that are most disciplined about getting their 8 hours a night. Why? Because self-compassion is crucial to sustaining high performance.
Compassion is a hard skill. Literally. We define compassion as the intent to contribute to the long-term happiness and wellbeing of others. Compassion takes courage, strength and the ability to keep the bigger picture in mind. It is having the difficult conversations, giving constructive feedback and making the tough decisions that serve the greater good of the company.
“I can be very demanding, and I have extremely high standards, but I understand that people are human. I try to balance being powerful and soft at the same time. By showing compassion for the people we work with, by genuinely connecting with them human to human, and by recognizing their whole person and life, we will have far stronger professional relationships and results.” Nancy Greene, CEO of Athleta.
As with everything, it takes practice. We use mindfulness to practice rational and wise compassion with our clients empowering them to drive a compassionate and socially cohesive culture.
MSC leadership and the research behind it is thoroughly explained as a practical framework in the book The Mind of the Leader by Rasmus Hougaard, Founder and Managing Director, Potential Project International and Jacqueline Carter, International Partner and Director of Potential Project North America.