Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
This book will save your life... or at least make you a great leader!
on March 30, 2008
Reading Michael Carroll's book and attending his weekend retreat earlier this year turned around my attitude at the office, prepared me well for several looming crises at work, and nearly saved my life. His book Mindful Leadership is essential for anyone trying to lead successfully in today's world of information overload, anti-rationalism, and blind decision-making. It is equally helpful for a business leader, public servant, diplomat or aid worker, NGO or community organizer. Rather than give advice on what to do when, he teaches us that mindful leadership means being open and synchronized--which allows us to tap into our own natural goodness and wisdom that is already in our environment and telling us how to lead.
In many respects, Michael's teachings struck familiar chords for me, since I have been meditating and leading mindfully for years. I already knew that dropping our own addiction to rehearsing our emotions as mental dramas and being open to a situation can yield unexpected wisdom, and I also knew that being open to the world can leave us feeling unprepared and deeply exposed (p. 187). It was reassuring to read examples that show awareness and patience to be among the skills of a mindful leader, and to learn to trust in the basic wisdom of our environment and self.
No doubt you (as a leader) are already strong in some areas too, and this book will help you to see how to improve in those areas that may be underdeveloped. Some of his ideas were uncomfortable for me at first--for instance, the idea that it's a waste of energy to fight arrogance and hypocrisy as if they were a static enemy, and that mindful leaders instead paddle with the fluid momentum of organizations by using a synchronized sense of timing, awareness, and realism (p. 174). Once I read that chapter, I realized that Michael presented a more mature approach, and testing it out I found that his teachings were right on the mark. I immediately stopped flailing my arms as a tired boxer, and started working with the world as it is rather than as I thought it should be; this was a change that has helped save my sanity and make me more effective in the midst of serious crises.
Michael's writing style successfully combines unparalleled business experience with the thousand-year-old wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, without being too strong (or weak) on either. This book reads very much like Chögyam Trungpa's Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior--very down to earth and practical, yet based on deep wisdom from one of humankind's oldest spiritual paths.
If only I could encourage my colleagues to read this book and internalize its teachings, U.S. foreign policy and government leaders would be more effective. Michael and a few other colleagues have already been applying mindful leadership to the field of law with wonderful results, and there is room for application to other fields. Perhaps if I write a longer review for our diplomatic service publications...