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Resonant Leadership: Review of Book

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3. Mindfulness: The first of the three sources for renewal is mindfulness, according to Boyatzis and McKee. Mindfulness relates to being self aware and emotionally controlled (emotional intelligence) as well as aware of others and able to manage multiple relationships (social intelligence).  The authors talk about being “awake, aware, and attending— to our ourselves and the world around us “(p. 73). And while we’re often told to focus on the rational mind, the authors caution leaders to attend to the emotions of others—the seat of all action and reaction. Oftentimes, we can slip into a mindless state when we overfocus on a problem.

Actually our physical vision is greatly reduced (from 180 degrees to 30 degrees of peripheral vision) when we are under stress. In essence, as leaders, we become blind to outside data that might prove quite valuable to solve the problem. Another state that pulls us unaware into mindlessness is the “lock-step life.” That is, we begin to live out someone else’s vision for ourselves. Perhaps it’s a parent who wanted us to be a doctor or lawyer. So, we go to med school or law school and find ourselves years later bored, burned out in the midst of The Sacrifice Syndrome, and toxic to be around—even to ourselves. The authors offer some solutions. For example, reflection and renewal can take the form of meditating, writing in a journal, taking walks—anything that disturbs the spiral into a negative attractor.  Supportive relationships and attending to those around us helps us climb out of the negative hole of dissonance to be more aware and attentive to those closest to us at home, work and play. At the end of all the chapters, the authors offer some effective, easy exercises that reinforce the chapter’s lessons.

4. Hope: While mindfulness prepares us to interact with ourselves and others, it’s not enough to protect us from the dissonance default. However, hope is a powerful reset button for us all. Hope can help a leader focus on his or her vision for the future. And vision becomes a very powerful positive attractor and takes us down a path of renewal, not negative emotion and dissonance.  The authors cite examples of how positive visioning has helped great athletes win under the most stressful of situations—principally by visioning themselves winning, often in great detail. The neural paths created by such envisioning are very similar to those who have practiced such skills for a long period of time.

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