Cultivating leadership Dharma: Measuring the impact of regular mindfulness practice on creativity, resilience, tolerance for ambiguity, anxiety and stress

William Brendel, Sarah Hankerson, Sangwon Byun, Birdie Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of regular mindfulness meditation practice on five personal qualities that an extensive literature review deems critical for successful leadership in an age of rapid organizational change and uncertainty. Design/methodology/approach: In this eight-week study, the authors investigated whether a weekly, 45-minute mindfulness practice routine (n=20) would significantly improve five leadership qualities when compared with a weekly, three hour graduate level leadership course (n=21), which in contrast incorporated theoretical instruction, skills practice, and experiential learning. Both samples included organizational leaders throughout the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Findings: Results of a pre-post survey confirmed that when compared with participants in the leadership course condition, participants in the mindfulness practice condition demonstrated a significant increase in promotional regulatory focus and a significant reduction in trait anxiety and stress. No significant changes were seen for resilience or tolerance for ambiguity. This study also uncovered significant inter-correlations between scores on trait anxiety and a number of variables, most notably promotional regulatory focus. Implications exist for numerous bodies of research concerning leadership, well-being and the leadership development programs they influence, which include leadership psychology, organization development, and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Originality/value: This is the first study of its kind (to date) to investigate the impact of mindfulness practice on leadership qualities, which according to research, are critical to leadership performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1056-1078
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Management Development
Volume35
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 12 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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