Developing Leader Qualities

"If we want to develop leaders, we need to be clear on what we mean by leader. What makes a leader? It is a question that has been studied for decades but not well answered. To me, leadership is a set of qualities and characteristics formed within each of us and practiced in group and organizational settings.

An ideal leader is well balanced, with personal awareness, people skills, and a love for learning, with knowledge in business, systems thinking, and other fields, and all of these qualities framed in confidence, humility, and wisdom. We help leaders see themselves and their organizations differently. To do this takes a willingness to see each person, each issue, and each moment freshly, and to challenge our own assumptions about virtually everything.

I practice Zen as part of my own personal development. In Zen, this way of seeing things is referred to as "beginner's mind", seeing the world with fresh eyes and seeing people in the moment rather than seeing their old stories. Like the path of Zen, developing leadership qualities is a practice, something you do every day of your life, mindfully paying attention to your thoughts and behaviors and how they affect you and others. To practice Zen is to live each moment with beginner’s mind, innocent and open, curious, seeing just what is there. To practice leadership is no different. If your mind is clear, it is always ready and open to anything. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's, few" — Shunryu Suzuki. The reasoning in this statement is that once you believe you are an expert at anything, you’ve closed your mind to new information, to some degree. You’re no longer tuned in, listening, observing, for anything new that you may learn."

Our leadership services include the following areas, as well as customized learning:

  • executive coaching
  • communicating effectively
  • increasing emotional intelligence
  • understanding and shaping culture
  • developing your personal brand
  • developing self awareness
  • mindfulness practice
  • developing leadership qualities
  • developing dynamic teams
  • the fifth discipline: systems thinking
  • learning organizations

"As former MIT professor and foundational thought leader Edgar Schein said about organizations: leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin [[Related Article]]. An organization is a reflection of the values and beliefs of its leadership and its members. We know that the degree of congruency between the values and beliefs of an organization's leaders and of its members, correlates with the power of an organization’s culture. The more they differ, the more cultural dissonance and the less productivity. Our leadership programs include learning about organizational culture.

At Mindshift, our work with leaders involves individual development, restoring perspective and renewing energy, understanding the context and interdependencies of organizational change, designing vibrant cultures and shared futures, and examining underlying beliefs and assumptions. We offer team-based leadership experiences and individual coaching. Our process helps leaders develop personal awareness, cultural awareness, skills in human relations and communications, and strategic insights."

Hans Kuendig, Founder, Ph.D.
650 201 7286 |