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  • Writer's pictureGraeme Findlay

Leadership. Self or Behaviour?

Have you done your Mindfulness training today? No?

I thought that you wanted to be a better leader. Come on. You’re not going to improve unless you increase your level of self-awareness. That’s why you need mindfulness training. Only takes 20 minutes per day.

At this point you should be shouting “What do you mean only twenty minutes! My life is full. Twenty minutes is a huge proportion of my day. And you want me to do it every day! And tell me again why I am doing it. How does it actually make a difference?”


A good question I say. Is mindfulness worth investing nearly 5% of your working day? And how does the impact actually manifest itself? You could chew through a lot of leadership books with that investment of time. Books that told you what to do; how to create strategy, how to build teamwork, how to implement continuous improvement. Wouldn’t that be a better use of your time?

While conducting research associated with our Leadership Differential® program, we had a surprising finding. There is an enormous volume of material devoted to the development of Self. When you take away the clutter and jargon, you can generally trace this back to some straightforward origins. The approach will be based on a very few seminal works from the academic fields of Psychology and Philosophy and/or have a spiritual dimension.


Then there is the huge volume of material devoted to your Behaviours as a leader. In other words “As a leader, what do I do?”. In this field we try to learn from studying the impact of our actions. This can be from an academic base of History, Sociology and Anthropology, or the specific studies of organisations in the management sciences.

The surprise was the degree to which the field stratifies between these approaches. The mindfulness app on your phone doesn’t tell you what to do differently in your strategy meeting today. And that HBR article on the application of design thinking to strategy doesn’t tell you to work on developing your self-awareness. 

We believe that significant and sustainable improvement in leadership capability requires that both Self and Behaviours are addressed. It is patently obvious that self-awareness development makes no difference unless you actually do something differently as a result. From the other perspective, teaching leadership skills is fruitless in the presence of deeply ingrained behaviours driven from the unconscious.

We therefore designed our Leadership Differential® program to cover both dimensions. But it does more than just jump between the two approaches. Our meta-model methodology ties the two together in a way that enables deep insight and profound change.

Curious? Stay tuned to learn more.

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