City Research Online

Mindful leadership

Tobias Mortlock, J. M. ORCID: 0000-0003-2563-2373 & Robinson, J. (2020). Mindful leadership. In: Ivtzan, I. (Ed.), Handbook of Mindfulness-Based Programmes: Mindfulness Interventions from Education to Health and Therapy. (pp. 297-312). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.


This chapter outlines our three-day Mindful Leadership programme and provides both the theory and practice embedded in the course as well as example exercises. We also present empirical research based on 21 interviews with individuals who have participated in the programme. In this programme, individuals learn three levels of mindfulness: intra-, inter- and supra-individual. They start with learning mindfulness as an intra-individual practice, and practice mustering their attention to a single point and to become fully present in any moment (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). On Day Two, the programme considers mindfulness that is inter-individual: situated in the relationships between the leader and others. Throughout Day Three, the programme considers the third, supra-individual level of learning: mindfulness situated across the ongoing social practices of an organization (Crevani, Lindgren and Packendorff, 2010). Our empirical research suggests that mindful leadership can indeed emerge from this, and our data indicates an extension to Drath et al.’s (2008) Direction-Alignment-Commitment (DAC) leadership as practice model. Mindful leaders seem to invert the sequence of theorised leadership practices by first emphasising Commitment (to remaining present particularly), second Alignment and finally Direction. This suggests that DAC in mindful leadership may emerge as CAD: Commitment first, then generating Alignment, finally providing Direction.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in, Handbook of Mindfulness-Based Programmes, on 27 August 2019, available online:
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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