Chade-Meng Tan (affectionately known as “Meng”), is the author of the book, Search Inside Yourself, a developer of the related Google course and one of the founders of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.
Meng maintains that as we grow in mindfulness we develop calmness of mind and clarity of thought. So whatever the stressful situation we are in, we are able to remain in control of our emotions – instead of being held captive by the primitive part of our brain, the amygdala. (Meng’s Google Talk)
We are able to notice our emotions as they occur and to choose how we respond, e.g communicate with compassion, instead of with anger. We are no longer controlled by our emotions.
The insight we gain is not only insight into ourselves but also understanding and insight into others’ emotions, motivations and behaviour. So we are better able to communicate from this position of increased understanding and insight, a position of increased clarity of mind not confounded by emotions. We also gain a greater understanding and appreciation of our environment, both the natural environment and also the micro and macro work context.
The Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute’s two day program on mindful leadership and emotional intelligence offers a process to help leaders communicate with insight in the context of difficult conversations. The process involves reflection on a conflicted conversation that you have been involved in with another person. It aims to help you to gain insight into your own perceptions, emotions and motivation and those of the other person.
The two step process starts with an analysis of your involvement in the conflict. Firstly you are asked to identify the content of the conflict (what happened from your perspective) and secondly, your feelings at the time (your emotions). The process then helps you to gain a deep insight into your own motivations.
The third step, then, is the critical one. The assumption is that both parties in the conflict are ultimately trying to deal with identity issues – a fundamental motivation behind the conflict for each party. These identity issues are expressed as three questions:
- am I competent?
- am I a good person?
- am I worthy of love?
Once you answer these identity issues questions for yourself, you put yourself in the position of the other person and repeat the three step process with respect to the other person in the conflict (the what, the feelings and the identity issues for them).
This then puts you in a position to communicate with renewed insight into the other person in the conflict You should undertake the follow-up conversation only after you have first reflected on your intention on having the subsequent conversation. You may actually decide not to pursue a further conversation at this point, but resolve to approach the next interaction with greater care and insight.
Communicating with insight comes with growth in mindfulness. As Meng points out, if you have developed mindfulness, you are able to approach any situation, whatever it involves, with clarity of mind and calmness (free from from the influence of uncontrolled emotions).
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of geralt on Pixabay