Meditation makes you a better business leader

Spending quality time with themselves helps business leaders realise their full potential in all walks of life, explains Stephen Manallack, a consultant in leadership and communication and a meditation teacher, in Australia.

Stephen ManallackMeditation and leadership are two of the oldest human activities - they work well together. With beginnings in India, many western leaders are turning to this approach to improve leadership.

In meditation, we come face to face with who we are and find ways to become a better individual, and in leadership it is exactly the same - by coming face to face with who we are, we can find meaningful ways to lead others.

Leadership connects so well with meditation because it is a quick way to realise that wakefulness and ease of living are already within you - these are two of the best assets of a leader. It also helps us cope with stress and deal with change. Only through meditation does this ease of leading shine through, allowing you to be of benefit to yourself and all you touch.

Meditation is like a mango. A mango-lover might explain the taste but in the end, words cannot explain it adequately. If you want to know what a mango tastes like, you have to taste one yourself. So it is with meditation - to know if it works, you have to first try it.

The central point is that when we meditate we are reminded of who we really are. ''Know thyself'' was the prescription of the Greek philosophers, and throughout history an enduring quality of the best leaders has been their self-awareness.

In the busyness and stress of the life of a leader, a regular sitting meditation practice reconnects you with the stillness inside - it centres you and gives a sense of ease, of wellbeing. The people you lead are acutely aware of whether you have this strong core, and respect it when they see it.