The role of a leader in organizations is one of constant pressure to perform and stress to solve problems. Leaders need to be at the top of their game to be alert and productive at all times. Unfortunately, far too many leaders use adrenalin-type of strategies to do so, such as caffeine, long working hours and poor nutrition. Certainly the notion of slowing down and being in a peaceful state isn't commonly seen as an effective leadership strategy. Yet recent brain research shows that meditation can actually improve performance.
A study at American University and published in a special issue of Cognitve Processing, dedicated to meditation and consciousness in February, 2010, concluded that meditation, carried out effectively, produced a unique state of "restful alertness," as seen in the markedly higher alpha power in the frontal cortex and lower beta and gamma waves in the same area. The study also showed that meditation produced greater alpha wave coherence between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, showing that the brain's functioning actually improved. Finally, the study described how meditation enhanced an individual's sense of "self" by activating what neuroscientists call the "default node network" in the brain, the natural ground state of the brain that exists when you close your eyes, but is much more enhanced during meditation.
Previous research, funded by the National Institute of Health shows that meditation practice decreases blood pressure, heart disease, and lowers cholesterol.
So it seems that there is a cost-efficient, easy to learn strategy to enhance leaders' (and employees' in general), performance, that could make a significant difference.
Ray B. Willliams is Co-Founder of Success IQ University and President of Ray Williams Associates, companies located in Phoenix and Vancouver, providing leadership training, personal growth and executive coaching services. www.successiqu.com; www.raywillliamsassociates.com