Leadership and Wisdom

Wisdom has often been associated with effective leadership.  Experience, adaptive strategies, awareness, emotional intelligence, pragmatics, vision, minimal thought distortions, low fear and high courage, empathy, and Humility are characteristics common to most effective executives. 
The components of Wisdom Therapy explicitly aim to train executives for these skills.  The corporate application of Wisdom Therapy includes several components, including Emotional Intelligence training.
Wisdom Therapy also includes Mindfulness Meditation, which has been empirically shown to be effective in (1)  Increasing awareness to alternatives and options, an essential leadership ability, and (2) Enabling executives to be less rigid & attached to a particular direction – a valuable skill when a particular strategy proves faulty. 
The Cognitive-Behavioral component of Wisdom Therapy provides executives with the tools to minimize the twelve so-called cognitive distortions.  These are thought patters that are based on faulty assumptions that tend to lead to faulty decisions.   Addressing them explicitly enables effective shifts towards more realistic thinking and action.
Humility is yet another critical component of most high level executives.  The awareness of our limited knowledge and the respect and appreciation for the system as a whole are among the prominent aspects of this component.  Like the other dimensions, this can be trained and practiced.
Finally, although corporations must address the bottom line, leaders are often unaware that maintaining empathy and compassion for those in and out of the company often serves to multiply the rewards dramatically.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation facilitates several characteristics.  First, it brings one’s attention to the present context so little energy and few mental resources are lost to regrets of the distant past or to fears of an unforeseen future.  At the same time, one still learns lessons from the past and plans for the future, but critically, does so with a present focus.  Secondly, Mindfulness increases awareness and quite simply expands one’s scope of perceived options.  Thirdly, Mindfulness leads to an action-oriented approach that enables the executive to be less judgmental, and more action-oriented.


Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence has been established for nearly two decades as an essential skill for organizational success.  Being aware of one’s own emotions and that of others, and developing the skill to regulate emotions is at the heart of this practice.  Wisdom Therapy provides multiple exercises for facilitating this invaluable skill.  Greater detail on this can be found in the chapter on Emotional Intelligence in the Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology.  This chapter by Shani Robins, Ph.D. is titled, A Consultant’s Guide to Understanding and Promoting Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace.     
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Stress Management

Because Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy facilitates more realistic thinking and provides effective relaxation techniques, stress is reduced dramatically.  The anxiety associated with stress is frequently associated with future-oriented thinking and the cognitive distortion of ‘fortune-telling’.  Mindfulness Meditation brings the attention to the present and thus, in and of itself dramatically reduces anxiety and stress.  The Emotional Intelligence component of Wisdom Therapy further facilitates positive social interaction that yet further reduces stress.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict in corporate settings exists at multiple levels.  It exists within individuals, between dyads, in small work groups, between groups, between employees, managers, and executives, and between individuals within each of those categories.  Conflict also results from Mergers and Acquisitions, and in Organizational Development.
Several key components seem to be ubiquitous to many such conflicts.  One category seems to be the cognitive assumptions and expectations held by the various parties.  A second aspect of conflict includes a degree of arrogance that one is right and others are wrong.  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Humility training address both and have thus proven to be invaluable in conflict resolution work.  Mindfulness Meditation helps not only to reduce tension and stress, but to decrease judgmental inclinations and increase empathy towards the other parties.   A systems perspective is often also included in the training to diminish the likelihood of myopic attitudes and interactions, and provide the big picture of the organization as a whole.

Wisdom Therapy in the Corporation

Wisdom Therapy has been applied in Fortune 500 companies such as Yahoo! and Cadence Design Systems with remarkable results such as increases in emotional intelligence, productivity, work group cooperation, leadership, and company loyalty and decreases in anger, anxiety, stress and conflict.  Our consulting takes a systems approach towards facilitating skills and addressing the stressors and conflicts that emerge on the individual, work-group, and company-wide levels.  Our consulting ranges from Emotional Intelligence trainings and Conflict Resolution to Stress Management and Mindfulness Meditation skills to Executive Coaching and Wisdom in Leadership.  We also work with EAP to provide needed services.


© 2008 The Wisdom Therapy Institute