Phra Anil Sakya is a senior Buddhist monk in Thailand who teaches mindfulness to business owners and criminals alike. His mindful cognitive therapy program at Rayong Central prison, which houses over 7,000 inmates, has had an amazing impact. While one-third of the inmates released from Thai prisons reoffend within three years, nine out of ten inmates who participated in Phra Anil’s program state that they will not come back. Phra Anil emphasizes the importance of knowing what’s right and what’s wrong, and when teaching business owners, he emphasizes placing people ahead of profit.
As schools seek to help business leaders, mindfulness teachings, which emphasize being present in the moment and self-awareness, are becoming increasingly popular in executive education. It is essential to develop these competencies for leadership and organizational development, as evidenced by research by the University of Exeter Business School, which found that more “mindful” employees are happier, less likely to quit, and less likely to find their job boring, especially in monotonous roles.
However, while mindfulness has many benefits, psychologists believe that it can backfire in some cases, making people more anxious and prone to panic attacks. To ensure that executives do not fall into these pitfalls, schools are incorporating personal development processes designed to increase self-development and self-awareness. For example, Aalto University’s management program incorporates such a process that some of their executives say helps them feel invisible support, giving them strength, confidence, and composure.
Incorporating mindfulness and reflection into an executive’s education is beneficial, as it allows individuals to develop self-awareness and become better leaders.