Journal of Sustainable Social Change


Regardless of the gap between the demands of the global work environment and the maturity of leaders, minimal research exists on the trend of the practice of mindfulness meditation and the developmental experiences of leaders. Consequently, scholars have little understanding of how an increasing number of leaders experience mindfulness meditation. The purpose of this study was to understand the perceived impact mindfulness meditation had on leader development for 20 manager-leaders who had a regular (at least 3 days a week) mindfulness meditation practice. The primary recruitment strategy included outreach to potential participants affiliated with professionally oriented mindfulness groups on LinkedIn. The main conceptual framework was Day’s conceptualization of leader development. The central research question addressed leaders’ perceptions and experiences of the impact of mindfulness meditation on their development as leaders. A modified Stevick–Colaizzi–Keen data analysis procedure was used in this study. Key results included the identification of 10 core themes and the associated conclusion that leaders who want to contribute solutions to global challenges will have to access more of their potential, which may require engaging in contemplative practices such as mindfulness meditation. The principal recommendation includes the serious consideration of mindfulness meditation by leaders and organizational decision makers of development investments. This study has implications for positive social change, in that a better understanding of how leaders experience mindfulness meditation may provide direction for leaders and organizations about developmental practices that support leadership effectiveness.