Emma Donaldson-Feilder et al, ‘What outcomes have mindfulness and meditation interventions for managers and leaders achieved? A systematic review.
No systematic review had previously been conducted examining the benefits mindfulness or meditation interventions for leaders and managers. However, the literature suggested that such interventions would have a positive impact on leaders’ own well-being, their leadership capability, their “post-conventional” leadership capacity, and their direct reports. The purpose of this study was therefore to systematically review research on mindfulness or meditation interventions for managers and leaders. Our review identified 19 studies that met the inclusion criteria. Findings indicate some encouraging signs that mindfulness and meditation interventions may improve aspects of leaders’/managers’ well-being and resilience, and leadership capability, possibly including their “post-conventional” leadership, but research results are very variable in quality and strength, and there was no evidence on benefits for participants’ direct reports. The studies reviewed explored a diversity of interventions, but provided little insight into which mindfulness and meditation interventions for managers and leaders are most effective, in what context they are best applied, or for whom they are most suitable. While the sub-set of studies that measured mindfulness found that the interventions used did increase participants’ mindfulness, there was no exploration of whether improved mindfulness was the mechanism by which other positive outcomes were achieved.