1st Edition

Expansive Leadership Cultivating Mindfulness to Lead Self and Others in a Changing World – A 28-Day Program

By Latha Poonamallee Copyright 2021
    234 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    234 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The structured 28-day mindfulness and contemplative journey presented in this book will help aspiring and current leaders to clarify their identities, and identify and reflect on their mental models to become more expansive leaders.

    The present moment demands new ways of being, doing, and relating with the world. To meet this moment, we need fresh, collective, inclusive, and interdependent models of leadership and new approaches to leadership development. This book goes beyond the ‘McMindfulness’ often seen in mindful leadership books, to offer a multi-faceted approach to develop a more interconnected sense of self and interdependence-centric mindsets needed for expansive leadership, through mindfulness practice. Through this practice, leaders can cultivate the ability to make deliberate choices using slow thinking and overcome any unconscious and implicit biases that are the result of fast-thinking processes. Anchored in insights from over ten years of teaching mindfulness-based leadership development courses, this book is an invitation to explore how to be a leader in an expansive, inclusive, robust, and resilient way. The reader will have an opportunity to define and refine their identity, uncover their personal mental models, and conclude by developing their own leadership philosophy.

    Leadership development professionals and teachers can adopt this for their students, coaching, and consulting clients.

    Foreword; Part 1: The Ground; 1. Preparing; 2. Letting go not Leaning in: Begin with the Breath; 3. Introducing Expansive Leadership; Part 2: Practice Principles; 4. Kindness & Curiosity; 5. Instrumentality to Transformation; 6. Holistic: Top-down and Bottom-up Engagement; Part 3: Know Thyself; 7. Constructing and Deconstructing our Identities; 8. Embodied and Embedded Identity; 9. Insider-Outsider Identity; 10. Moral Identity; Part 4: The Journey; 11. The 28 Day Journey; 12. Personal Self - Egocentricism-Individual (Day 1-7); 13. Interpersonal-Relational Self (Day 8-14); 14. Tribal or communal Self (Day 15-21); 15. Expansive-Universal Self (Day 22-28); Epilogue: Integrating & Renewing; References; Figure 1: Expansive Leadership and Mental Models; Figure 2: Stages of Mindfulness Awareness; Figure 3: 28 Day Inward & Outward Journey; Acknowledgements


    Dr. Latha Poonamallee is Associate Professor, Chair of the Faculty of Management, and University Fellow at the New School in New York City. Latha’s scholarship, teaching and practice centers generative organizing for radical change towards building a more just, equitable, sustainable, and prosperous world.

    "How do you wish to be as a leader? How can you build the mindsets and capacities to become a socially mindful, just, collective, and inclusive leader in this complex world ? This is a demanding yet achievable aspiration through a multi-faceted mindfulness approach. Latha Poonamallee offers a 28 day guide to becoming an expansive leader through a carefully curated set of reflections and meditations that "allows us to own our greatness while being brave enough to face our ignorant and ignoble impulses". This is a book that meets today’s critical leadership challenge to be mindfully complex, adaptable and expansive while being personally grounded and aware. It is a book of practices that is a real treasure for current and future leaders."

    Jane Dutton, Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology and cofounder of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business


    "Dr. Poonamallee puts forth a new model of leadership for the 21st century leader who is committed to serving a world that is diverse, complex, divided and polarized. Grounded in research, she offers a powerful model for cultivating mindfulness through identity examinations and generative reflections about how build effective, inclusive, and just organizations. This book has the potential to change our individual and collective well being."

    Shauna Shapiro, PhD, author of Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness & Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire Your Brain

    "We feel confused and even scared in these troubled times. A common tendency is to ignore our feelings and binge watch another series on TV or drink more martinis. Dr. Poonamallee offers hope in this marvelous book about meditation. She shows how kindness and curiosity are antidotes to self-centered self-righteousness that plague our lives. The practices and exercises she gently leads you into trying may offer more inner peace, harmony with others, and a sense of awe at the beauty in life and love of others."

    Richard Boyatzis, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, Case Western Reserve University, Co-author of the international best seller, Primal Leadership and the new Helping People Change.


    "Dr. Poonamallee's work on leadership has been the single most valuable tool in my professional work in HR and organization development. For developing both established and new leaders in fast-moving technology companies, it's nothing short of revolutionary. Dr. Poonamallee’s synthesis of mindfulness and emotional intelligence theories and practices as drivers of enhanced emotional intelligence unlock critical evolutions for a leader's mind. This level-up opens new possibilities for inspiring their teams, managing conflict and pressure, and building powerful new pathways to success for their businesses. As an invaluable bonus, these abilities prove incredibly powerful for self-actualization on a personal level."

    Juliette Dupre, VP – HR, Tik Tok


    "This is a valuable read for anyone attracted to ideas surrounding mindfulness, presence, self-reflection or meditation. And for those who are actively in searches for, "Who am I?" or "Why am I here; what is my purpose in life?" this book is a must!

    Poonamallee thoughtfully warns about the commodification of mindfulness in its popular rise in today’s leadership training and development industry, along with the limits of "using" meditative practices to simply cope with personal stress or anxiety. Her alternative is a holistic approach to exploring and developing a sense of oneself, inwardly and outwardly, presently and in movement toward a future. She carefully integrates western science, eastern metaphysics, and narratives from her and her students’ reflective experiences to give us a literal guide to discover and explore one’s personal self, relational self, communal self and self in a life-journey.

    Poonamallee rightfully notes that one can read this (and other) work to "know about" mindfulness, but to "understand" something real about it requires experiencing what results from actual meditative and self-reflective work. The inclusion of numerous guides and exercises that she has validated over decades of her research and practice is a valuable step toward supporting the reader to try out something so that they can discover and validate (or not) the beneficial results described so richly by the author and her trainees in this text."

    Ronald Fry, PhD. Professor, Case Western Reserve University


    "Expansive Leadership is a book with the serious objective of changing leadership perspectives with a fresh approach. It is imperative that readers read the opening pages carefully to understand context, learn the purpose and the benefits of reading the book. Inspiring that the author's note is, readers will move further into the chapters as their interest is tapped already. Techniques are well detailed, and a lay person can easily follow the routine.  The journal towards the end of the book is very important and a good tool for the reader."

    Viju Swaminathan, Head of HR Consulting, Tate Leadership Development Consulting


    "This book meticulously develops the concept of expansive leadership, and how to create that in one’s life by embracing mental models needed for this approach. Dr. Poonamallee outlines a practical and easy-to-implement program that gives us all a chance to increase our expansive leadership for a greater good. Dr. P speaks extensively about the qualities of curiosity and kindness as paths to this transformational and holistic approach to leadership that no longer buys into the hierarchical top-down approach but embraces empowerment through a bottom-up approach to change.

    This book to helps people to break away from previously embraced constricting identities, instead urges us all to embrace an existential journey that will lead to the expansive and inclusive leadership approach badly needed to address our present global dilemmas. Dr. Poonamallee does not shy away from the moral implications of mindfulness and leadership. This book does not offer the Mcmindfulness techniques which sometimes pops up in corporate settings these days, but takes us through a series of rather profound and penetrating insights to entice us along the journey that takes one from a egocentric, individualistic perspective to intra-personal transcendent  relational self that is communal without being tribal , and takes both the individual, the organization and society a whole on a path of a renewal and integration."

    Louise Kelly, PhD author of The Psychologist Manager: Success Models for Psychologies in Executive Positions, Professor Univ of La Vern


    "At a time when COVID 19 has us under siege, each of us needs to adopt ways of centering ourselves in our core, to be fortified to foster and care for not just us but others. Latha maps out a bi-directional journey, simultaneously taking us deeper into ourselves and growing to include others and touching their lives meaningfully. Mindfulness and inclusiveness are woven together to create the new tapestry of Expansive leadership, a prosocial, altruistic and transformative model that the 21st century is in dire need of. As a model, expansive leadership opens up a personal, humanistic route to make oneself capable of transforming us to who we wish to be and how we wish to lead. 

    Using an intimate and inspiring style, Latha gently leads us through the personal growth process, helping us clarify the principles on which we base our identity and approach towards others. Through the many reflective yet grounding exercises, one is led to rethink our moral identities and recreate our mental models to rise up to our expansive – transcendental self. In the book, I found a secular and empowering approach to using mindfulness in leading self and others, anchored on reflection and progress."

    Priya Rajeev, PhD. Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode


    "Dr. Poonamallee contributes a fresh, even path-breaking, take on how Mindfulness, Mental Models (e.g. the need for awareness of/critical reflection on how our individual-tribal-collective mental models profoundly shape behaviors that quickly follow), and Expansive Leadership (as compared to more conventional leadership approaches) can better equip us for life in today's highly diverse, closely networked, fast-changing, often conflict-riven social settings. The book is conversational and supported strongly by scholarship. It's an exciting approach that cleverly invites mindful reflection-and-learning."

    Anita Howard, PhD. Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant, Professor, Case Western Reserve University


    "In this extraordinary book, Latha Poonamallee gives us the essence of "mindfulness" and shows us how its powerful and broad implications create more effective leaders. She knows what she’s talking about: Her years as a practitioner and first-person experiences demonstrate her credibility. Her research expertise builds a bullet-proof case for "Mindful Leadership" that rests on solid empirical evidence. Her years teaching the theory and practice of this new leadership model, in a variety of settings, give us insight into how accessible mindfulness is to us all.  Considering the plethora of books on this topic over the past few years, it would have been easy for Poonamallee’s leadership model to get lost in the noise. But she cuts through it effortlessly and, simultaneously, takes us by the grown-up hand to show us the steps for applying it in twenty-eight days."

    Mark Lipton, PhD. Professor of Management, The New School, and author of "Mean Men: The perversion of America’s self-made man" and "Guiding Growth: How vision keeps companies on course"


    "Mindfulness is gaining ground as a means to deal with the troubled times we live in. As someone who has regained her equilibrium through mindfulness, I would urge you to adopt these simple practices in your everyday life. Dr. Poonamallee’s lucid style made this book a ready reckoner for me to evolve into a self-assured practitioner. A must have on your bookshelf in your journey towards calm and inner peace."

    Hastha Krishnan, CEO, Tate Leadership Consulting & Trustee, The Ma Foi Foundation


    "I was highly impressed with Dr. Poonamallee’s book, Expansive Leadership as it hits home on so many levels. Whether you want to be able to understand yourself, your team or the organization you work for, your community/family -or really any ecosystem that is important to you- this is a book you want to read. 

    Expansive Leadership de-mystifies mindfulness. It will help you become more authentic, flexible and effective through conscious reflection and action. There are also plenty of interactive exercises in the book to keep you on your toes. There are numerous nuggets taken from pop culture to scientific thinking- something here for everyone. I appreciate the deep wisdom and kindness that come from an open mind and heart. 

    And if you are like me-curious about people and the world and specifically, what makes for great leaders, you will thoroughly enjoy Expansive Leadership!"

    Sue Varma, MD, PC, DFAPA, Clinical Assistant Prof. Psychiatry, NYU Langone


    "Expansive Leadership is a book for our time. As we have experienced the uncertainties of the past year, what will we need from our leaders as we come together into the physical space of work? Latha Poonamallee has created a 28 day program which introduces ways for leaders to cultivate mindfulness and offers a fresh, inspired pathway to change."

    Sharon Salzberg, author of Loving Kindness and Real Change