December 8th is observed in the west as "Boddhi day" - the day that celebrates the waking up of the Buddha. On that day I wrote a short description of what Buddhism is and what "waking up" is for my friends on Facebook. It came out quite nice so I thought I'd share it here as well.
Imagine you're a member in a close-knit cooperative commune. The commune has been buzzing along for a few years now, and the members know each other well and coexist nicely. However, it is decided that a crucial skill for the commune is missing and new talent is needed. As the natural leader of the commune, you are asked to interview and decide which candidate would bring the most benefit to the commune.
You've seen two candidates. The first seems to be highly skilled in that one thing your commune is looking for. The second candidate also has the same skill, but he may be not as skilled as the first one. Alright, dilemma over, let's pick candidate #1. Or are we really done?
In this post I don't want to convince you that you need to meditate. I want to explain what creating a habit of meditation can do for you, and you can decide for yourself whether it's something you value enough in order to give it a shot or not. If this post was titled "Why lift weights", I would be saying that lifting weights increases your strength and/or muscle mass, and will probably make your body look nicer. If that's something you want and value, obviously lifting weights is one way to go about it.
If you want to increase your capacity to exercise conscious control over the content of your own mind, or in other words to be more the influencer of your thoughts rather than to be influenced by them, you should practice meditation. Specifically, you should start with single pointed focus meditation.
If you could narrow down the team leader's role to one sentence, what would it be?
Try asking your manager what they think your role is. They may say something like "make sure team members are doing their job". If you're lucky, they may even suffice with "make sure the team releases high quality products on time". Fair enough, both are components of a successful team. But I believe there is a principle that encompasses both of these and many other components that make a team successful. And it's a more positive principle to boot.
This is my answer:
Team leadership is all about making work fun for your team
The premise is simple: If the work activity is fun, people will do it in the best possible way. This includes quality, reliability and crucially but often overlooked, sustainability.
Officially, Broken Windows theory refers to a behavioral pattern on a societal level, where environments that tolerate little 'glitches', like a broken window or uncollected litter, will tend to slide towards the direction of more and more glitches. Throwing a piece of trash on the floor is perceived as a worse offense when the streets are trash free, yet it can be perceived as barely an offense at all when the streets are filthy. This is, in part, a mental bias: The action done is the same (throwing trash in public space), the end result is the same (an equal amount of trash is added to the environment), but we perceive the severity entirely different.