Mindful Leadership for Chairs

Last updated June 24, 2022

Course Length

1h 24m

Last Updated

June 24, 2022

Mindful Leadership for Chairs

Last updated June 24, 2022

Practice mindful leadership as a Chair by gaining perspective, making more intentional decisions, and setting clear boundaries with others.


When separated from its contemplative framework, mindfulness boils down to three core principles that are essential to effective leadership: gaining perspective, making intentional decisions, and setting clear boundaries with others. Department Chairs need all of these skills to be successful in their roles, yet amid today’s chaotic environment, the space and time to develop them can be hard to come by.

Join us for an online training designed to help you lead with a clearer mind and sense of intention. We’ll break the concept of mindful leadership down into practical, approachable terms and offer tools to help you navigate the daily challenges of leading as a Chair, such as:

  • Clarifying issues with your faculty, diffusing emotions around them, and holding the line.
  • Drawing clear boundaries around your role and what is and is not possible.
  • Recognizing complex organizational challenges and putting them into perspective.
  • Understanding the tensions inherent within your decisions.

Who should attend?

This training is intended for any incoming or existing Department Chairs who want to develop a greater sense of control, agency, and personal efficacy in their leadership. The greater the scope of your leadership and responsibilities as a Chair, the more you will benefit from this training.


August 4, 2022

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

Defining mindful leadership

We’ll begin our training by defining mindful leadership and explaining how its principles translate in practical terms to day-to-day Department Chair leadership.


Navigating interpersonal challenge

One of the most difficult parts of being a Chair is that, all too often, faculty and staff want to walk in, dump their problems on you, and then walk out, leaving you to solve or carry them. If you don’t know how to manage this, it can be massively overwhelming. In this section, we’ll offer tools for:

  • Effective listening
  • Perspective taking vs. agreeing or having an argument
  • Responding vs. reacting
  • Diffusing emotions and holding the line
  • Drawing boundaries around your role and the actions you can or cannot take


Navigating organizational challenges

As a Chair, you’re responsible for helping to overcome numerous organizational challenges. These are often complex in nature, and it can be difficult to know how to tackle them and where to begin. In this section, we’ll offer strategies to help you put challenges like the following into a broader perspective:

  • Balancing (often resource-poor) budgets
  • Negotiating faculty teaching loads and staffing classes equitably
  • Navigating bureaucracy
  • Balancing the need to innovate with the academy’s reliance on convention

You’ll learn how to identify the various tensions and choice points inherent within your organization’s functioning, as well as how to set long-term goals and objectives consistent with the broader context of your unit and college.