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  • Writer's picturethanelawrie

What are the characteristics of a Buddhist CEO?

My novel The Buddhist CEO will be published on the 13th December. What was my idea for The Buddhist CEO all about. What in my opinion are the characteristics that define a Buddhist CEO?

My novel is fictional and follows the life and career of my main character, called Hamish. In my own life and career I was an award winning CEO and I am also a Buddhist. Although the story is fictional, I am writing about a subject I have a lot of experience in.

In the novel Hamish finds himself being offered the opportunity to become the CEO of a large not for profit organisation. He wonders should he take the job or not? His main concern being how will becoming a CEO impact upon his Buddhist practice that is so important to him. He decides to take the job and resolves to lead as the Buddhist CEO. But what did I envisage when I wrote about a Buddhist CEO? What are the leadership qualities displayed by a Buddhist CEO?

In my mind a Buddhist CEO is someone committed to leading their organisation with

diligence, integrity and compassion. They will seek to develop a workplace culture that treats staff with respect. The organisation they lead will develop clear and fair policies that are applied fairly to all staff.

An organisation led by a Buddhist CEO will ensure staff speak to each other with respect and dignity. Customers and partner organisations working closely with a Buddhist CEO's company will recognise the organisation as honest and trustworthy and one that always strives to deliver high quality service. If they fail to meet this level of service they will be the first to put their hand up and admit they got something wrong and will seek to rectify the situation.

A Buddhist CEO seeks to lead by example through their own behavior. Showing fairness and consideration in their dealings with staff at all levels across the company. Whilst setting a clear direction for where the company is heading and what it wants to achieve. A Buddhist CEO will also be willing to admit when they have personally made a mistake.

One of the more controversial character traits of a Buddhist CEO, is that they are willing to actually deal with difficult situations and in particular with difficult people. Throughout my career, the most damaging, recurring issue I have seen in the many companies I have worked for, is leaders unwillingness to deal with such situations. The damage that a toxic team member can have on an organisation, a team and on their colleagues health should not be underestimated.

A Buddhist CEO, whilst seeking to treat everyone well, will not shy away from dealing with

difficult staff members. They will give people an honest chance to change their negative behavior. But if they do not they will be willing to take action against such people. Even removing them from the company if they deem the behavior to be toxic. The Buddhist CEO does this as they know in the long term this will help the company develop a positive culture and achieve its goals.

A Buddhist CEO recognises that treating people fairly and with respect is fundamental in creating a positive, supportive and exciting workplace culture. However, they also recognise that despite setting positive aspirations for the company not everyone will necessarily be supportive. Ultimately they know that such people and their behaviors need to be tackled before a positive culture can flourish.

Buddhist CEO's also recognise that they need to show compassion towards themselves as well as their employees. They are human too. Despite not always showing it outwardly, all senior leaders know deep down, that the stress of their role takes its toll on some level. The Buddhist CEO is brave enough to admit this and seeks to find positive ways of relaxing and forgetting about the company even for a short while. This will often involve being in nature, participating in a sport or hobby, meditating and spending time with friends and family.

In my novel, Hamish's journey is not always easy as is the case for most leaders. Join him on his journey and judge for yourself how well or not, he does.

How many leaders out there lead like a Buddhist CEO? Have you been lucky to work with a few of them? Thankfully I have been fortunate to meet a few in my career. But like many people I am sure, I have met leaders who are quite the opposite.

The Buddhist CEO can be pre-ordered now at a variety of online sites, ahead of publication on 13th December. Below are links to a few of the sites where it can be purchased.

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