Learn to Lead with Calm, Courage, and Compassion

Mindful Leadership Training


Mindful leadership is crucial in these uncertain times. It is based on developing self-awareness and cultivating self-regulation skills, in order to be able to lead others most effectively.

Woman leading groupBeing a mindful leader also requires understanding others’ perspectives, communicating effectively, and inspiring others. COVID-19 and recent social unrest have turned the world upside down leading to heightened uncertainty, angst, and financial stress. Leaders are needed now more than ever to navigate our workforce through COVID-19 and the next normal.

Hoos Well has partnered with the UVA Mindfulness Center and eMindful (the provider of eM Life, UVA's online mindfulness platform) to offer, at no cost to participants, a two-part Mindful Leadership Skills Training program to leaders and aspiring leaders at UVA.

Part One: Virtual, Introductory-level Mindful Leadership Program 

  • 8 weekly, 45-minute interactive webinars, exclusive to UVA
  • Led by an eMindful expert teacher
  • Goal: Introduce mindfulness and its pertinence to well-being, team culture, performance, and UVA leadership competencies. Read the curriculum.
  • The next Mindful Leadership Program will be held on Wednesdays at 4:00 PM from August 3 - September 21, 2022.
  • To register, log into or create your eM Life account and type "Mindful Leadership for UVA" into the search bar. (This program is designed specifically for UVA employees and requires you to be logged in to eM Life to view and register for the program.)

Part Two: Advanced Mindful Leadership Training course

  • Led by Dr. John Schorling, Director of the UVA Mindfulness Center
  • Follows the format of the MBSR curriculum: 8 weekly, 2-hour sessions, plus a half-day retreat. 
  • This course is held twice each year. The next course will be held from 4 - 6 PM on Wednesdays, from October 12 - December 7, 2022. (Note: there will be no session on November 23).
  • Ways to cultivate key Emotional Intelligence domains and competencies are presented throughout the course
  • Each session addresses specific UVA leadership competencies that are based on the Korn Ferry Leadership Architect™ framework. Read the curriculum below.
  • Click the link below to apply for the next cohort. Enrollment is limited to 30.
  • There is no cost to participants, but there is a prerequisite for matriculation:
    • Participation in at least 6 of the 8 weekly sessions of the Mindful Leadership Program  (live participation is required for at least 3 of these sessions), OR
    • Prior completion of a MBSR-based course provided by the UVA Mindfulness Center, OR
    • Prior completion of an academic course or comparable program on mindfulness (minimum 8-week duration).
To register for Part 1, log in to eM Life and type "Mindful Leadership for UVA" in the search bar Apply for the next Advanced Mindful Leadership Training course (Part 2), beginning October 12, 2022

Curriculum for Part 1: Introductory-Level Mindful Leadership Program

Through this Mindful Leadership Program, you will build mindfulness skills and competencies to show up authentically and lead effectively. This program will help you:

  • Increase self-awareness and self-regulation
  • Improve collaboration and problem-solving
  • Cultivate an inclusive environment
  • Manage challenging situations with more grace and ease.

In addition to the mindfulness skills that you will develop as leaders, you will find the leadership competencies for UVA's Cornerstone Program and UVA Health's ASPIRE values woven into each session. Expand the sections to below to read a description of each session and how it aligns with UVA leadership competencies and values.  The curriculum of this introductory-level Mindful Leadership Program is designed to prepare you for participation in the Advanced Mindful Leadership Training course.

  • 1. INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS MINDFUL LEADERSHIP?

    Mindful leadership is needed now more than ever. Leading effectively during times of change and uncertainty requires leaders to refocus efforts and align values and competencies to what matters most. Mindful leaders can meet new challenges by fostering inclusive environments and leading with courage and respect.

    • UVA Leadership Competencies: Strategic Mindset, Interpersonal Savvy, Values Differences, Organizational Savvy, Situational Adaptability
    • UVA Values: Stewardship, Respect
  • 2. DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP PRESENCE

    Leadership presence is the ability to be with people and situations as they are. With mindfulness, learn to adapt, show up authentically and listen attentively, and drive purpose and results with professionalism, integrity, and excellence leading to increased trust and ease in your relationships.

    • UVA Leadership Competencies: Strategic Mindset, Drives Results, Interpersonal Savvy, Values Differences, Organizational Savvy, Drives Vision and Purpose, Demonstrates Self-Awareness, Situational Adaptability
    • UVA Values: Accountability, Stewardship, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect, Excellence
  • 3. CULTIVATING A LEARNING MINDSET

    A learning mindset helps leaders see day-to-day challenges as opportunities to improve professionalism and collaboration by practicing “beginners mind” to avoid falling into “already knowing” the answers. A learning mindset leads to greater self-awareness and potential for increased creativity, diverse thinking, and problem-solving.

    • UVA Leadership Competencies: Demonstrates self-awareness, Situational Adaptability
    • UVA Values: Accountability, Stewardship, Professionalism, Integrity, Excellence
  • 4. GAINING CLARITY

    Clarity is seeing what’s actually happening and not mistaking one’s own thoughts as the full story. With mindfulness, you become aware of your thought patterns and habits of reactivity, leading to continual improvement and learning and stronger collaboration and decision making.

    • UVA Leadership Competencies: Demonstrates Self-Awareness, Situational Adaptability
    • UVA Values: Accountability, Stewardship
  • 5. INCREASING SELF-REGULATION

    Emotional Intelligence or the ability to recognize and manage one’s emotions is key to effective leadership. With mindfulness, you increase awareness of emotions and learn how to manage emotional reactions to be honest, open, and fair in relationship with others.

    • UVA Leadership Competencies: Demonstrates Self-Awareness, Situational Adaptability
    • UVA Values: Stewardship, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect
  • 6. CULTIVATING FLEXIBILITY

    Constant change is common in today’s landscape and having the ability to shift readily helps leaders and teams thrive. With mindfulness, you learn to focus and shift attention, expanding your capacity to responsibly and carefully manage resources and commitment to continual improvement and learning.

    • UVA Leadership Competencies: Strategic Mindset, Organizational Savvy, Situational Adaptability
    • UVA Values: Stewardship, Excellence
  • 7. BUILDING SELF-CONFIDENCE

    A self-confident leader inspires, energizes, and motivates others to bring their best selves to work each day. Learn how mindfulness helps you develop the self-awareness and self-trust to acknowledge and assume responsibility for successes and setbacks and lead a team that thrives.

    • UVA Leadership Competencies: Demonstrates Self-Awareness
    • UVA Values: Accountability
  • 8. DEVELOPING AN ACTION PLAN FOR SUCCESS

    Integrate what you have learned by developing a plan to use mindful leadership skills to align with UVA leadership competencies and UVA Health’s ASPIRE values. You also will learn the benefits of continuing your mindfulness journey by participating in the Advanced Mindful Leadership Training course offered by the UVA Mindfulness Center.

    • UVA Core Competencies: Drives Results, Demonstrates Self-Awareness
    • UVA Values: Stewardship, Excellence
The course identified key areas that I could cultivate through mindfulness. I liked using the lens of leadership to apply the mindfulness techniques and mindset. Participant in UVA's Mindful Leadership Program, Fall 2020

Curriculum for Part 2: Advanced Mindful Leadership Training Course

This course will help participants further develop their mindful leadership skills by:

  • Building on their prior mindfulness experience
  • Participating in discussions and experiential activities during the classes
  • Practicing these skills between classes, by devoting 30-45 minutes a day to the homework practices

Following the format of the evidence-backed “gold standard” for mindfulness training, the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum, this course includes eight, 2-hour weekly sessions and a half-day retreat. Emotional intelligence is key to being a mindful leader, and ways of cultivating emotional intelligence are presented throughout the course. Each session will also address specific UVA leadership competencies-- which are based on the Korn Ferry Leadership Architect™, a research-based global competency framework.  In addition, the competencies of Demonstrates Self-Awareness and Self-Development will be addressed in every class. 

  • Class 1: Introduction to Advanced Mindful Leadership

    In this initial session, we will review the theoretical underpinnings of mind-body relationships, define mindful awareness, and introduce self-regulatory skills.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will be able to define mind-body relationship.
    2. Participants will be able to define self-regulation.
    3. Participants will be able to define mindful awareness.

    The principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Courage, Being Resilient and Instills Trust.

    The Emotional Intelligence Domain which will be addressed is Self-Awareness and the Competency of Emotional Self-Awareness.

  • Class 2: Cultivating Awareness: Perception and the Neuroscience of Attention

    Understanding perception and cultivating awareness are necessary to be able to understand our biases and how they can affect both our reactions and actions.  Leaders need to be able to see clearly so they can manage themselves and others optimally. 

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will be able to describe the difference between a stressor and stress
    2. Participants will be able to describe how conditioning affects experience
    3. Participants will be able to define present moment awareness and apply it to acting mindfully

    The principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Nimble Learning, Manages Ambiguity, and Decision Quality.

    The Emotional Intelligence Domain which will be addressed is Self-Awareness and the Competency of Emotional Self-Awareness.

  • Class 3: Recognizing Beliefs: Self-Narratives and the Physiology and Psychology of Stress Reactivity

    As the writer Anais Nin observed, “We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.” How we see the world is influenced by our beliefs, some of which we may not even consciously recognize.  Since these can influence our actions, bringing mindful awareness to them so that we can skillfully choose what we do is crucial to being an effective leader. Effective leaders need to be able to manage stressful situations appropriately, and often have to do this on a regular basis.  Mindfulness can help leaders work with, reduce and recover more quickly from stressful situations.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will be able to recognize self-narratives and their relationship to fixed ideas of how they view the world.
    2. Participants will be able to describe how unconscious and conscious processes interact in the brain in response to stressful situations.
    3. Participants will be able to define emotion regulation.
    4. Participants will be able to describe the STOP process and how it can lead to greater flexibility in responding to stress.
    5. Participants will be able to use movement as a mindfulness practice.

    The principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Situational Adaptability, Decision Quality, Manages Ambiguity and Courage.

    The Emotional Intelligence Domains which will be addressed are Self-Awareness and Self-Management and the Competencies of Emotional Self-Awareness, Emotional Self-Control, and Adaptability.

  • Class 4: Managing Difficult Situations Effectively: Responding with Skill

    Recognizing how individuals react to stressful situations can help leaders guide more effective responses for themselves and others.  Mindfulness is a way of being aware of stress and conditioned ways of reacting and can allow for greater choice and more skillful responses. Developing more adaptive coping mechanisms is a crucial skill for leaders.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will be able to describe the difference between reacting and responding.
    2. Participants will understand the relationship between emotions, bodily sensations and thoughts in the response to stress.
    3. Participants will be able to describe action- and emotion-focused responses to difficult situations.

    Principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Interpersonal Savvy, Values Difference and Being Resilient.

    The Emotional Intelligence Domains which will be addressed are Self-Awareness and Self-Management and the Competencies of Emotional Self-Awareness, Emotional Self-Control, and Adaptability.

  • Class 5: Communicating Mindfully: Understanding the Psychology of Human Interactions

    Communicating effectively is crucial for being a mindful leader.  There are communication skills that can be learned which combine mindfulness with lessons from interpersonal psychology that have the potential to greatly enhance the ability to understand why some interactions seem so challenging, and to address them more productively.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will be able to define empathy and empathic awareness.
    2. Participants will be able to describe the neural basis of empathy.
    3. Participants will be able to describe the ways different communication styles result in different reactions.
    4. Participants will be able to describe the most effective communication styles.

    Principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Communicates Effectively, Interpersonal Savvy, and Manages Conflict.

    The Emotional Intelligence Domains which will be addressed are Social Awareness and Relationship Management and the Competencies of Empathy, Organizational Awareness and Conflict Management.

  • Class 6: The Compassionate Leader

    Cultivating compassion for ourselves and others is critical to practicing mindful leadership.  Understanding the difference between empathy and compassion is very important as empathy without mindfulness can lead to empathic distress and burnout, while compassion is a prosocial state that is associated with improved wellbeing and connection with others.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will be able to define compassion.
    2. Participants will be able to describe the differences between empathy, empathic awareness and compassion.
    3. Participants will be able to describe the neural basis of compassion.
    4. Participants will understand how compassion can be cultivated.

    The principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Being Resilient, Courage, Values Differences and Builds Effective Teams

    The Emotional Intelligence Domains which will be addressed are Social Awareness and Relationship Management and the Competencies of Empathy, Conflict Management, Influence and Coach and Mentor.

  • Half-Day Retreat

    Cultivating a sense of presence from moment to moment and being open to any experience which arises are crucial skills for leaders so that they can respond most effectively to challenges.  Longer periods of practice can help facilitate effectively establishing the use of mindfulness across multiple situations faced by leaders, while simultaneously preparing the foundation for the use of these methods far beyond the conclusion of the program.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will be able to monitor present moment awareness using a variety of mindfulness practices.
    2. Participants will be able to describe how they label experience as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
    3. Participants will be able to intentionally cultivate a positive emotional state.

    The principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Being Resilient, Courage and Situational Adaptability

    The Emotional Intelligence Domains which will be addressed are Self-Awareness and Self Management and the Competencies of Emotional Self-Awareness, Adaptability and Positive Outlook.

  • Class 7: Cultivating Positive Emotions: Enhancing Individual and Group Well-Being and Performance

    What we pay attention to as individuals matters, and this is especially true for leaders.  Humans have an inherent negativity bias that leads us to pay more attention to negative than to positive stimuli.  This in turn influences both cognitive and emotional processes and can affect wellbeing and behavior.  Being aware of these factors and understanding how they are influenced is important to being able to foster the best in both ourselves and in those we lead.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will be able to define the negativity bias.
    2. Participants will be able to describe the impact of emotional states on executive function.
    3. Participants will be able to describe how to cultivate positive emotional states.

    Principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Builds Effective Teams, Builds Trust, Drives Engagement

    The Emotional Intelligence Domains which will be addressed are Self-Management and Relationship Management and the Competencies of Positive Outlook, Influence and Inspirational Leadership.

  • Class 8: Putting It All Together: Developing a Personal Plan for Being a Mindful Leader

    Developing a plan with realistic, achievable goals is important to facilitating desired personal changes.  This session will provide an opportunity to reflect on what has been most helpful during the course, on how to both apply this both personally and professionally, and on ways to continue to develop these skills.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Participants will identify the two or three most important practices or perspectives that they have learned.
    2. Participants will identify how they will apply these personally and professionally going forward.
    3. Participants will identify at least one formal mindfulness practice that they will continue.

    Principal UVA Leadership Competencies which will be addressed are: Demonstrates Self-Awareness and Self-Development

    The Emotional Intelligence Domains which will be addressed are Self-Awareness. Self Management. Social Awareness and Relationship Management and the Competencies of Emotional Self-Awareness, Emotional Self-Control, Adaptability, Achievement Orientation, Positive Outlook, Empathy, Organizational Awareness, Influence,  Coach and Mentor, Conflict Management, Teamwork, and Inspirational Leadership.

Mindfulness is about paying attention to present moment experience without judging. John Schorling, MD, Director of the UVA Mindfulness Center