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High Performance Leadership: The Influence of Mindfulness and Reinvestment

In the forever changing national and global markets, the need for high performing leaders is critical, particularly for organisational success. High performance leadership, established in the current study by one’s self-reported recall of performance under pressure, as well as actual level of leadership, matters when functioning within highly complex, dynamic, and pressurised environments. These environments, however, can cause leaders to perform poorly, despite having high motivation and incentives for success; a phenomenon sometimes referred to as choking. Drawing on 119 corporate and 63 athletic individuals, the current research set out to (1) assess the role of mindfulness in performance and to examine the role of mindfulness in pressure situations and (2) introduce the notion of reinvestment, a psychological concept associated with performance failure under pressure, into Industrial/ Organisational Psychology literature. Results of the study supported past research examining mindfulness, and reiterated the positive role that mindfulness plays in performance, particularly at high levels of employment; suggesting that individuals who hold high levels of dispositional mindfulness are more likely to reach higher levels of leadership or seniority within employment than those low in mindfulness. Additionally, the results supported past research examining reinvestment, and highlights the negative role that reinvestment plays in performance, with those individuals who have a high predisposition to reinvest when under pressure recalling lower levels of performance, and achieving lower levels of leadership within employment. Only partial support for these relationships were found for the athletic population. Moderation analyses indicated that mindfulness and reinvestment appear to function together, for the corporate population only. Participants reporting high levels of mindfulness and high levels of decision reinvestment (specifically decision rumination) appeared to achieve performance levels that were significantly higher than participants reporting low levels of mindfulness and high levels of decision rumination. This suggests that in the organisational setting, and particularly for leaders, some level of rumination in decision making is beneficial, provided mindfulness is also present. This new finding has been termed mindful rumination, and it is argued that, in the corporate setting, engaging in mindful rumination is beneficial to making informed decisions, particularly when under pressure. This suggests that encouraging mindful rumination may be beneficial to organisational performance, and support performance at high levels of leadership. Alternatively, mindful rumination may be used to encourage career advancement. Overall, this study explores notions of high performance leadership, which goes above-and-beyond traditional understandings. The current study has successfully introduced notions of reinvestment into organisational life, providing a foundation for future research to explore the mechanisms that underpin performance failure in the corporate setting. Additionally, this study has demonstrated that for high performing leaders, engaging in mindful rumination is beneficial to performance.
Type of thesis
Herring, J. A.-M. (2016). High Performance Leadership: The Influence of Mindfulness and Reinvestment (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10164
University of Waikato
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