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MGT8047 The Leader's Mind

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: The Leader's Mind
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Management and Enterprise
Student contribution band : Band 3
ASCED code : 080399 - Business Mgt not classified
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Peter Murray


Leadership is a challenging role and good leadership skills through practice and reflection are conceived. Future leaders can benefit from being able to identify three mental processes that are core attributes of any leadership style namely mindfulness (M), selflessness (S) and compassion (C). Any leader or potential leader can build their own MSC and through a process of discovery, learn how to apply MSC to their people and their organisation. The MSC process begins inwardly with clearly identifying personal cognitive traits. It projects outward to the leader’s team and the organisation. In order for leaders to lead others, it is important to explore self-leadership and to identify personal leadership archetypes. How these archetypes shift leader mindsets is important. The emphasis therefore is on self-discovery and how mindfulness determines the concept of ‘focused attention’ versus ‘distracted outlook’. Students should learn how to become aware of others and situations by adopting a selfless and confident approach versus an ego-centric and diffident approach. Through critical reflection and practical observation, students should learn how to apply MSC to increase their own leadership effectiveness and to transform how others think and behave.


'The Leader's Mind' is a course about self-discovery, how to mindfully-lead yourself including the concept of selflessness and getting out of the way of your people and how to develop compassion, self-confidence and humility. Students will explore the value of self-awareness as distinct from self-assessment, and learn about the difference between passion-bias versus inclusiveness. Students will be exposed to several `awareness training' methods through which they should learn to know more about the `self' - what one thinks and why, what one feels and why - and discover what things are consciously considered as important, and why. Importantly, students should learn about the real consequences of leader actions when the leader is not present, has their own agenda, does not focus, is less self-aware, and becomes less effective as a result. When a leader is constantly distracted, they will not be present in leader-led activities such as committees and meetings. In this course, students should acquire new cognitive and behavioural skills that enable them to increase their focus, avoid action for the sake of action, create focused time, and apply a range of ethical practices. They should also learn that many barriers exist to selfless leadership that need to be overcome before becoming an effective leader. Students will be required to work with the cooperation of their supervisor at work and to engage in peer mentoring. Decisions made in relation to mindfulness activities are a matter of reflection. Finally, they should be able to measure their own leadership archetype so that they can match self-assessment with self-awareness.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Review current cognitive knowledge about self-awareness as it relates to mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion;
  2. Distinguish between different mindfulness techniques and their benefits;
  3. Practice how to be truly selfless with compassion by being present and focused in the moment;
  4. Critically reflect on different mindfulness techniques and compare these with traditional leadership self-assessments;
  5. Apply wise compassion, focused involvement, selflessness, interconnectedness and trust with presence to practical exercises at work


Description Weighting(%)
1. The Mindful, Selfless and Compassionate (MSC) Leader 20.00
2. Understand and lead yourself 20.00
3. Understand and lead your people 20.00
4. Understand and lead your organisation 20.00
5. Mindfulness Practice 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Hougaard, R Carter, J 2018, The Mind of the Leader, Harvard Business Review Press, Boston.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Bawden, D. Robinson, L 2009, The dark side of information overload, anxiety, and other paradoxes and pathologies, Journal of Information Science, 25, No. 2. 180-191.
Bower, J. L. Paine, L.S 2017, The error at the heart of corporate leadership, Harvard Business Review Press, May-June.
Dahl, R. C. Lutz, A. Davidson, R. J 2015, Reconstructing and deconstructing the self: Cognitive mechanisms in meditation practice, Trends in Cogitive Sciences, 19, no. 9 515-523.
Hougaard, R. Carter, J. Coutts, G 2016, One second ahead: Enhance your performance at work with mindfulness, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Killingsworth, M. A. Gilbert, D. T 2010, A wandering mind is an unhappy mind, Science, 390, 932.
Miller, D. Xu, X 2017, MBA CEOs, short-term management and performance, Journal of Business Ethics, 1-16.
Miller, G.A 1956, The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limit son our capacity for processing information, Psychological Review, 63, 81-97.
Newell, B.R. Shanks, D.R 2014, Unconscious influences on decision making: A critical review, Behavioural and Brain Science, 37, no. 1. 1-19.
Reudy, N.E. Schweitzer, M. E 2010, In the moment: The effect of mindfulness on ethical decision making, Journal of Business Ethics, 95, 73-87.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 55.00
Independent Study 70.00
Practice 40.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 A 20 20 05 Apr 2019
ASSIGNMENT 1 B 20 20 05 Apr 2019
ASSIGNMENT 2 A 30 30 31 May 2019
ASSIGNMENT 2 B 30 30 31 May 2019

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Online: There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

    On-campus: It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. This guide can be found at

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:

  1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
  2. and is benchmarked against the internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review.