Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 106 – Mindful Leadership with Marc Lesser

Sharon Salzberg - Metta Hour - Ep. 106 - Mindful Leadership with Marc Lesser

For the 106th episode of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon speaks with friend and colleague, Marc Lesser.

Marc is a speaker, facilitator, workshop leader, and executive coach, known for his engaging, experiential presentations that integrate mindfulness and emotional intelligence practices and training. He is the author of four books, including his 2019 release, “Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen.” Marc was the co-founder and CEO of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, featuring a mindfulness program he helped develop within Google. Prior to his business and coaching career, he was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for 10 years, and director of Tassajara, Zen Mountain Center.

In this episode, Marc shares how he came to the path of meditation and discusses with Sharon how his personal practice has evolved to inform his career as a leadership coach. They speak at length about Marc’s new book, and some of the common myths and challenges of leadership in any type of environment. The podcast closes with Marc leading a 5-minute guided meditation. To learn more about Marc’s work, you can visit

The Search Inside

Marc shares the story of how he came to understand the importance of incorporating mindfulness into leadership roles and the workplace. He and Sharon talk about the possibilities of integrating mindfulness practice into business. Examining the values that exist in much of today’s business culture and the room for growth that exists in the current paradigm.

“There are more and more workplaces that are taking mindfulness practice more seriously. They are seeing that it can be important to take the time.” – Marc Lesser  

Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader (14:00)

What makes a mindful leader so effective? Marc discusses the premise of his newest book, Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader, and looks at how mindfulness can be made accessible to people in the work world without sacrificing the depth of the practice.

“The seven practices of a mindful leader start with loving the work. Then do the work. Don’t be an expert. Connect to your pain and connect to the pain of others. Depend on others and keep making it simpler.” –  Marc Lesser  

What Culture are You Creating at Work? (29:40)

Sharon and Marc talk about cultivating a more positive culture in an organization. They discuss what it means to be a leader and the potential for mindful leadership that exists in each position within a business.

“Culture can be your own body and mind. It can be your desk or your team or your whole organization. Every single person, whatever thier possition in the organization had the potential to affect a culture of some kind. So maybe in that way, we all have a role of leadership. No matter what function we are playing.” – Sharon Salzberg 

Start by Stopping (37:30)

Marc ends the podcast with a 5-minute meditation practice that focuses on re-centering and reconnecting with the present moment.

Further explore the intersection of awareness, creativity and business on with David Nichtern and psychologist Daniel Goleman on Ep. 1 of the newest podcast from the Be Here Now Network: Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck

Sharon Salzberg - Metta Hour - Ep. 106 - Mindful Leadership with Marc Lesser


Images via Marc Lesser and Mindful Company