How Inner Presence Transforms Teams, Timelines, And Tensions

Prasad Kaipa 17 October, 2023


Thomas Milus, D.C., Ph.D. asked me these questions after reading the article

  • If I am a leader whose team is not meeting a challenge, how does my awareness of my inner presence help me help them?
  • If I am an entrepreneur who is faced with a seemingly impossible deadline to meet, how does this Indic Wisdom stuff help me?
  • If I am an executive in a high level meeting with conflicting opinions and motives, what exactly might be different as a result of my inner transformation?

Here is my response.

Tom, cultivating inner presence isn’t just about personal transformation. It’s about reshaping the leadership landscape, placing emphasis on empathy, clarity, and collaborative growth. In the scenarios described, the ripple effects of such an approach can be profound, not just in resolving the immediate challenge but in cultivating a culture of trust, innovation, and resilience.

Let me take your questions one at a time:

1. A Leader Whose Team Isn’t Meeting a Challenge

Common response: Address the underperformance through increased monitoring, restructuring responsibilities, or possibly considering personnel changes. This a generic response that is not taking into consideration of the person, company or culture.

Inner Presence Approach indicates we need three things to happen for the leader to act on so that team makes progress in their performance:

  • Empathetic Understanding: Are you attuned to their inner presence? A leader attuned to their inner presence will first seek to understand the root causes. Are there external factors affecting performance? Is there a deeper emotional or motivational concern within the team?
  • Reflective Communication: Can you create a heart space for learning more and dialoguing to discover what is underneath their behavior? Rather than immediate correction, the leader initiates a dialogue, creating a safe space for team members to express concerns or barriers they’re facing.
  • Mindful Interventions: Are you present to what is going on with your team and can you work hand in hand to solve what is happening in the team? Solutions emerge from a space of understanding and collaboration rather than top-down directives. This might involve resource reallocation, additional training, or even wellness initiatives to address burnout.

2. An Entrepreneur Facing a Tight Deadline

Typical High Level Response: Ramp up the working hours, possibly at the expense of work-life balance, and pressurize the team to deliver.

Inner Presence Approach:

  • Calm Amidst the Storm: When you are under pressure, are you centered or stressed out? Drawing from the BhagavadGita, a wise leader remains centered even in the face of pressure and acts from that centeredness (Yogastha kuru Karmani). This calm demeanor can significantly reduce team stress and foster clearer thinking.
  • Prioritization with Detachment: Do you prioritize, do your best and let go of attachment to outcome (because it is not in your hands anymore)? Using a discerning approach, the entrepreneur evaluates which tasks are critical and which can be deferred, ensuring focused and best effort without attachment to every single outcome.
  • Soliciting Collaborative Solutions: Be the last to come up with your answer and do so only after listening to all their suggestions and solutions. If you first offer your solution, your team members will not share theirs especially if they might potentially conflict with your suggestions. Recognizing that collective intelligence can often devise innovative solutions, the leader might facilitate brainstorming sessions or engage in “open-door” hours for team members to share ideas.

3. High-Level Meeting with Conflicting Opinions

Traditional Response: Engage in debate, assert one’s standpoint, and attempt to rally supporters for one’s viewpoint.

Inner Presence Approach:

  • Deep Listening: Listen to what they are not saying as much as to what they are. The leader, grounded in their inner self, genuinely listens to all perspectives, seeking the underlying intentions and concerns rather than just the surface arguments.
  • Non-Reactive Engagement: Keep your cool. The entrepreneur doesn’t get swayed by charged emotions or ulterior motives but responds from a space of clarity and genuine interest in a collaborative solution.
  • Bridging Gaps: Think of scenario planning instead of coming up with right strategy. Drawing from the integral approach found in Indic traditions, seek common ground and alignment, highlighting shared goals and values that can unite opposing parties.

While traditional leadership models offer valuable tools for immediate challenges, integrating inner presence and Indic wisdom provides a more holistic approach. It’s not just about resolving the current crisis but fostering an environment of sustained well-being, collaboration, and innovation.

Research, including studies discussed in Harvard Business Review, has shown that leaders with high emotional intelligence and self-awareness (connected with inner presence) tend to foster more cohesive teams, achieve better outcomes, and navigate crises with greater efficacy.


Leadership challenges vary widely, but their solutions often lie in a place most leaders forget to look: their inner presence. Rooted in both Indic wisdom and modern psychology, this article delves into three common leadership scenarios—leading an underperforming team, facing an impossible deadline, and managing high-level meetings with conflicting opinions. It contrasts traditional, often reactive approaches with a holistic, inner presence-based methodology that emphasizes empathetic understanding, reflective communication, and mindful intervention. Whether you’re tackling team performance issues or steering contentious meetings, enhancing your self-awareness and emotional intelligence through inner presence could be your untapped competitive advantage.

Thank you Anant Kadiyala for your help in responding and finalizing this article.

Prasad Kaipa

Co-founder, Institute of Indic Wisdom