The increase in short-attention-span platforms and use of electronic devices likely contributes to a sense of stress, anxiety, and inability to stay in the moment. In an effort to create healthier and more productive work environments, mindful business leadership could prove an invaluable solution. Mindful leadership appears to be gaining traction in a way that re-imagines how professionals inspire, motivate, and relate to others. Organizations that integrate mindful leadership exercises and policies into the workday could outpace competitors.
What is Mindful Leadership?
A mindful leader typically embodies and communicates traits that inspire others in the workplace. These usually include enhanced clarity, creativity, focus, and cultivating a sense of compassion. To those in a mindful leader’s orbit, these attributes appear exceptional because distractions routinely impede their ability to live in the moment. However, seemingly innate mindful leadership traits can be developed and leveraged for professional goal achievement.
[Read More: Mindfulness at Work]
What is Mindful Business Leadership
In many ways, mindful business leadership involves a method of managing sometimes pervasive stress triggers in industry. When entrepreneurs and other professionals manage stress effectively, mindful business leadership occurs that raises what a Positive Psychology report deemed “Psychological Capital” within the organization. According to the research, successful mindful business leadership requires the following four components.
Mindful business leaders are those who separate themselves from stressful incidents. They then control potential knee-jerk reactions sometimes prompted by upheaval and move forward with well-thought-out solutions. They also help to create a sense of psychological safety in their corporate culture.
How Can Mindfulness Make You a Better Leader?
Developing mindful leadership skills provides professionals with tools to navigate daily life while remaining in the moment. In a broad sense, practicing mindfulness can teach people to connect and control intuitions and emotions that might otherwise rule the day.
A Harvard Business Review article penned by emotional intelligence author Bill George emphasizes that mindfulness remains a “practice" that requires ongoing efforts. When practiced, business professionals gain clarity in the moment and enjoy a quiet mindset that positions them as authentic leaders. In essence, practicing mindfulness on a daily basis helps individuals from slipping back into stress-driven reactions.
How Does Mindfulness Help at Work?
Anecdotal information points to wide-reaching mindfulness benefits in everyday life and the workplace. Many people indicate that the practice helps them reduce stress and live a more peaceful life. Those qualitative benefits are not without merit. By that same token, research published at Mindful demonstrates quantitative benefits in the workplace as well. These include the following.
- Builds Self-Confident Leaders: A 12-week meditation training reportedly improved business professionals' confidence levels.
- Increased Resilience: A study that involved 259 participants concluded that mindful practices enhanced a sense of autonomy. This mindful-linked trait benefits workers’ ability to navigate stressful environments and sometimes controlling supervisors.
- Improved Sense of Wellbeing: An online mindfulness program integrated into the workforce by a major chemical manufacturer resulted in increased employee wellbeing and lower stress levels.
In environments where workers are tasked with increased expectations, responsibility, and productivity, industry leaders might be well-served to integrate mindfulness meditation programs.
[Read More: Cultural Change in the Workplace]
How Do You Practice Mindful Leadership?
Modern business leaders may be tasked with qualities beyond traditional intelligence and confidence. Mindful business leadership integrates those traits with thoughtfulness, awareness, and intuitive compassion. These mindful-based attributes were once considered standard outside the competitive halls of industry. Examples of mindful business leadership may include the following.
- An entrepreneur or decision-maker remains entirely focused on a colleague or employee while they speak. This level of thoughtful focus runs contrary to impulsive and reactionary supervisors who are more inclined to wait to speak than listen.
- Mindful business leadership sometimes involves inspiring others to act independently. When a supervisor demonstrates trust and confidence in team members, they are inspired to succeed. This mindful strategy runs contrary to micro-managers that make staff members feel underappreciated.
A savvy mindful leader may be inclined to infuse practices into the workday. This, in itself, projects a sense of confidence and compassion because it offers others an opportunity to learn and reduce stress. The notion that mindful leadership exercises are conducted on the clock will not be lost on employees.
7 Mindful Leadership Exercises
It’s essential for mindful business leaders who wish to expand the practice company-wide to include exercises formally. This means crafting policies and designating times when specific mindfulness practices occur. These may include the following examples.
- Finger Labyrinth: For thousands of years, walking a miniature garden on a desk with one’s fingers has been a tradition that helps focus the mind on seemingly small steps.
- Breathing: By taking a moment of quiet deep breathing at the beginning and end of meetings, stress can be reduced and focus improved.
- Meditation: Extending a coffee break by 5 minutes to include a short meditation before returning to task can help quiet the mind and refocus on productivity.
- Mindful Walking: Industry leaders can set an example by engaging in mindful walking during lunch breaks. This involves leaving phones and devices in the office and remaining in the moment. This Grokker video, Mindful Walking Exercise, can help you get started.
- Body Scans: Although not every workplace lends itself to laying prone and doing a body scan, this practice ranks among the most productive at lowering stress.
- Mindful Meals: Those who begin to hone their mindful skills may be able to slow their usual lunchtime eating pace and enjoy small, consistent bites. Mindfulness has a great deal to do with appreciating small delights.
- Reduce Multi-Tasking: Business leaders would be well-served to reduce or eliminate the idea of multitasking in the workplace. This practice typically increases stress and reduces team members' ability to focus effectively.
Integrating policies and practices that support mindfulness can deliver long-term productivity and employee retention benefits. As employees develop their mindfulness skills, the organization could be grooming them for future mindful business leadership roles.
Mindful Leadership Delivers Proven Benefits
Few disagree that practicing mindfulness supports an emotionally healthy and focused lifestyle. But including it into an organization’s philosophy sends a powerful message. Mindful leadership delivers a sense of thoughtfulness, focus, and compassion not necessarily found in competing corporations. That’s largely why mindful business leadership distinguishes an organization.
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