Being a leader is always a work in progress. A good leader seeks to unlearn and learn the traits required to create a happy and creative work environment. The art of practicing mindful leadership is definitely a quality crucial to your leadership development.
In the book Finding The Space To Lead, Jannice Moruno stated that:
A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his or her shadow, or his or her light.
To be a great leader, you need to go beyond the strategic intricacies. Intelligence and confidence are integral to guide your team towards success. But being thoughtful and intuitive is what will set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
Your team doesn’t only require a calculative leader. It needs a mentally strong one too.
A mindful leader is receptive, open, non-judgmental, and pays attention to every little detail in the present moment. When a leader is plagued by stress, anxiety, or is self-serving, the team’s performance suffers as well.
However, it is easier said than done. Cultivating such an emotionally stable leadership presence requires effort. Here are six ways through which you can practice the approach of mindful leadership:
Mindful Leadership Practices: 6 Effective Tips
Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
~Jon Kabat Zinn
The most underrated quality of a good leader is accountability. We have seen a long history of bad bosses who look for someone else to transfer the consequences of their own mistakes.
Such disruptive behavior can be detrimental to your whole company’s culture. Engagement would lessen. Productivity and efficiency levels will drop. Even, the business results would suffer in the long run. Thus, such leaders will seldom incite respect or trust from the team.
Here is what a mindful leader would do differently:
- Own up to mistakes made and being transparent about it. Many perceive such actions to be weak. Instead, a good leader uses his own failings to educate themselves and their team. That promotes a culture of individual accountability for the team members.
- Take accountability for the team’s failures and not only successes. A mindful leader will handle the team’s mistakes as his own.
- Be non-judgmental about mistakes made by the team. Instead, convert it into a learning opportunity for everyone.
Compassion is at the heart of practicing mindful leadership in the workplace. A mindful leader is or, try to be an empath. A mindful leader will create a company culture where employees are free to express, create, and show their insecurities. It’s a very different scenario from the usual competitiveness that promotes toxicity and negativity.
An unrelenting and insensitive leader can cause more harm than you think. Researchers at the Stress Institute found that employees who reported incompetent, inconsiderate, and uncommunicative managers were 60% more likely to suffer a heart attack or other life-threatening cardiac condition.
A compassionate leader is “relatable” and “likable.” You can’t hope to lead a team without caring about the people around you. A mindful leader will consider the needs of others and are sympathetic to their causes.
Working for such an empathetic leader positively impacts employees’ mental health, happiness, and work. As a result, the quality of work-life (and employee experience) flourishes under mindful leadership practices.
Suggested Article: 25 Must-Have Leadership Qualities
3. Enforce Workplace Mindfulness Practices
The workplace environment can be a constant source of stress and anxiety for the employees. A good leader would not only be mindful but also establish workplace mindfulness.
Workplace mindfulness denotes a work culture where people are able to perform at their optimum level in a calm and focused way. Such a workplace will seek to increase productivity without hampering anyone’s peace of mind.
Here are a few approaches to foster workplace mindfulness:
- Hold regular mindfulness meditation sessions.
- Acknowledge growth and progress. If an employee is working towards a challenging goal, remember to recognize their efforts.
- Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. That becomes impossible to do when there are a countless number of goals to work towards. It’s essential to establish a goal-setting system that works for your employees. Use the power of OKRs and KPIs to get the most out of your employees’ efforts.
- Assign a quiet or silent space where employees can go to work without any distractions. Meanwhile, ensure that the distractions are minimized as much as possible.
4. Mindfulness Leadership Training
If you recognize that you have a long way to go before becoming a leader worth following, you’re already on the right path.
Mindfulness is not instantaneous. It has to be developed, practiced, and honed. One way to do so is to continually learn, train, read, and update oneself about how to lead your people better.
Mindfulness training might refer to any development course of action that’ll teach you to be more focused, intuitive, and highly aware of the present moment. One of the easiest ways to do so is through consistent meditation practice.
Here’s how Steve Jobs referred to meditation as:
You start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse at the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.
Mindfulness meditation will make you into a better leader by reducing your stress, increasing your ability to think creatively, and building resilience. A leader who can control and focus his/her thoughts will invariably be able to make better business decisions.
5. Open And Adaptive
Being in the present moment signifies the ability to counter problems as they come. And that is precisely what mindful leadership is about.
A mindful leader will remain unfazed in the face of adversity. In the face of a new problem, leaders are often dependent on traditional methods. However, all crisis comes in different shapes and sizes. Thus, it becomes imperative that a leader is able to adapt to the situation.
With the right mindfulness practices, a person can actually be able to think of creative ways to counter the problem. A leader would be able to make better decisions and the thought process to reach that decision will be far superior.
Mindfulness also teaches one to be more receptive to others’ thoughts, ideas, and actions. Very often, leaders expect others to listen to them. Thus, they miss out on crucial information that someone else might have to offer.
It becomes imperative that leaders should be more open to taking suggestions and information from anyone volunteering to do so.
A mindful leader should develop the ability to be more aware- be it of self or the surrounding.
Being more self-aware will help you reflect on your own thoughts, actions, decisions, and ideas. Just like your employees, you are as affected by a bad day of work. To lead your team better, it’s essential to take care of yourself first. Thus, ensure that you recognize the signs of needing a break, stress, or anything else that might hamper your well-being.
Being more aware of your surroundings refers to looking out for the signs of burnout, disengagement, or problem in any member of your team. Ask, have a one-on-one conversation, listen, and offer the best solution forward. If needed, take external help.
Do you think that mindful leadership is the change that an organization would benefit from? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.