Over 2,500 years old in heritage, we now see the science of mindfulness practices used by a new generation of leaders that are turning it into a cutting-edge leadership tool. Leaders are not to be confused with managers. Leaders lead by inspiring others with vision, compassion, rigor, values, and principles that many wish to follow. Good leaders can more easily manage because people follow them, they are inspirational and provide a vision forward.
With mindfulness, you get tools that help you to measure and manage life differently. You become aware of your feelings, and emotions watch them, throttle and observe, rather than be swept away by them. Especially helpful for highly stressed situations. When you are aware of your presence and the way you impact people around you, you hopefully gain more recognition as to the choices made and their long-term implications. Mindfulness helps you to live a life that aligns with your values and principles. Mindful leaders connect their head with the heart and inspire others with their authentic presence. They use the information to make more effective, compassionate and innovative decisions and they are open to others perspectives and inputs. When we are at the moment, we show up 100% for others and the task at hand and are an inspiration to others.
Mindful leadership cuts through a noisy room full of thoughts, concerns for the future and focuses on the present moment. In the present moment, all that exists is pure potential, and they bring their passion to each moment to capture the potential to realize a vision. Steve Jobs, who is mostly known for his legendary ability to create innovative, groundbreaking products at Apple, offers an example of a passionate leader. He was known for being a highly focused advocate for his vision of excellence. Many thought he was crazy, or a megalomaniac, yet, his focused mind, heart, and spirit inspired others to work tirelessly to change the world of design and electronics, and he did. What many don’t know is that Steve Jobs was a meditator. He used his meditation techniques to bring his mind back to the present moment, a mindfulness technique. Zen mindfulness meditation to reduce his stress, gain more clarity, and enhance his creativity. He was grounded, authentic, and adept at the challenges of running his business and change the status quo. He did so with confidence, and his
Others are duplicating these mindfulness lessons and, like Steve Jobs at Apple are creating bold new trails for others to follow. Companies like Google, Salesforce.com, General Mills, Facebook, and others have mindfulness programs offered free to their senior-level leaders, managers, and employees. They incorporate areas to sit, focus, discuss, create and collaborate, in environments that help them to innovate products and services. Mindfulness programs have incredible benefits, to the organizational ecosystem. Here are a few of them:
- They increase productivity (work, flow, collaboration)
- Build greater resilience (ability to bounce back)
- Ability to reduce stress levels (in the face of deadlines)
- Reduced anxiety (low attrition, discord)
- Increase in listening skills (cognitive dissonance)
- Improvements in self-awareness and self-management
Take it with you – Four tools to practice being a mindful leader:
- Breathing exercises. Start your morning with a strong foundation. By just breathing, you can generate a simple, but powerful, perspective. It’s like seeing and observing in high definition. Observe each inhalation and exhalation. Do not change your breath, 10, count, and return. Take time get in touch with your inner technology.
- Body Scan. Feel the energy in your body; mentally scan your whole body by becoming aware of each body part. Sit with your back straight and eyes closed and begin to notice your body from the feet all the way up. What energies, feelings, scan as you take deep breaths.
- Create some mindfulness triggers. A mindfulness trigger is something that will remind you to take a break from work so that you can be mindful. These reminders for you to come back to awareness. For example, you can stick a note to your working space to remind you to detach yourself from the stressful thoughts for a few deep breaths.
- Get rid of any unnecessary rush, especially if you squeeze in scheduled appointments. With that, you’ll be mindful at the next event.
Dull knives don’t cut bread, and you can’t lead others if you don’t use the tools yourself. Your leadership style that embodies your presence, your authenticity, to make an impact on other peoples’ lives.
- Commit to your development
- Focus on being productive
- Focus on good health
- Focus on psychological health
- Focus on life satisfaction
To become a mindful leader and tap into your inner power:
- Stop seeing yourself as a problem-solving genius and start embracing the idea of becoming a partner in service to your organization.
- Embrace others and be open to the fact that the future is unwritten. What you plan for the future may not work out. To survive this concept, you must be willing to accept mistakes quickly and be flexible to make changes.
- Be able to lead through instinctive reflection and logical analysis.
- Accept others as they are, without judging their different cultures and points of view. Do not try to change who they are.
- Beware of your movement, thoughts, and emotions. Practice mindfulness as often as you can to sense situation ships from a distance.
How Mindful Leaders can Inspire Others
Mindful leadership is a movement. It is the ability to lead others from the bottom up while gaining respect and recognition, and to do that in service to compassion, as you are willing and ready to put others and the mission before yourself. Being humble, listening and practicing and showing gratitude is essential.
Mindful leaders can inspire others by creating a space in their lives to cultivate compassion and self-awareness. This method can change your life, your organization, your community and the world at large.
Mindful leaders should allocate time and space for people to practice mindfulness at work. It should be somewhere quiet and private. They can encourage people to exercise it together if they wish. Tools such as audio instructions should be kept in place to guide them through meditation at a particular time.
In case of meetings, leaders should begin by example; if the meeting takes one hour, there should be a little break after the first 30 minutes, then they can resume after the meeting.
As a leader, regularly appreciating the contribution of your workforce encourages them and inspires them. It creates a positive emotion balance of your relationship. When there has been regular positive feedback, it’s easier for the other person to listen to and appreciate the not-so-positive feedback.
Regardless of the daily mindfulness practice you choose, the pursuit of mindful leadership will help you to eliminate all the unnecessary worries and tension and arm you with compassion for others, and the ability to inspire the people you are leading. Mindful leadership can change the tone of your work environment in subtle ways, making it an environment of positive change.