Mindfulness for leaders
Everything you need to know about mindfulness.
The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of leadership is inspiring others. But as you will find out, there is much more to leadership than just inspiring others. There is also the aspect of enhancing personal and peak performance and to some extent, imparting knowledge and wisdom to others. All these fall under what leaders like to refer to as a powerful leadership.
But where do all these start? It starts inside each leader. In other words; being genuine. It therefore does not come as a surprise that recently, the practice of mindfulness has been given more attention.
What is mindfulness?
In the simplest of terms, it is the state of being actively aware and focused on the present. It goes hand in hand with meditation, so it does not come as a surprise that mindfulness is sometimes considered as a form or meditation. It involves observing one's feelings and thoughts - recognising that they exist, and not in any way judging the feelings and thoughts as bad or good.
How the concept behind mindfulness works
The concept is deeply rooted in identifying and recognising one's thoughts. Studies indicate that the training for mindfulness and specifically paying attention to the present, helps leaders to understand themselves better and improve focus. It also develops openness and curiosity. In a nutshell, being mindful leads to a deeper insight and knowledge of your very own innermost feelings, thoughts and emotions. It ultimately provides better self understanding and tendencies of optimism.
By understanding themselves though mindfulness, leaders eventually develop a deeper appreciation of other people around them and their skills. It, therefore becomes easy for them to support and motivate their team members. That is where the connection between enhanced leadership mindfulness takes shape and crops up.
Broadening the corporate mindset
This is where mindfulness for leaders is most effective. Why so? It goes a long way to measure everything that relates to the bottom line which involves the aforementioned feelings. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, some things that have a direct impact on the bottom line cannot be quantified or measured. Just how does one measure happiness, inspiration or willingness?
The corporate mindset goes a long way to fill roles by hiring knowledge levels, skill, academic achievements and experience. Mindfulness steps into the picture to allow a glimpse on one's potential, ambition and attitude. In other words, mindfulness exercises help leaders to develop less measurable qualities that can help them to understand people at a deeper level.
Dealing with change
Times of uncertainty and disruptive events in workplaces often leave negative marks on businesses. Any leader or employer with a deeper understanding on mindfulness exercises can easily handle such setbacks. The leader will be better equipped to come up with ideas that will change how work is conducted in an organisation - something that will ultimately increase productivity. The leader will also be in a better position to reconcile rival groups and ensure that everything in the organisation runs smoothly.
Regulating leadership behaviour
Any leader who practises mindfulness exercises is more likely to be able to regulate his emotions and handle stress or pressure. Better yet, the leader is more likely to understand when he or she is most vulnerable to making uninformed or poor decisions. For instance, it is common knowledge that identifying one's personal stress triggers and inducers can help an individual to avoid making bad decisions. If the stressed individual is akin to mindfulness exercises, he or she will develop some form of wisdom that will allow him or her to regulate his or her own behaviour and eventually achieve discipline.
Nothing is perfect, but mindfulness is close enough. Once honed, it benefits a leader and the people around him or her. The only visible flaws may only be when a leader for some reason thinks he or she knows better than the rest. But then again, that cannot happen, given that mindfulness straightens up individuals. When all has been said and done, it is safe to say that by considering mindfulness, one has nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
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Carrie BarberNovember 25th, 2016