Mindful leadership refers to a movement in which a person of authority leads from the bottom up in order to gain recognition and respect from others in a way that is innovative and compassionate. While traditional leadership may bring the terms control, power, and command to mind, mindful leadership will only be accomplished if you are ready and willing to put other people and the mission of your organization before yourself. There are several ways that mindful leadership can lead to greater organizational results, and actively practicing them can make you a better manager.
You’ll Become a Better Listener
As a manager, we’ve all committed offenses of poor listening. Perhaps our colleagues or employees are in the midst of telling us a concern, idea, or complaint, and we are already constructing responses before they have even finished speaking. Being able to recognize these moments and tune back in is an important skill that we can learn from mindful leadership.
Observing our thoughts and breath is a good way that mindfulness can help us to be better leaders and managers. As we become more aware of the commentary and judgmental thoughts that run through our minds when we listen to others, we will be better able to experience others. Mindful leadership isn’t just about listening to what others need to say, but it is also about dropping our preconceived ideas and assumptions as we listen.
You’ll Be Able to See the Big Picture
Mindful leaders are better able to see the big picture than leaders who don’t practice mindfulness. Seeing the big picture gives us the opportunity to understand how our actions will impact our customers, our employees, and the entire supply chain. Some managers make the mistake of getting too engrossed in the details, only focusing on their small piece of a larger puzzle. However, being aware of how an entire system works will allow us to generate better results for everyone involved. When you are more responsive to and aware of the needs of your customers and employees, you can increase profitability and lead to greater workplace morale.
Mindfulness Can Inspire Innovation
Mindfulness involves returning your focus to the topic at hand instead of clinging to thoughts. It is the process of actively understanding and noticing new things, and this can make you more sensitive to perspective and context. The principles of mindfulness allow us to tap into our capacity to imagine and discover new ideas. When you engage in mindfulness you’ll be more creative and open to taking advantage of new opportunities when they present themselves, all of which are essential to keeping your mind open to new ideas that can improve your business. Additionally, mindful leaders will also inspire their employees to be innovative, sometimes by bringing in motivational speakers and investing in other training opportunities to spark new ideas.
Mindfulness Can Help You Adapt to Change
While employees tend to appreciate stability, change is constant in any business, and it is the job of a manager to adapt to it artfully. Unfortunately, this is difficult to do when we have attachments to how we think things are “supposed to be.” Practicing mindfulness allows us to give up these attachments while observing things how they actually are, and these observations can help us to become more adaptive to change.
Mindfulness also allows managers to be courageous, which is an important quality when it comes to leading through times of change. In times of unrest in an organization, we will confront situations that might be kind of scary, and it is important that leaders are able to face them and see what is needed even when the stakes are high. Your employees will depend on you to protect their interests and watch their backs in times of turmoil, and mindfulness can give you the confidence to navigate these changes.
You’ll Create an Environment of Safety and Trust
Trust and safety are crucial for allowing your employees to feel free to speak their mind. When people feel comfortable speaking up, your business can avoid mistakes and other problems, and you can better engage people to attain high-quality results. Mindful leaders are able to be more responsive and less reactive, which will make your staff feel more comfortable coming to you in a time of need. Likewise, mindful leaders operate from a place of compassion in order to put the needs of their employees before their own, and this can create an environment where employees feel well-respected and like their ideas are important to the team.
Are you a leader that has had success in practicing mindfulness in your position? Share your tips and tricks for what works – and what doesn’t – here.