At Meaningful Alignment, we talk a lot about being mindful in both life and business. But what does it mean to be a mindful leader?
Let’s start with the definition of mindfulness, which is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness starts with being present in life. Most business leaders have a long list of “to-do’s” and constantly look for the next step towards success and productivity. While planning ahead is never a bad idea, it can keep you from being fully present with the here and now. Mindfulness is about slowing down and building trust through collaborative listening and self-control.
Mindfulness goes hand in hand with Emotional Intelligence, which I have broken down and explained in another blog series. Some people are naturally emotionally intelligent and mindful, while others have to focus on building those skills consciously. Whichever category you fall into, there is still more to learn.
How to become more mindful:
- Purposeful listening. Listening is a critical skill that can be improved by staying focused on the conversation at hand, asking questions, and engaging with the person speaking to you.
- Meditation. Meditation requires you to pause your hectic schedule and focus on your body and breathing. Exercises like this can help you find what is causing you stress and handle it in a calm, collective manner.
- Think before you react. Everyone wants to be heard, but sometimes the first thing you want to say to someone isn’t what should really be said, especially in high-stake situations. Taking a moment to gather your thoughts and think about how you respond to someone is an easy way to integrate mindfulness into your daily life.
Mindfulness is about more than just you and can have a resounding butterfly effect on your personal life and your business.
How Mindfulness affects your company:
- A mindful leader encourages mindful employees. As a leader, you set the example for how your employees interact with you and each other. Leaders who listen and observe before making decisions or requests of their employees
- Establish trust between employer and employees. Employees who feel validated and appreciated by their employers are more dependable and productive.
- A healthy work environment. Collaboration is key to a healthy work environment. Listening well, requesting feedback, and monitoring your employee’s mental health are traits of a mindful leader and a collaborative workspace.
Mindfulness is a lifestyle.
Mindfulness is not a skill that can be checked off your daily list of tasks. It is about changing how you listen and respond to others and yourself. Mindfulness is not just necessary at work but in everything you take on.
Take this quote from McKinsey senior partner Manish Chopra in “Wellness in 2030”:
“I believe that mindfulness—and the pursuit of mindfulness—will become an essential aspect of how we live our lives. There’s a risk of overcommercialization of mindfulness, frankly, and a risk of it becoming a bit of a gimmick.”
Mindfulness is not about broadcasting what a great listener you are or how emotionally intelligent you have become, but it’s about how you live each day. It takes practice to become mindful and effort each day to stay present and available to others.
WHAT’S YOUR COMMUNICATION STYLE WHEN UNDER PRESSURE?
If you have not taken our Interpersonal Dialogue Profile (IDP) assessment yet, access it here:
Getting Started with Mindfulness: https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
How to Value, Appreciate, and Respect your Employees: https://meaningfulalignment.com/how-to-value-appreciate-and-respect-your-employees/
Blog series: Explaining EQ: https://meaningfulalignment.com/category/explaining-eq-series
3 Communication Mistakes that destroy trust: https://meaningfulalignment.com/3-communication-mistakes-that-destroy-trust/
How Meditation Helps Us Be Happier, More Focused, and Less Stressed: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/dan-harris-meditation-benefits-happiness-focus-less-stress/?utm_source=Newsletter_General&utm_medium=Thrive