At a time when the definition of the word ‘leadership’ has evolved to mean different things, what place and prominence does mindful leadership have in the modern workplace?
Mindful leaders are those who are self-aware, with a firm understanding of what their strengths, challenges, biases, and attitudes are. They make decisions based on real needs and demands, instead of reacting to situations with their ego and emotions.
For any new leader or even a seasoned executive, therefore, understanding what mindful leadership is and inculcating it is crucial for lasting success in the modern workplace.
What is mindful leadership?
Our definition of a mindful leader is someone who deliberately cultivates a state of wellness, both within themselves and in their organisation, and is a beacon for goodness, responsiveness, and clarity, even in the face of adversity.
These types of people have a keen understanding of what happens around them and can detach themselves from their biases and prejudices to make sound decisions in challenging circumstances.
They are not resistant to change or to difficult situations and aren’t avoidant of things they would rather not deal with. A mindful leader isn’t a superhero – they’re simply individuals who are willing to face their fears, accept their weaknesses, and harness their strengths to create a healthy working environment and drive organisational growth and success.
How can you inculcate mindful leadership?
Mindful leadership certainly is rewarding although it’s not the easiest to master. It’s a lifelong journey that helps you understand yourself and the people you work with more meaningfully.
Here are a few things you can do to become a more mindful leader:
Increase your self-awareness
Self-awareness is a trait necessary for anyone who is a leader or anyone who wants to be one in the future. In this day and age, possessing this quality is useful because it helps you make more authentic decisions, in spite of the constant influx of information and stimuli in this digital world.
This quality is a necessary prerequisite for mindful leaders because it is only by understanding yourself that you can make mindful decisions that are necessary responses to situations that crop up, instead of puerile reactions.
There are plenty of resources out there that can guide you on this path to greater self-awareness, including in-depth personality assessments.
Incorporate mindful practices in your day-to-day routine
Naturally, the first step towards mindful leadership is to become more mindful.
Fortunately, being mindful is neither complicated nor expensive. All you need to do is get out of the rich internal tapestry you’ve woven in your head and enter reality – easy.
Start slowly: Feel your foot connecting with the floor and purposefully and non-judgmentally acknowledge the sights, sounds, and smells you’re experiencing.
In this process, you may feel certain thoughts entering your head or get distracted. If that happens, gently bring your mind back to the present.
You can also do body scans, where you focus on the sensations you feel in specific parts of your body. Other mindfulness practices include taking mindful breaks throughout the day when you can tune out of your thoughts and into your physical reality, and even have your meals more mindfully.
Multitasking seems like an efficient way to get things done. In reality, however, it usually means you’re not fully committing to one thing, reducing the quality of your work and your overall productivity.
While doing the task in front of you – whether it’s responding to your mails, having a digital meeting with your teams or attending a meeting – focus on what’s in front of you and mindfully avoid letting your thoughts drift to other tasks or commitments.
Embrace mindful leadership for more meaningful success at work
Research shows that when a leader is anxious or stressed, it is felt by the entire organisation. In fact, when leaders fail to manage their stress effectively, more than 50% of employees perceive the leader to be either harmful or ineffective.
If you’re not a mindful leader, you may find it difficult to manage the emotional health of your organisation and may be perceived as someone who lacks grit or real leadership qualities.