Mindfulness has a major impact on leadership capabilities, and a mindful leader has the key to unlocking the success of a team by helping everyone work with greater collaboration.
Becoming a part of a team isn’t always easy for leaders and just as it is for other employees, work relationships can be trying, laden with misconceptions and insecurities. So, how can a leader inspire teams to successfully collaborate while becoming a part of that team?
In my experience working with numerous companies across Australia, it’s really as simple as becoming a mindful leader.
A mindful leader is always clear about their intentions
When you put together a team to collaborate on a task, you must clarify what is expected of them and what they need to achieve at the end of the day.
I’ve often seen how the productivity and performance of a team take a hit due to basic miscommunication and misunderstandings. So, before setting them on their mission, clarify what you need them to achieve, what issue(s) you need them to solve, and what outcomes you’re looking for.
Take charge in setting the right tone and environment for all team members to enjoy openness with mutual respect. Be transparent and communicate all changes with all team members to foster inclusiveness. This will create equal opportunities for everyone to contribute and thereby inspire greater creativity.
Be mindful about how you communicate with team members
If you think a problem is unsolvable or a waste of time, even if you don’t say it out loud, it will be apparent to your team members. Your choice of words will either encourage or halt progress and can even affect how your team thinks and operates.
Regardless of your personal opinion, encourage participation and try not to counter or argue with the ideas that team members come up with. If these ideas can’t be used in the long run, find constructive ways of eliminating them while encouraging your team to think more creatively.
Be self-aware of how you behave, react, and communicate
Your body language and behaviour speak louder than words. For instance, if you’re a mindful leader, you will consciously pay attention to what others have to say and people will recognise that you are genuinely listening to them.
A key trait of any mindful leader is self-awareness. I always advise the leaders I work with to understand their habits as this allows them to identify why they react or behave the way they do. This way, it’s easier to make objective decisions and prevent personal biases from getting in the way of effective leadership.
Act with compassion and awareness
People often ask me why it matters for a mindful leader to be caring and curious. It matters because all eyes are on you at all times and whether you accept it or not, the type of leader you are has an effect on the behaviour of your team members.
Whenever you approach a room with compassion, people feel that. It’s the same with stress – if you don’t know how to manage it, your colleagues and teams will become stressed by association. I’ve often seen how employees shut down when they sense their leader is stressed.
By becoming curious and caring, it fosters compassion within you and towards others. This way, you will approach everyone with a clean slate, without judgement, and see the unique contribution each team member brings to the table.
You will also inspire others to open up to each others’ opinions, which will help everyone overcome the real obstacles, not just the superficial ones. By becoming a mindful leader, you can let go of judgement and hold on to compassion.
Becoming a mindful leader is the path to successful collaboration
For mindfulness resources for the workplace and for leadership development, explore my tried-and-tested programmes and publications. Become a mindful leader and look inwards to see how you can contribute to the solution, instead of the problem