To be human is a work in progress as is being a leader. We are evolving, expanding and more self-aware than ever. We are making conscious choices where and with whom we engage and share our energy. The workplace is a huge part of choices being evaluated. We as humans understand positive connections and environments are vital for our growth, so we now choose selectively with greater self-awareness.
Employees are choosing organisations that show genuine commitment to wellbeing and life balance and flexibility. Employees stay at organisations because leaders are emotionally invested in their growth and well-being.
The leadership team is critical for an organisation’s culture and success. The new age leader has a mindful approach in mentoring. Mindful leadership is a term that has been used in more recent years. Mindfulness helps reduce stress, anxiety, conflict to have greater clarity, focus, resilience, communication and emotional intelligence for greater harmony in our lives. So there is no coincidence why mindfulness and Mindful Leaders are needed in the workplace.
What is a Mindful Leader?
A leader is someone that inspires passion, motivation to share a vision to support the goals in achieving them. The best leaders take this further and approach leading with mindfulness. They are mentors that are compassionate, caring, empathetic, present and kind. They support and encourage teams growth professionally and personally without judgement. They embody conscious leadership with their mindful actions, choices, energy and presence.
Their greatest gifts are self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-compassion and intuition. They respond to difficult situations with emotional stability instead of reacting to them. Mindful leaders cultivate positive, collaborative working environments allowing curiosity, creativity and ideas to evolve. They thrive and actively play a major role in the wellbeing of their team. Exceptional mindful leaders create and mentor future leaders.
Importance of Mindful Leadership
Mindful Leaders are the foundation to positive cultures. They cultivate healthy connections and practices for the benefit of their teams well being, clients and organisational goals. They are more open, curious, and accepting of different perspectives and new ways of being. They help teams learn how to focus, manage stress to create calm, focused, fun and productive working environments.
They consistently look for ways to improve themselves, their techniques and practices, to improve their leadership and organisational outcomes. When leaders are more present and engaged they navigate through challenges or chaos more purposefully to achieve effective solutions. Mindful leaders place greater importance on the needs of the team and individuals and in turn increase employee satisfaction.
- Embody genuine compassion and care for the individual person and their growth, results of their work;
- Are open, curious, connected, and able to help others without egocentric tendencies;
- Cultivate richness in everyday work experiences and are grounded during crisis or chaos;
- Promote and balance mindfulness practice, work practice, taking care of people, and achieving results;
- Learn and adapt from stress, challenges and problems for growth and refrain avoiding them;
- Work with competing priorities to build flexibility and understanding;
- Experience timelessness, effortlessness, and joy in work with confidence and humility;
- Embrace individuality of the team by celebrating and supporting the unique roles and growth;
5 Steps to Mindful Leadership
1. Personal Mindful Practice
The work always starts with self so it is important to build your own personal mindful practice that resonates with you. Mindfulness practices require commitment to connect, love and give to yourself. The practice is to come out of the logical mind to connect more to your heart, feel grounded and centred allowing yourself to be a present observer. You can practice mindfulness meditation, visualisation, contemplation, lying on grass, being alone in nature or deep controlled break work.
Mindful practices can be done anywhere that is quiet where you feel comfortable and safe. Mindfulness requires patience, practice and persistence over time. Be patient when starting this new practice. You have to take the first step starting and let go of expectations. Be Committed! Be Present! Be Patient!
2. Authenticity, Spontaneous & Awareness
Be yourself and share your own vulnerabilities, fears and stories. It breaks the barriers and gives permission for your team to do the same. Be authentic in every interaction. There is no room for any fake versions of yourself, it will be felt and cause distrust. Be spontaneous with your interactions. You may like to randomly ask your team or leaders to go for a coffee, walk in the local park or area to talk about anything other than work. Get to know them personally and share yourself too. Get out of your comfort zone and organise spontaneous fun.
Be self-aware. This is vital in mindful leadership. Ask yourself:
- Am I aware of all parts of myself?
- How am I perceived?
- How do I interact with others and leave them feeling after?
- What energy do I bring to the interaction, team, room?
- What did I contribute to this interaction or situation?
We cannot hold space for others if there is little self awareness. Self-awareness is when we shift from blame to self responsibility. Take responsibility for the part you played in all interactions. When needed, apologise authentically. Show sincerity with actions. Apologies are powerful when genuinely followed with action and futile if only empty words.
3. Emotional Radar
Be aware of changes in your team and make it a priority to find out how they are, what is happening in their life and what you can do to support them. Do you know what keeps them up at night? Or what they dream of for their life and the world? Find out about them on a deeper level to understand how you can support them.
Genuinely care about others and all aspects of their personal life. Encourage leave or “nutritional silence days” when you notice it is needed. The more they connect to and look after themselves the happier they will feel in their life including their work.
4. Communication and connection
Communication is vital in any connection. Healthy communication is based on trust, respect and honesty. Being honest, not avoiding or running from difficult conversations is important. Your team will lose trust if you avoid them or a conversation.
Choose having difficult conversations with kindness, grace and compassion. Never underestimate the power of listening and regularly review if your skills need polishing. Talking is relaying something we already know. When we listen we are likely to learn something new. Be a present, respectful listener. Give your full attention without being distracted by devices, calls or the next appointment. Present listening is avoiding gathering or rehearsing your response.
Self-Mastery is to understand who you really are. It is taking full responsibility for your own life. Individuals are conscious, recognise, identify, and understand themselves to achieve emotional, mental and physical harmony. This is a committed internal self-directed journey of progress which only you determine. Be committed to mastering your life. You choose how you live and contribute to the world.
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. – Lao Tzu
One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself. – Leonardo Da Vinci
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes – Carl Jung
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. – Carl Jung
I could only achieve success in my life through self-discipline, and I applied it until my wish and my will became one. – Nikola Tesla
Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person. – Albert Einstein