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So, What is Mindful Leadership?

I have been a co-host and presenter all this past week for the Mindful Leadership Online Training Conference, a free online compilation of interviews with some of the top mindfulness experts in the world.  It’s had me really in touch with the power of being a mindful leader and wanted to share some of the amazing takeaways being given through the conference (which you can still register for now).

The term “mindful” in everyday language is often used as a warning for something that is either dangerous or unexpected. In the context of leadership, however, the meaning takes a shift from being attentive to what is happening around us to what is happening within.  Mindfulness is generally defined as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something, hence being able to accomplish everything with focus and discipline.

The single most important factor to being a successful leader is to know oneself.  My company, eWomenNetwork (the premier women’s entrepreneur network in North America) lives off of our values because my belief is, “If you don’t know what it is that you stand for, you will fall for anything.”Mindfulness means having an in-depth understanding about your mind and your own thoughts, your reaction to situations, and your ability to use the information that you have to be as compassionate, innovative, and thoughtful as possible. Yet, the process of knowing oneself can be easier said than done!

Some of the largest companies in the world, such as Google, have been taking notice to the importance of mindful leadership and have even implemented leadership programs around this topic. There are several positive impacts of mindful leadership including:

  • Increased Productivity
  • Reduced Stress Levels
  • Increase in Listening
  • Enhanced Decision Making Skills

People generally assume that entrepreneurs and leaders are adept to overcome the roadblocks and stressors of everyday life, but the reality is, they face a different kind of stress which can be really challenging to manage.  Being mindful of your stressors and the stressors of your team allow you to raise your consciousness and implement systems and processes along with discipline and lots of patience to overcome stressful situations smoothly.

Below are five positive traits that mindful leaders exhibit which create a positive impact and enhances the lives and careers of their employees.

  1. Giving Your Team Full Attention: When an employee approaches you with a problem, do you immediately begin to drift out of consciousness by trying to come up with a solution in your head? Instead, challenge yourself to focus when you catch your mind drifting and remain fully conscious of your team member’s needs.
  1. Making Thoughtful Decisions: As leaders, we make several decisions every day, but the question is,are you making decisions with your head or heart? A mindful leader uses both to make good decisions.  Do a quick check with your mind, your heart, come to a resolution and move on.
  1. Empowering Team Members: The performance of your team members improves when you empower and trust them. Many employees will make a decision different to what you would have made, but there can be more than one solution to every problem. The most important thing is what’s right, and not who’s right. Releasing the “how” and focusing more on the “what” will not only create less stress on you, but it will improve your team’s morale in the process.
  1. A Good Night Sleep: A sound sleep at night allows you to be more mindful throughout the day. Mindful leaders understand the importance in taking a break, slowing down and just breathing. Letting go of a rude customer or a bad situation takes practice, but the leaders who learn to let go before going to sleep, start with fresh ideas and positive energy the next day.
  1. Regular Meditation: Our lives are busy, but meditation is absolutely worth making time for. We are more susceptible to stress because of the demands of the society, the race to be at the top and knowing that our decisions can affect the lives of team members. A 20-minute meditation will make a difference in your clarity of mind and make a huge impact in your ability to lead mindfully. It is not time lost; in fact, it is time gained!

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