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 conscious of the stressors of your team as well as your own, will enable you to implement systems and solutions as they arise.
Development and R&D heads in tech startups are often faced with pressures of quick turnarounds, and they employ technology, leadership, and experience to traverse through that maze. Similarly, logistic companies have to contend with managing customer expectations of timely delivery, and are therefore continuously refining their methods to become reliable and efficient. Some industry leaders may wish to take the help of electronic logging devices such as those offered by Lytx to be able to track drivers, and enforce proper work discipline.
Irrespective of the decisions and solutions, below are five distinguished traits of mindful leaders, which create a positive impact and enhance the lives and careers of their employees.
- 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. Also, support your employees in their journey to succeed in careers, help them in achieving goals, as well as listen to their suggestions and ideas. It can improve the employee life cycle since a better employee experience can directly impacts staff satisfaction, productivity, and retention.
- 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. While taking decisions, it can be essential to consider their impact on the company along with employees since neglecting your team can negatively impact employee experience. Hence, do a quick check with your mind, your heart, come to a resolution, and move on.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!