There is a lot to contend with being a modern leader in business. We live in an interconnected world that gives us access to the office 24/7 that often distracts us from what’s important and limits our ability to lead with excellence. It has been said that modern leaders feel like they are spending too many times putting out fires and wasting time rather than being connected with their employees.
Leaders are often incredibly busy and do not have the time to tune into their own feelings let alone those of their staff. How can they generate connections with colleagues to truly understand the needs of their staff if their minds are constantly distracted? Making decisions without a clear focus means most of the times leaders are reacting instead of responding or initiating. There is definitely the need for leaders to be more present in the workplace but more importantly, there is a need to be present in their personal lives. If a leader has a stable foundation he/she can be a rock for the company and wider community.
How do we define a Mindful Leader?
A Mindful leader is present, connected and compassionate in the services of others. Those around a Mindful leader can feel they are leading from a heartfelt place that wants the best for the staff without ulterior motivation. There is an interesting concept called discretionary benefit. This term refers to going the extra mile. A mindful leader will inspire staff to want to work harder and put in extra effort even when they don’t need to because the team will want to give back to someone who truly cares for them.
Mindfulness encompasses awareness, connection and compassion. These qualities are what a mindful leader embodies. They are aware of what is happening within themselves (emotions, energy, physically) which helps them to be aware of the impact these feelings have upon the way they interact with their workplace. It also helps to relate to how their staff are feeling and what may be impacting upon those feelings. Being connected and present allows a leader to be fully engaged with their job and their people. What naturally flows from being more aware and present is compassion. Compassion is the heart of a person. The feeling of love we have for ourselves and others. The desire to help ourselves and others be the best we can be and provide the care and support to allow these positive qualities to flourish.
Become a Mindful Leader
Leading with excellence, being fully present for what we do and connecting with others are innate abilities we all possess.
The best leaders are eager to cultivate these abilities. Mindful leadership training helps you to hone your attention and your ability to be aware of what’s going on in your body and mind at any given moment, you can utilize all of your capabilities—clear minds and warm hearts and wise choices—and begin to see the results of leading from an authentic place.
Multi-tasking is seen as a skill in the modern world of work whereas in reality it means that no one job is being given adequate focus. This results in no one task ever being completed to the best of the leaders ability meaning that overall performance is vastly reduced. This mindset of not being able to truly focus on one task is known as continuous partial attention and it is through mindfulness training that leaders can learn how to focus their attention better on the task in hand which results in a dramatic increased in productivity.
Mindfulness training starts by teaching a leader how to become present with themselves and their environment so they start to become aware of how they are truly feeling. Once this presence is cultivated leaders are shown how to develop kindness and care for themselves so they can truly feel happy. Once this happiness is present it shines through like the sun and warms all it touches.
Written by John Earls – Director of Therapy at Satis