Mindful leadership means that the person who has taken a position of responsibility is calm, manages his/her stress and (s)he is able to focus on what he has to do.
Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for leaders to suffer from stress and split attention between numerous responsibilities, worrying thoughts, fears, frustrations, and catastrophic scenarios.
What can we do about it? Is mindful leadership a natural gift that few possess or can it be cultivated? Fortunately, there is something we can do.
In this article I present 4 principles so that we have less stress and a clear mind for decisions even when we have demanding programs and external pressure.
Why do we need mindful leadership?
To understand the need for mindful leadership we need to understand what it means for a leader to act mindfully. (S)he:
- focuses on what is currently in place
- listens carefully and can coordinate with the people (s)he works with
- is aware of his/her feelings and how they affect his/her thoughts and behaviors
- is aware how his/her behavior impacts his/her team
- manages his/her emotions and the impact they have on his/her thoughts and behaviors. Remains calm in stressful situations.
- creates and maintains relationships
- has strategies that help his/her team to be calm, and stay focused in difficult situations
- focuses on the above steps instead of being overwhelmed by stress and distracted from what could be done
- does not react in an automatic way but responds with flexibility and empathy as appropriate to each situation
How can I train my brain in mindfulness?
# 1: Stop multitasking
According to neuroscience, multitasking has harmful effects. As leaders in a position of responsibility, focused attention is essential. We cannot decide and think about possible scenarios or our next moves, if we work with a distracted mind. Every day needs to have an agenda -the goals that serve an overarching purpose. If something comes up and does not fit into our day’s agenda, we can ask ourselves whether it really serves our purpose or is it’s just another distraction. What if you did not, could you focus on your purpose?
# 2: Spend time doing nothing
Today, being “always on” and fierce competition is considered an asset, the habit of always working on something so as not to be left behind. We believe that doing nothing is equated with waste, laziness, lack of ambition, boredom or “down” time. However, detaching from daily routine and spending time in reflection and contemplation are essential to our health, sanity and personal growth. We need that “down” time to regulate our emotional state, to observe the thoughts and the ways in which we act out of habit. So, find a quiet place, take breathes and observe your inner and outer state. This practice helps us understand if we are on the path we really want in life. If our actions are harmoniously connected with our needs and desires. What do you realize about yourself when you observe your behavior?
# 3: Practice active listening
There is no authentic leadership if we cannot listen actively, paying attention to what people say to us. Make the conscious effort to turn off the phone, look the other person in the eye and avoid any distraction. What does the person in front of me say? Let us not rush to replies, satisfying the need to show that we know, that we are in control of the situation. What inner voice affects our ability to listen actively?
# 4: Focus on values and purpose
If we want to lead mindfully, with a clear mind, we need to connect with our values and our purpose. What is the purpose of the work you do? What do you really believe in? What is the role of your team or organization in terms of contributing to community? Be sure to clarify your values and vision. It will help you make decisions, focus your attention and energy.
One last word
When we lead mindfully we know how our behavior affects others around us. We are able to control the chatter of the mind, the anxiety of stress, to observe ourselves at all times, and to know the consequences of our actions and decisions in the long run. And that helps us create a life in line with our values.
If you are an entrepreneur, professional, scientist, executive, business owner, I support you to create a meaningful life, attain goals, and become a leader in your field without stress and more satisfaction for what you do.
If you need help discovering your inner potential, discovering who you are, your purpose in life and what principles and values guide you, my signature self-awareness 1: 1 coaching program was created for you to help you finally feel whole and grateful in your life.
Book your free discovery call
Do you know what other coaching services I offer? You can browse them here.
Photo by marekuliasz on iStock