Mindful leadership techniques you can use now
“Mindfulness brings a unity of body and mind to the present moment. It puts us in the zone and the beauty of mindfulness is that it can be practised any time anywhere.” says Carolyn Jayne, Reiki Master and Mace Energy Method practitioner in her article Apply mindfulness in daily life.
Mindful leadership is about anchoring yourself in the present moment. Being present in the moment brings more awareness and attention to detail and helps you to become more aware of your people and your surroundings. When our mind is off drifting from the past to the future, worrying about what happened yesterday or feeling anxious about tomorrow, we are completely missing what is happening right in front of us.
Actively choose how you will lead
As a leader, you have a significant influence on your team. Interestingly, up to 70% of a leader’s behaviour (which is often unconscious) directly influences their team’s performance. Most of us have worked for bosses that were great, good and not so good. What made them so great that you wanted to give all that you could to help them succeed? What made them so uninspiring or demotivating that you could think of nothing worse than going to work and doing what they needed done?
What kind of leader DO you want to be? Fair, reasonable, considerate and supportive of others to thrive at their best by inspiring and engaging them, and through being a positive role model.
What kind of leader do you NOT want to be? Unfair, unreasonable, role modelling disengagement, resentment, aggressive or negative behaviour and responses that may undermine your employee’s resilience to stress and detract from their ability to achieve their optimum wellness when they are at work.
With every encounter, there is an exchange of energy between people. Have you ever been in a situation where you have been conversing with someone and they seemed completely disengaged because they were either too busy mulling over an incident that had occurred previously or they were already thinking about what they were about to say next? Now think about how that made you feel. If we are being honest with ourselves we have all probably been guilty of this. I know I certainly have. When we get busy it can be very hard to stay focused on the present moment. But when you think about how you felt in that moment, ask yourself – do you really want to make other people, particularly your team members, feel that way?
As I said, when you are mindful you are more aware, not only of your surroundings but of the people in your space and how they are feeling. A leader who is more in tune with his or her employees, who listens and exhibits empathy, is more likely to be seen as the positive role model who inspires. If that’s the kind of manager you want to be, it’s time to start dedicating some time to your own mindfulness practice.
A great way to start is by getting yourself mentally prepared each and every morning so that when you step foot into your workplace, you are genuinely present. This doesn’t mean you need to spend an hour meditating before work. As Carol says, mindfulness can be practised anywhere at any time.
Set a clear intention
Give this a try this week. Every morning before you start work, spend 30 seconds thinking about what your intention is for the day. For example, think about your team members and how you can support them to be at their best in the workplace. Think of the other working relationships that you have and how you would like these to flow today. Think of the customers you will meet during the day and the positive experiences you and your team will provide, for each other and for your customers.
Having a clear intention is essential. Setting your intention for the day ahead is all part of getting into a positive mindset. You can do this in the shower, sitting in a traffic jam, or as you walk across the car park to the workplace where you will be engaging with guests, internal or external. If you don’t prepare in this way, your mind will naturally drift onto other subjects and there is a risk that you will allow negative thoughts to creep into your thinking. Some people find that listening to cheerful music every morning before arriving at work prepares them by getting them into a happy frame of mind to meet their first challenge. Start each day with a clear intention to create the necessary frame of mind to be the best possible version of you. It will rub off onto those around you and your actions will be the seedlings for cultivating a culture of wellness in your team.
Do you have an example of mindful leadership? We’d love to hear it – please share!
Mindfulness is one of the principles of wellness and a key topic in the Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy’s wellness programs.