Can Mindfulness Make You a Better Leader?
When asked what makes a good leader, most people will include some version of the following characteristics:
Increasingly organisations and businesses are recognising the value of mindfulness in bringing out these traits amongst their leaders. But why? At its core, mindfulness simply means being present. Paying full attention to the present moment. So how does that translate into effective, successful leadership?
The fast-paced demands of most workplaces leave us little time to consider our true feelings about a situation. A mindful approach however encourages you to recognise and understand your thoughts and emotions. This self-awareness makes it easier to stay true to your values. A decision fueled by passion, purpose and meaning is far more likely to inspire, colleagues and employees, than one made with obscure goals in mind.
#2 Active Choice
How often are decisions made on the basis of ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’, with little thought for the changing realities of a situation. So often, we feel as though we’re not leading at all, but simply allowing autopilot to take control. Mindfulness brings with it a clarity and focus that allows for a more responsive, considered approach, likely to prove far more effective than any auto-response.
Despite our best efforts it’s easy to let our emotions rule; not always the hallmark of successful or productive decision-making. With a mindful awareness of our thoughts and feelings and an understanding of their source, comes the ability to see how they may be colouring your assessment of a situation. Being able to step back in this way allows you to see the whole picture and take a calmer, cool-headed approach to finding a way forward.
#4 Emotional Intelligence
What’s that old saying? ‘No man is an island.’ It’s so true. As a leader, you rely on and communicate with colleagues, stakeholders and employees at all levels. With mindful practice comes an awareness of how you interact with and impact on others around you. This self-awareness is crucial to maintaining the productive working relationships on which your leadership depends.
It’s easy to see the positive impact mindfulness can have on your success as a leader. But it only comes with practice. Mindfulness is a way of being that must be cultivated and actively applied to everyday life.
Share your thoughts on the impact of mindfulness in the comments below. Or, get in touch to find out how 1-2-1 coaching could help you become more mindful as a leader.