Leadership and management are important roles today in every aspect of life.
We need leaders to motivate and guide families and friends. We need leaders to raise children. We need leaders to take charge of organisations, governments and sports teams.
These people stand strong, rise to challenges and aim to prevail, no matter the adversity. But it’s because of this perception that we can often assume that leaders are flawless and above the difficulties everyone else faces.
The reality is that leaders actually experience a different kind of pressure altogether because of the position that they are in. They are looked up to and seen as guides, which can force pressure upon them and threaten to disrupt their stability.
This is where the concept of mindfulness comes in.
The mindful leader
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” (Feb 10, 2017). Therefore, the mindful leader could be defined as being completely in the present moment in a non-judgemental and neutral emotional state. Thus, allowing the leader to behave in a more positive and efficient way, for the good of everyone.
As a result, Mindfulness is considered the key attribute of an effective leader, because a mindful leader is rational, logical and strong, despite the environment that they face. They remain true to their convictions and make clear decisions after considering all the facts.
While it’s not easy to achieve, presence of mindfulness and being in the present moment can be carefully cultivated as a way to focus a person’s mental capabilities towards leadership.
Being in the position of a leader is a unique opportunity to make a difference in yourself, your surroundings and everyone around you; so it’s important that this opportunity is used effectively to make a positive impact.
The 5 positive behaviours that mindful leaders exhibit
Being a mindful leader should be part of your daily routine as it can lead to many benefits for both yourself and those around you.
Here are 5 behaviours which demonstrate mindful leadership and illustrate the positive advantages of incorporating them into your leadership style.
(1) An unshakeable focus
Instead of allowing your mind to wander, a mindful leader can control their attention and place it towards everything they are doing in the moment.
Listening to a presentation or observing a colleague, you are always focused which allows you to take everything in.
(2) Control over decisions
It’s completely natural to make decisions based on personal emotions, biases and circumstances. However, a leader is expected to be rational when it comes to making the right choice.
A mindful leader is able to stop and pay attention to these internal emotions, judgements and biases, and realise the pollutive influence they may be having. Once separated, you can make clearer, more logical decisions.
(3) Empowering those around you
Often, leaders can act too rashly when a friend, colleague or peer comes to them for help. This intervention may lead to making the situation worse.
A mindful leader, however, takes the time to listen and observe in the moment so that all the facts can be carefully considered before action is taken. Only then can you give the situation the attention it requires to empower them and their growth.
(4) The value of sleep
While action is taken while you are awake, sleep is just as important as a necessary balance. Adequate and quality rest allows you to correctly refresh and recharge both your mental and physical faculties to be at your best during the day.
A mindful leader is aware of this and takes the time to give their body the balance it needs to function well each and every day.
(5) The value of meditation
Meditation is often undervalued, but it’s actually a proven way to attain some much-needed relaxation to reset, whilst strengthening the ability to focus and maintain attention and awareness.
Mindfulness is a state of mind which requires the leader to be at peace in the present, and with the hustle-bustle of each day, there can be a lot of distractions which can throw you out of this state. Practising meditation for around 10 minutes a day can keep you on course.
Being in a position of leadership comes with a lot of responsibility as many people are depending on you to guide them towards achievement and success. When being a mindful leader, work towards remembering the OOCN Principal: Be Open to what is coming into conscious awareness; Be an Observer of your thoughts; Be Curious about what is happening in both body & mind; Approach everything in a Non-judgemental manner. Employing this Principal will assist you to be accepting of what is going on the present moment, allowing you to make proactive and effective mindful decisions.
Introducing, nurturing and practising mindfulness when leading will improve your focus, clarity, creativity and compassion. It’s worth nurturing this quality but it requires full and complete, non-judgmental attention in the present moment, so that both you and those around you benefit.
How can Lifeology Help You?
Having years of experience assisting people to understand and enhance their Mindfulness, I have helped many people discover their true potential in both their working and personal lives.
Although our state of mind and leadership style become more ‘set in’ with age, they are malleable and, along with self-awareness and coaching, can be focused on and enhanced in an effective way, to improve career growth and success.
Feel free to contact me to find out how!
For more information, contact Kerryn at firstname.lastname@example.org to unlock your emotional potential today.