Mindfulness has been hailed as having fantastic effects on all kinds of things: reducing stress, increasing feelings of wellbeing, improving relationships and anxiety. We’ve talked about these things before, but never in the context of leadership.
A mindful leader is present in the workplace, fosters a culture of empathy, creativity and compassion while directing the business with a clear focus. Mindful leaders manage their own workload and lead by example, boosting productivity and staff morale at the same time as managing stress levels.
Leading requires both intellect and emotional intelligence to communicate effectively with others and impact change. Through mindful leadership, you can connect with your staff, enhance employee engagement, team cohesion, and collaboration.
Here are ten tips to help you on the path to be a more mindful leader.
- Practise gratitude
“Being grateful for your business, your staff and their accomplishments are some of the best traits of a mindful leader. Let’s face it, without a team around you, you can’t succeed. You need to be grateful for everything they do.
“Practise gratitude every day, even when it may seem like nothing went right. Teaching yourself to find the positives each day means you put your team first and lead by example. If you can be grateful, your team will be too. Remember to even be grateful for the challenges. They build resilience, make you and your team stronger and, ultimately, create more learnings for everyone.”
-David Lawlor, hasta CEO and Founder
2. Accept what you can’t change
Mindfulness involves self-acceptance and being open to listening and learning from others. There will be supply chain issues that you can’t immediately change, staff circumstances that just pop up and mistakes will happen. Accept these and take the learnings. Acceptance is a cornerstone of mindfulness. Mastering this empowers you, helps your staff and eliminates toxic ‘failure’ culture. Embrace the power of unpredictability and stay calm in face of a challenge.
3. Work at a consistent pace
Pacing yourself sets a good example for others. Creating achievable deadlines gets the best out of your team. There will be times where things take priority, but keeping these to a minimum creates a calm and positive atmosphere for you and your team. Too many hard deadlines and too many priorities can cause anxiety and also dilutes the importance of tasks. Aesop’s Fable is still at play here, slow and steady everyone.
4. Adopt a growth mindset
Adopting a growth mindset promotes learning and positivity. If you have a growth mindset, you won’t be discouraged by criticism. Instead, you’ll take the opportunity to discover and learn something new. A mindful leader recognises that challenges provide the space to grow and improve through lived experience.
5. Practise mindful exercises at work
“Taking 5 minutes out of your day to recentre yourself and refocus your priorities will make you a better and more approachable leader. Whilst it’s important to think of your team, you also need time for yourself. A moment of meditation, breathwork or a simple walk with no phone provides that crucial space you need to recharge.”
-Eve Murihead, MBE, Curling Team GB Skip and The Curling Club Ambassador
6. Work with purpose
Every brand has a vision, mission and values. These need to go beyond being a strapline. Working with purpose shows your employees that this is a company worth working for. And this starts from the top. As the leader of your team or organisation, if you don’t work with purpose, how can you expect others to do the same? Focus on ethics and the integrity of all output rather than results. Mindful leadership prioritises purposeful actions over an outcomes based culture.
7. Stop micromanaging
Developing your staff and developing trust is fundamental to mindful leadership. Delegation doesn’t mean handing off the tasks you don’t fancy doing, it’s a skill that many of us lack. Rather than constantly checking in providing unsolicited suggestions on how to conduct the work, allow your team to complete the tasks and explain the rationale behind the methodology. You’ll be surprised at how many news ways of working you’ll discover.
8. Be available to your employees
Being present is one thing, making yourself available is another. You may have weekly catch-ups in the diary but do you check in with your team individually, every day? A quick ‘how are you?’ goes a long way and cultivates openness amongst your employees. When things do wrong, a leader needs to be approachable and available – having your door open and picking up the phone are great physical signals. If you’re approached by an employee, try not to delay the conversation and schedule a meeting, attempt to make the time to discuss the issue there and then.
9. Create an environment of flexibility
Whether you offer your staff shared parental leave, hybrid working, mental health days or flexible hours, these all feed into being a mindful leader. Your staff have lives outside of work and things happen. Realising and taking this into account when thinking about mindful leadership is essential. Being flexible demonstrates trust amongst your team. Giving them space to work at their own pace, resolve issues at home etc will benefit you and your business in the long run.
10. Be humble
If you’ve mastered gratitude, then you’re also humble. Humility is imperative to mindful leadership. It demonstrates self-awareness, appreciation and openness to feedback from anyone within your organisation. Being humble is so impactful, it can even lead to reduced staff turnover, improved job satisfaction and higher rates of staff engagement.
Weaving in a few of these techniques into your daily live will transform your leadership style and have a fantastic impact on your staff. If you’re interested in learning more ways to enhance your leadership strategy, take a look at our wellbeing packages.