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Mindful Leadership | The Who, the What and the Why?

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Mindful leadership seems to be the next rising star in the management industry. A secret gem currently tucked away in the shadows.

What is mindfulness?

More people are beginning to open us about their mental health and encouraging us all to educate ourselves and others about mental health. Mindfulness is described as the someone’s non-judgemental awareness to the present moment.

How can you be mindful?

Mindfulness can be described by savouring a moment. The best way to understand this is by practicing it. Try this exercise:

Take a deep, long breath. Now acknowledge:

  • 5 things you can see (what’s in the room with you?)
  • 4 you can touch (can you feel your feet on the floor, your hair weighing down on you, your clothes?)
  • 3 you can hear (Can you hear typing, music, chatting?)
  • 2 things you can smell (can’t smell anything? Open a window or spray perfume)
  • 1 thing you can taste (coffee, gum, lunch?)

This grounding exercise is only one of many you can practice.

But what does that have to do with leadership?

Often, you’ll hear crazy work routine stories of CEOs who wake up at 3am to begin their day. Is there some truth behind the crazy that we can implement in our daily lives?

To understand the correlation between those crazy routines, mindfulness and leadership, let’s take a step back and focus on motivation. Why are some leaders compelled to wake up at 3am, what do they achieve from it?

The logic behind waking up before everyone is that they’ll be less emails, texts and phone calls to answer. This gives you the time to focus. Filter your emails, enjoy your coffee, plan your day. A moment of peace in this hectic business environment that we’ve made ourselves accustomed to.

Mindful leadership is all about checking in with yourself throughout the day. Are you aware of your thoughts? You are not a robot. Your brain does not have to constantly be fixing, solving or creating.

Why be a mindful leader?

As a leader it’s easy to lose yourself in projects and management and chaos. It’s a struggle to stay in the moment when you’re rushing from task to task, or project to project.

Let’s take a moment. Breathe. Pull yourself into the present.

Understanding how you’re feeling in a moment can help reduce stress and anxiety, but it’s also beneficial for those around you. When you pause from the hustle and bustle of the office, you’re giving your mind a chance to process. It can help you in many aspects of leadership such as:

– Teamwork
You will best be able to lead a team when you reflect on yourself and acknowledge where your strengths lie and where the gaps in your skills are.

– Compassionate communication
By taking a mindful break you can step away from the heated email chains or phone calls. Slip off the stress into something cosy and compassionate.

– Fear of failure
If you can free yourself from the fear failure, you can think more creatively – take risks. Failure is not the sign of a bad leader. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s just human nature.

When you acknowledge your emotion, you can begin to understand its impact on you and others around you. Are you snappier, more impatient, apathetic?

Contrary to popular belief, emotions are not a weakness – especially in leadership. Understanding your emotions can help you cultivate an honest and open culture. This means that you’ll better be able to influence those around you because there’s a stronger two-way communication line. Once you begin to understand and accept your emotions you can start to pave the way for others to follow in your footsteps.

A mindful leader is one that seeks to serve its organisation and employees first.