There is all sorts of research about the benefits of being a leader that is focused. Research shows that when you are focused, you are more productive, performance improves, you are resilient and more creative. But true leaders know that they have to focus in 3 ways. Their focus needs to be on themselves, others and the wider organization or group.
Studies and an article from Harvard Business Review show that when you practice mindfulness it improves your focus, and clarity. It helps you to not only focus on yourself, but connect and have empathy towards others.
With focus you can more easily respond and think about a situation instead of just reacting to a situation. Put this in the work context. What if you could actually show more compassion for your co-workers, interact and communicate more fully and manage more effectively? With mindfulness and focus you can do that. Below are 6 ways that mindful and focused leaders impact and benefit an organization.
Connect. When a leader connects, engagement increases. According to Gallup, employees go the extra mile, work with passion and have a profound connection to the company. They are the employees that drive innovation and move your business forward.
Listen. The best leaders are not concerned with always talking. But listen to what their employees are saying. Communication is a two way street. It is listening and engaging. Listening is about understanding, learning and then responding.
Collaborate. Research shows that collaboration in the workplace is better than having sole individual talent. With collaboration overall performance and loyalty is increased. When employees and leaders collaborate, motivation, customer experience, innovation and morale is boosted.
Creative. When you are focused and practice mindfulness your mind becomes clear and sharp to make creative and critical decisions. You begin to view situations and challenges not as obstacles but opportunities. Leading to new ideas, creativity and innovation.
Feedback. Feedback is an important element in the workplace as it increases productivity, quality of work and effectiveness of the team. Employees initiative, innovation and motivation increase with regular and constructive feedback from leaders.
Compassion: According to an article from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, when leaders put pressure on employees it increases the stress level of employees. Stress ultimately leads to higher employer costs. Plus 52% of employees report that workplace stress will result in them looking and leaving for a new job. With compassion the work environment becomes a happier place. Resulting in better customer service, engagement, commitment, social connection and an improved bottom line.
With focus a leader can think more clearly. Have the space to make critical decisions and be more creative. Remember, a great leader is not without skill and talent. But has the added dimension of quality personal skills and embraces collaboration, compassion and communication in the workplace to improve the bottom line.
Have you seen the benefits that focus and mindfulness has had on leaders that you respect? Please leave a comment and thank you for reading.
Colleen Cassel is founder of Upstream Solutions, a business and career consultancy. She speaks, trains and coaches leaders and organizations on impacting performance in their business and career. Working on authentic and mindful leadership, communication and creating thriving work environments. Connect with her at Twitter, Facebook and Google+
Have you been thinking that it is time for a new job? Possibly even starting your own business?
Let me guess. You have been thinking about a change for some time but you just can't make a decision. Is it fear that you won't be able to handle the new job, fear of
the unknown or are you just too comfortable where you are? What has you stuck? It is fear that often keeps us stuck. When you approach the fear and ask yourself the following questions, you may find the answers you need.
Read the four questions below and write down your answers. When you write something, you are more apt to remember it. Research tells us that when we write something down it is as if we are doing it. A mini-rehearsal per se. Writing your answers will help you to gain clarity and shed light on your decision.
1. What is the worst thing that could happen?
We spend months, even years, sometimes wondering if we should leave a job.You know you are not happy but day in and day out you go to the same job. You analyze why you should stay, but do you ever ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen if you were to leave?” We have over 50,000 thoughts a day and more than 70% of them are negative thoughts. What if you were to reverse the percentage or even make it 50/50? The key to changing your negative thinking is to recognize and become aware of your thoughts and then challenge the negative thought. Don’t let it control you. With a positive attitude new opportunities appear.
2. How will you feel when you make the change?
You are nervous about a change but what is your vision for the future? What is it you want to do and how do you see yourself in a new situation? Take the time to envision what you really want. Write it down or draw a picture. As I mentioned when you write down your goal it is as if your brain can see it.
When you take the time to think about what you want, more of that comes into your life. Our minds are very powerful and, as research has shown, you can train your brain to think a certain way, strengthening and stimulating your emotions. You see, hear and experience more of what you focus your mind on.
3. Why do you want it?
Your “why” is often the biggest motivator to make the change. Will you be better off financially, will you be happier? When you place emphasis on the why, you get to the root of the truth. It challenges your assumptions about what you think you know. Knowing the why will give power to your passions.
4. What do you really want?
Ask yourself what you really want and how you want to feel. We are all entitled to happiness. You are meant to be happy and, in fact, according to a study at the University of California Riverside, led by Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, research has shown that happy people are more successful, make more money, are more productive, and have stronger immune systems. Isn’t it time you make yourself happy?
What did your answers tell you? Perhaps it is time to make a decision and not let fear get in your way. If you are stuck regarding a job decision or change in your life, contact Upstream Solutions to inspire and motivate you to make the change you want.
What does it mean to be an authentic leader? You hear the word often enough and you wonder, am I being authentic in my style? Does my team view me as a good leader? When you think of an authentic leader, two people come to my mind. Yes, there are others, but these leaders I respect and honor their style.
The two that I a refer to are running large corporations. But don't let that stop you from considering their style. Regardless if your company has 3 people or 100, you too can be an authentic leader. They are Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks and Kat Cole, President of Focus Brands. You ask, why them?
To be an authentic leader you have to have high emotional intelligence skills. What does that mean? You have inner, other and outer focus in your leadership style. Self awareness is the starting point. You know your purpose, vision, strengths and weaknesses. And you also understand that leadership requires integrity and focus.
Other focus is your people. Do you connect with them and understand what they may be saying? Empathy and compassion in leadership allows you to communicate more effectively. When leaders connect, they build trust and a support team. Outer focus is the organization at large. Ask yourself, what is your strategy? What is your mission that will take and guide your ship?
When leaders recognize that it is WE and not I, that they have checked their ego at the door and surround their weaknesses with the strengths of others, you have a winning formula.
I mentioned Howard Schultz. Starbucks is in the business of humanity. Howard looks back to his personal story as a young boy. He is motivated by the fear of failure but inspired to provide excellent benefits for his employees. He represents communication and connection in his leadership. Think of the last time you bought a Starbucks. For me, they were courteous, used my name and smiled. Those few things are the very basics of leadership.
Kat Cole, President of Focus Brands which includes Cinnabon and other brands,leads with courage, curiosity, humility and confidence. She leans of her humble beginnings, growing up in a family that only had $10 a week to survive. She believes that authenticity is the fastest way to win trust and build credibility. She supports and champions her employees.
Gone are the days of command and control. Today's employees whether they are at the beginning of their career or at the end, want to feel valued and understood. With engagement globally at an all time low of 13%, leaders need to think differently. They need to lead with creativity, humility, focus and curiosity, to name a few. They need to ask themselves, how can I support, collaborate, communicate and listen to my teams? When a leader takes a second to ask, how would I like to be led, they will find the answer.
Become self aware and ask yourself what leadership style would motivate and inspire me? When the answer appears, that is the leader you should be.
Colleen speaks, trains and coaches businesses and organizations on beingleaders and creating thriving work environments.