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Mindful leadership has become a popular term. But what does it really mean to be a mindful leader? Leadership is more important than ever. Globally engagement is at an all-time low of 13%. 80% of employee’s state that they are stressed and 46% of employees are looking for a job while sitting in their office.
What does a leader need to do to help an organization move forward? To improve engagement and ultimately productivity. We are all leaders, regardless of our title or the job that we do. Individually it is important to be mindful, but when the organization embodies mindfulness, positive change occurs and the culture of the organization improves.
Why become a mindful leader? Research has shown that when organizations are trained in mindfulness, they experience benefits such as a savings in health care costs, less stress and increased productivity among employees. For example, Aetna has shown an average of $3000 savings in health care costs per employee and Dow Chemical has shown a 15% gain in employee engagement.
What traits do mindful leaders possess?
Effective Communicators: Mindful leaders communicate with clarity of content but also of thought. They are able to interact without abrupt and hasty thinking and reactivity. They have a calm awareness of direction, goals and how to motivate others. Mindful leaders listen with empathy and curiosity. They embody the ability to feel, sense and understand what others are feeling, ultimately communicating the appropriate response.
Greater Self-Awareness: When leaders are self-aware they know their strengths and weaknesses. They are confident in their abilities but also know what they need to do to improve and become stronger leaders. Ego is not a part of their equation. Mindful leaders have greater emotional intelligence skills. Studies show that when we practice mindfulness, the gray matter in our pre frontal cortex that controls decision-making and critical thinking increases. It improves our self-regulation and gives us the power to respond versus react in situations. Leaders are able to see things more clearly and objectively without emotional flurry clouding their decisions.
Have a Strong Vision: Leaders that have a vision, see a plan for the future. They understand the present state of affairs and are able to make critical decisions if change is needed. Mindful leaders have greater concentration and focus on what is important. They can respond more strategically, prioritize and focus on not only the structure of the organization but the people that make the business flourish.
When we are mindful leaders we are more productive and our performance improves. We understand what is important and what needs to be done. Mindful leaders are better communicators, more engaged with employees and are motivated not only for their own purpose but for the greater whole.
Mindfulness offers us the competitive advantage as leaders.
A simple practice with benefits that can transform not only an individual but a culture. Thank you for reading and please leave a comment and share on your social media.
Colleen Cassel, CEO of Upstream Solutions, is a speaker and leadership consultant. Working with organizations and individuals to impact performance in their business and career. As CMO of id8TE, Colleen consults and trains leaders on how mindful outcomes can transform performance in leadership, engagement and overall wellbeing within workplaces.