If you are looking to better yourself as a leader, mindfulness is vital. Read on to discover how mindfulness can support your journey to becoming a great leader.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of consciousness consisting of awareness and attention.
Dr Matthew Lippincott
Self-awareness is a skill that you can develop which has a positive impact on 90% of your results. It is the most critical skill for leaders to develop because it affects every aspect of leadership. And still, there are very few leaders who intentionally train and improve on their self-awareness on a daily basis.
In her 2018 self-awareness study, Dr Tasha Eurich found that only 10%-15% of the respondents are actually self-aware.
Why is it so hard for leaders (and anyone else for that matter) to be self-aware?
Because breaking old habits and developing new ones is very challenging.
Mindfulness is looking in the mirror and having an objective, third-person awareness of our own minds and bodies.
By definition, mindfulness training is self-awareness training, it is a systematic way of improving self-awareness.
The latest research in the field of neuroscience shows that mindfulness changes the function of the brain and its physical structure in ways that help us to be more self-aware.
We don’t need anything outside of ourselves to be happy.
Matt Tenney, Mindfulness speaker and author
Mindfulness is a trainable skill
Mindfulness is a trainable skill. You can train your mind to be happy regardless of what happens to you. It’s about giving up your own short-term self-interest so that you can help other people.
Leadership is about creating a safety zone for your employees to thrive and develop so your organization can thrive and develop.
But how can you create safety for your people if you are not able to bring safety to your mind?
How mindfulness can help you become a better leader – 4 benefits
Here are four important benefits of developing high levels of mindfulness as leaders:
1. Improving your executive decisions
As a leader, you may be prompted to make important decisions every day, decisions which affect your employees’ lives, their productivity and results.
No leader intends to make poor decisions. As a matter of fact, experts found that leaders don’t make bad decisions because they lack knowledge. They make bad decisions because of cognitive bias.
Cognitive bias means a way of thinking which causes a rational person to make an irrational or bad decision.
Mindfulness allows you to become aware of your thoughts and take an objective approach: you can take your thoughts into account if they are productive or let go of them if they are negative or toxic. This helps you make better decisions.
2. Making the other person feel like a million bucks
Have you ever talked to a person who was not paying attention to you, looking around the room or staring at you with a blank look upon their face? Or worse, taking their smartphone and browsing on the internet.
It’s not only rude, but it’s also hurtful. It makes you feel like you don’t matter to that person and he/she doesn’t care about you.
Have you experienced the other way around? Have you ever talked to a leader who gave you their full attention, listened to you intently, asking clarifying questions?
It makes you feel like you matter and you are worthy. It’s uplifting and inspiring. You feel like you could follow that person to the end of the world and help him achieve his dream. It’s very powerful and it is what leadership should feel like.
Such a level of attention and commitment can only be achieved through mindfulness. It means being present at the moment in a non-judgemental way.
Improving your empathy is important if you are a leader.
It means being open and hearing what your employees need to thrive and how you can help them get it. This way you are setting the required environment for your employees to be productive and bring in positive results. It’s what makes for good leadership.
4. Personal growth
Are you having toxic thoughts?
Is your mind constantly driving you towards your past?
Do you feel compelled to pursue perfection?
If your answer is Yes then you have just taken the first step on the path to mindfulness. Being aware of your thoughts, negative or positive means you have acquired objectivity, therefore, you are now in a position to address your thoughts and change your frame of mind.
It’s about taking control of your mind and not allowing your thoughts to distract you.
What comes next is personal growth and development.
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