What Does It Take to be a Mindful Leader?
Mindfulness is the quality of being conscious of everything happening inside and around you — maintaining a present awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and environment. People assume it comes with age, but mindfulness can be built with practice and instilled into your mindset at any age. I consider it an invaluable trait, irrespective of where you are in your career trajectory. But mindfulness can work wonders if you’re an entrepreneur, manager, or team leader to translate your business targets into reality. Mindful leaders are not easily triggered by external events or swayed by emotion. They’re fully present in the moment and clearly process their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and opinions. As a leader, being mindful is a powerful asset that allows you to have a clear vision and set well-defined expectations from your team. This inspires your team to be more solution-oriented and aligned with the company’s goals. Let’s shed some light on mindful leadership and why you should consider putting it into practice.
What is Mindful Leadership?
Leaders today often tackle simultaneous challenges daily, and when you wear many hats, you’ll inevitably face overwhelm, stress, and burnout. That’s where mindfulness comes into play. Approaching chaos with a mindful mentality can be a liberating experience. A mindful leader’s presence, awareness, and empathy can help them inspire and motivate their teams in an entirely new way. So how can you develop the qualities of a mindful leader for yourself? Let’s dive into some actionable steps.
Characteristics Of a Mindful Leader
Mindful leaders exhibit some unique traits that set them apart from others. To establish a mindful leadership culture in your organization, here are three characteristics you must pursue:
Bonding with your employees is pivotal to achieving a common goal and inspiring action. Being mindful will allow you to be more present while interacting with your team and open the door to showing true compassion. People will take notice when you can fully direct your attention and focus on someone speaking to you instead of letting your mind wander to emails, your to-do list, or an upcoming presentation. Being present in conversation goes a long way, and you might be surprised at how much more easily you bond with your team when you’re mindful during your interactions.
Having a flexible mindset is essential to being a mindful leader. When you embrace contradicting opinions that challenge your beliefs, it creates a collaborative ground for everyone to contribute their ideas. Conducting civil discourse is an amazing way to foster the exchange of opinions to approach a common ground and can help you be more open to others’ views and perceptions.
Authentic leaders show up as their true selves and can participate fully and honestly with their teams. Making an effort to show up as your authentic self is about accepting that you are an imperfect human who is simply trying to do your best. In the hustle culture we live in today, this can be a refreshing change that creates the space for you and your team to do your best work.
Why is Mindful Leadership Essential for Success?
Mindful leadership is imperative for productive teamwork. When leaders are in tune with their teams and actively guide them to find effective solutions, the company grows exponentially. Here are a few reasons why mindful leadership is beneficial
- High level of emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence stands tall on the two pillars of empathy and self-awareness. Self-awareness helps you remain conscious of your feelings and respond to a challenging situation. Empathy lets you genuinely acknowledge your team’s efforts and encourages them to give their best shot.
- Improved decision-making: Emotions tend to cloud our decision-making abilities, but mindfulness is a great way to clear your head. Smart decision-making results in better business acumen. Using a solution-oriented approach drives your business to higher pedestals of success.
- Enhanced innovative thinking: Creative thinking is often overlooked in the workplace. As a mindful leader, you can create an innovative environment by encouraging people to think creatively. Being mindful also helps you accept failure and move past it without dwelling on it for long.
Civil Discourse And Mindful Leadership
Civil discourse in the workplace is pivotal for executing collaborative ideas and solving complicated issues. When employees get the green light to express their perspectives freely, it paves the way to productive discussions. Here are some ways you can use mindfulness to incorporate civil discourse in your team:
- Actively listen to each team member’s opinions.
- Ask questions to understand their stance before expressing disagreement.
- Disagree respectfully with counterpoints without demeaning anyone.
As a mindful leader, you must take the first step toward implementing these civil practices in your meetings. Lead by example and support your team members if they struggle to take a mindful approach.
As a purpose-driven founder, I strive to be mindful as often as I can. It teaches me to pay attention to the present moment, recognize emotions and keep them under control, especially when faced with highly stressful situations. I’m more aware of my presence and how I impact others, which goes a long way. When you can observe and participate in each moment while recognizing the implications of your actions for the longer term, it prevents you from slipping into a life that pulls you away from your purpose.