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What is Mindful Leadership?

To engage in mindful leadership. What does this mean and how is this possible? Often it is difficult to lead with integrity. There can be so many distractions and disturbances. We always have “things in the way”.

Think of a normal day in the office. As soon as you sit down (maybe even before that), you are bombarded by all the distractions and tasks that need to be done.

You constantly have emails to respond to, meetings to attend, things to approve, team members to coach, guide and support. Honestly, it can feel endless.

But if we slow down and focus, it allows us to make more thoughtful decisions. It allows us to engage with our team, to empower them, inspire them and motivate them to excel in their career.

This is known as mindful leadership. Let’s go through what it means to be a mindful leader and how you can implement mindful leadership into your day to day. It is time to grow and develop the type of leader you are!

What is the definition of mindful leadership?  

To be mindful in general means to be present in your life and your experiences.

It is about experiencing things just as they are. Not as you hoped them to be, not as you expect them to be.

You engage in life without judgement. It is about honouring what is here, in the now, as it happens. Meeting these moments with equanimity.

When you embody leadership with presence it can open you up to cultivating more focus, clarity, compassion and creativity when you guide others.

Being present as a leader is a core quality that requires no judgement and complete attention to the present moment. It is about the big connection to your emotional intelligence. Mindfulness is a tool to increase your self-awareness both internally and externally.

What are the benefits of being a mindful leader?

The benefits of mindful leadership

There are a lot of core benefits from being a mindful leader, but let’s dive into the top 7 benefits:

  1. Increase focus: through cancelling the noise and focussing on what is in the present moment.
  2. Better listening: by being more mindful you are able to become a better listener and improve your ability to tune into the person you’re interacting with. It helps you increase your empathy.
  3. Better Self-Awareness: Internal Self-Awareness awareness of my emotions and how they impact my thoughts and behaviours. External Self-Awareness: What is my impact on others? How do my words and behaviours impact the people around me?
  4. Self regulation: the ability to manage your emotions and the impact they have on your thoughts and behaviours. It allows you to stay calm in stressful situations.
  5. Better Connection: you can build on relationships when you are more mindful and attentive to those around you.
  6. Resilience: When you have strategies that help you to be calm, it helps you to ground yourself in challenging situations. Being mindful also helps you reflect on what has happened and the options you can take.
  7. Better performance: With all the benefits listed above, you will be able to drive better performance for yourself and your team. You will be able to focus on the key steps instead of getting overwhelmed by the noise.

There are many benefits to being a mindful leader, but how do you embody the traits?

The 3 tips to become a more mindful leader 

How can you practise mindful leadership? There are many guides and tips to help you be a more mindful leader. But let’s go through the core 3 tips that will guide and support your journey to mindful leadership.

  1. Practice mindfulness and mindful activities 

Give yourself time to be still. Moments to check in with your mind and body. The act of mindfulness begins when you can tend to your own feelings, needs, actions and thoughts. You can develop a personal mindfulness practice (one that works for you), which enhances your ability to be present. These practices also help you to be non-judgmental and curious to your inner landscape (which expands to your outer). You can discover your own mindfulness practice including meditation, journaling, reflection and intentional movement.

  1. Practice deep and active listening

Listening without distractions is a great way to learn to be more mindful. When you are talking with someone in your team, put your phone on silent, close your laptop and avoid all distractions. Make sure you are really focussed on what the person is saying. When you are listening to someone, listen without the need to respond. Quieten down your mind and just listen. Notice when your own internal voice is impacting your ability to listen.

  1. Focus on your values and the vision 

Lastly, being a mindful leader requires you to connect to the values and vision. What is the purpose of the work you do? What do you truly believe in? What is the role of your team or organisation when it comes to wellbeing? Make sure you clarify your values and vision. It will help with your decision making and focus.

Final thoughts 

A mindful leader may not always be the loudest voice but they are the one paying the closest attention.

Mindful leaders keep their inner commentary and reactions at bay. They become present and study what’s going on in the room.

These leaders don’t get caught in pettiness or politics. They rise above and see the bigger picture, noticing solutions that others simply can’t perceive. They speak up in moments that matter and, when they do, their voice is respected.

The mindful leader experiences stressful times in a more peaceful, healthy way.

A mindful leader realises they can actively foster inner peace and well-being as they walk through challenges and focus on business results.  Because of the self-mastery they have nurtured, mindful leaders know how to navigate difficulties in a more calm and responsive way.

By practising a few minutes being mindful each day, you could become better equipped to navigate your professional responsibilities and relationships with greater well-being. That can also create a ripple effect that inspires your direct reports to create better results.

Mindfulness allows you to build your emotional intelligence further as it strengthens self awareness, self regulation and empathy. But download this freebie to learn more about how you can invest into your emotional intelligence competencies .

Are you ready to be a more mindful leader?