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Mindful Leadership – How this creates resilient Leaders

By February 10, 2020October 3rd, 2023No Comments

Leaders who don’t have the skills to manage change and stress, often make bad decisions, mistakes and struggle to lead their team.

All of this leading to bad results and unwanted turnover.

Mindful Leadership Programs provide Leaders with the skills to develop residence and perform even during times of stress.

The Benefits of Mindful Leadership

You may have heard about this “thing” called Mindfulness, and how it is helping individuals with anxiety and depression.

We now have evidence that Mindfulness@Work is proving to help Leaders and their teams perform even during times of stress. This is because Mindfulness cultivates focus, reduces stress and anxiety, and builds the essential capacity of resilience.

What is it?

Mindfulness helps Leaders change a negative mindset towards something more positive, which is having a knock on effect to their team.  I have seen this first hand, personally, with my clients, and my own research. In 2015 and 2018 I proved (i.e, had a statistical difference) that implementing Mindfulness increased teamwork and wellbeing (see my free tips below). This works!

Organisations have figured this out, and those who have incorporated Mindfulness have seen a decrease in stress, absenteeism, turnover which some are now indicating less reliance on EAP programs.

Mindfulness is actually very easy to implement.

Here are 3 Effective Mindful Leadership Strategies

1. Take a moment before a big meeting

How many meetings have you been to where some random topic starts the flow, or you or others come into the meeting with “baggage” from whatever happened before the meeting or are worried about what happens after the meeting? And how about those people who are constantly checking their phones or laptops during the meeting?  Do you really believe this is a good use of yours and your people’s time?

Most of my clients complain about how many meetings they have, and how unproductive they are.

Let’s change this for you, with a very simple strategy.  Before you start the meeting, invite everyone to take 1 minute to do whatever they need to, to be present for the meeting. That could be to take 3 slow deep breathes, stand up and do some stretches, or send that final email.  I also like to get everyone to take another 30 seconds to close their eyes and take 3 slow deep breathes, telling themselves that what’s in the past is past, and what’s in the future is the future. Right now, I am here, in this meeting.

This 90 seconds refocuses their brain and mind and in most cases bring some calm to the room. Notice the difference!

2. Practice mindfulness on the go

I encourage all leaders to build a daily formal mindfulness practice of some kind for 10-20 minutes. While I have noticed that the most effective leaders also practice some kind of informal mindfulness practice throughout the day. Examples I have heard are, counting the number of red cars while in an Uber to the airport, focusing on the sounds while waiting in a cafe or restaurant, noticing how your feet feel when walking from your desk to the boardroom.

You may like to download one of the many free Mindfulness apps available. Calm, Smiling Mind, and Simple Habit are my favourites.

These seemingly insignificant moments not only distract your mind from overload but also help refocus your thoughts enabling you to be more prepared for whatever is next.

3. Time out  

Many of the leaders I work with struggle with this the most. If this is you, I get it.  You are busy fighting fires, attending meetings, and trying to reach the bottom of your inbox that you run out of time for your “green frog” (the thing you don’t want to do but need to) or simply your highest priority work. The only way to stop this cycle is to set aside offline time each day for full engagement. Even just 15 minutes can make a difference, while I have seen huge change when Leaders block off several hours once a month to regroup their thoughts and plans.

The benefits of blocking this time do end up outweighing those perceived consequences. Most people comment on how much more they get done in these set times, and that the world didn’t come to an end just because they put their phone on flight mode, closed the door, locked themselves away in a meeting room or went to a cafe to do some strategic planning for an hour. Remember, your staff will often do as you do, and not as you say.  If you don’t take time out to focus on what is important, they probably won’t either!

This practice does, however, come with one significant challenge. Most leaders will need to guard this sacred time from the deluge of incoming meeting requests and emails, staff needs, events, and other distractions. Everyone (colleagues, family, friends) will continue to try and get your attention, even if you have decided to start blocking time out. If you can protect it, you may notice that you are able to be more fully present with everyone in your life, because you won’t be distracted with what you haven’t done.

By using these three mindfulness strategies, you will not only improve your ability to impact the world. You will also model something essential and important not just to your colleagues, but your work and home community, that demonstrates the importance of wellbeing that leads to growing a wildly successful organisation.

If you like to know more about Mindful Leadership, click on link below. I hope this was of value

Margie Ireland

Passionate about People and their Work 

If you have Leaders who are stressed

My Mindfulness Programs @ Work create resilient Leaders.

If you like to understand how these work, or what is involved, including access to my free guide set up a zoom or phone chat on the link below.  

Margie Ireland is the author of The Happy Healthy Leader – how to achieve your potential even during a crisis. Margie is a registered Psychologist, Leadership Coach and Workshop Facilitator, highly sought after to help Leaders and their teams navigate stress and change with healthier coping strategies, leading to happier, healthier and high-performing teams. For more information visit www.margieireland.com

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