Research Backed Approaches to Leadership and Team Dynamics with Dr. Will Ramey, The Leadership Dr.
Research supports that practicing mindfulness as a leader has unique benefits including higher focus, staying present in the moment, and increased emotional intelligence. We cover all this and how to practice mindfulness by breathing, body scanning, actively listening, and taking breaks. Let’s dive in!
What is Mindfulness?
The research and conversation around well-being and mindfulness in the workplace has definitely increased the past few years. At first, I was skeptical. I don’t have time to sit and breathe, let me power through. How is this really going to help me be a better leader? I hit a breaking point in my career. I wasn’t showing up as my best. My flash to bang on becoming irritated at work was pretty short. I knew I needed to make a change. I gave mindfulness a shot. It was eye-opening. Something so simple is so very effective.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way. It has gained a lot of attention in recent years for its potential to improve mental health and overall well-being. But mindfulness can also be a powerful tool for leaders.
Whether you’re looking to improve your self-awareness, handle stress more effectively, build stronger relationships, or set a positive example for your team, mindfulness is worth considering as a leadership tool.
Connection to Leadership
The connection between mindfulness and leadership has been researched and written about by various experts in the fields of psychology and business. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that mindfulness can have a positive impact on leadership skills, such as self-awareness, decision-making, communication, and conflict resolution.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Business Ethics found that mindfulness training can improve leaders’ ability to manage stress and make more ethical decisions. Another study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that mindfulness can improve leaders’ emotional intelligence, which is a key factor in effective leadership.
Benefits for Leaders
By taking a few minutes each day to focus on the present moment, leaders can gain a better understanding of their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This self-awareness can help leaders make better decisions and communicate more effectively with their team.
Mindfulness can also help leaders handle stress and difficult situations more effectively. When faced with a challenging situation, it’s easy to get caught up in our own thoughts and become reactive. But mindfulness encourages us to take a step back, take a deep breath, and approach the situation with a clear and level head. This can help leaders make better decisions and find creative solutions to problems.
Benefits for your Team
In addition, mindfulness can help leaders build stronger relationships with their team. When we’re present and attentive in the moment, we’re able to really listen to others and show genuine interest in what they have to say. This can help build trust and create a positive work environment.
Finally, mindfulness can help leaders model good behavior for their team. When leaders practice mindfulness, they’re setting an example for their team to follow. This can create a culture of mindfulness in the workplace, which can have a ripple effect on the overall well-being and productivity of the team.
Practicing Mindfulness at Work
Leaders are inundated with distractions throughout the day: the ping of an incoming email or message, the knock on the door of a team member, the ring of the phone with a call, etc. All of these stimuli contribute to lack of focus and can take you away from the present moment. Here are five ways to practice mindfulness at work. They have worked wonders for me!
- Focus on your breath – Schedule time in your day to run through a short breathing practice. You can do a simple box breathing (in for 4sec, hold for 4sec, out for 4sec, hold for 4sec). Do six to eight rounds of this. Start by simply focusing on your breath. Take in the positive and exhale the negative.
- Body Scan – At the start and middle of your day take a few short moments to pay attention to how your body is feeling. Start at the top of your head, working your way down your neck, shoulders, back, and legs. Notice where you are holding tension and let it go.
- Actively Listen – When you have that phone call or are speaking with your team members or colleagues be fully present. Eliminate distractions and fully engage in the conversation. Listen to what is being said, how it’s being said, and why it’s being said. Being fully present will show that you are truly connected to your team.
- Take your Breaks – Get up, get away from the desk, and move! Whenever possible get outside. Immerse yourself in something else. Be aware of your environment. Pay attention to the thoughts coming to mind but, make sure you step away for a few minutes so you can come back sharp and ready.
- Practice Gratitude – When you closeout your workday find a win, thank a team member for something that went well, jot down what you accomplished today. Taking steps to deliberately seek out the positive from your day will allow you to be in the moment
Being Mindful as a Leader
In the fast paced highly competitive world of work it is easy to get stuck in the chaos. Practicing mindfulness does not take long to do, but leaders have to remember to do it. If you make time to practice mindfulness you will show up focused and present carrying less stress for your team. Isn’t that what you want to best serve your team? I can’t wait to hear your positive results about how communication, collaboration, creativity and overall well-being have improved!
If you are interested in taking a deep dive into proven practices, such as mindfulness, to help you overcome stress and reframe your mindset to lead at your best, pick up a copy of Hardwired for Happiness by Ashish Kothari.
Tap the Photo or link below to grab a copy of Ashish’s Hardwired for Happiness book!
Hardwired for Happiness: 9 Proven Practices to Overcome Stress and Live Your Best Life: Ashish Kothari
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