In an ultra-competitive corporate environment, effective business leadership is crucial if organisations wish to achieve long-term growth and financial success.
In spite of the abundance of resources on leadership and leadership-building, not every strategy or tip is appropriate for certain personalities or work environments. In fact, it can be hard to find resources that can be easily implemented or those that don’t require a significant investment.
One recent trend in the leadership development niche, which has the potential to improve business leadership without involving personal turmoil or a complete change of personality, is mindfulness. This is the art of acknowledging and experiencing your internal and external environment purposefully and non-judgmentally.
This post explores how mindfulness improves business leadership.
Mindfulness helps you get out of your head and enter the real world
One of the biggest obstacles in front of more meaningful engagement at work, effective decision-making, and better stress management is absentmindedness.
In the context of mindfulness, absentmindedness refers to a lack of engagement with your reality due to the all-consuming thoughts, worries, and fantasies playing out in your head.
While the presumption is that leaders are too busy to exist inside their heads, it’s quite common for many to be stuck in a loop of worst-case scenarios, which renders them incapable of dealing with what’s in front of them with complete authenticity and confidence.
By being mindfully present in each situation and by practising mindful communication, which is where you engage with your teams, actively listen to what they’re saying and interact with them without judgment or bias, you’re able to play to your strengths in every situation and receive the support you need in areas where you lack the requisite skill or knowledge.
Stay on top of your stress management
Employees pick up on plenty of cues from their leaders. It’s for this reason that effective stress management is crucial for business leadership – if your teams see you struggle to control your stress, they are more likely to feel it themselves and doubt your ability to lead your company effectively.
More importantly, work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly. It’s easily arguable that those involved in business leadership are among the most stressed – after all the balance of your company’s fate rests on your hands.
When imbued with practices like meditation and deep breathing, mindfulness helps you control the physical sensations of stress – a racing heart, dizziness, and shallow breathing – while stopping any catastrophizing you may be engaging in.
More importantly, mindfulness reduces your resistance to unpleasant situations and your reactions to them. It gradually helps you accept what’s happening in front of you non-judgmentally.
This means you’re able to accept the events unfolding in front of you and help you deal with things calmly and with a level head.
You’re able to practise mindful communication – a prerequisite for business leadership
As discussed above, mindful communication is where you actively listen – instead of hearing – what your employees are saying, without judgment or any preconceived notions, and respond to them based on what they’re saying – not what you think they’re saying – and without projecting your own worries or insecurities on them.
Mindful communication is important because it allows you to build authentic relationships with your teams and positions you as an empathetic and engaging leader.
In this day and age, playing according to leadership stereotypes carried forward from the era of Baby Boomers is likely to set you up for failure.
The present workforce, which is beginning to be dominated by Millennials and Generation Zs, are more interested in empathetic leaders who embrace values of transparency, fairness, and compassion – all of which can be cultivated with greater mindfulness in the workplace.
Embrace mindful practises and optimise business leadership today
Business leadership is no longer what it once was. An effective leader is not just someone who can generate profits and revenue for a company but one who maintains good relationships with their teams is actively engaged in the workplace and is a source of inspiration for employees.
Mindfulness may not seem like a practice that can guarantee these traits, but in reality, is one of the most-prized strategies for countless business luminaries.
To better understand the relationship between mindfulness and effective business leadership, explore Michael Bunting’s resources on this subject.