Mindfulness conjures images of calmness and meditation – which hardly seem compatible with an average day at work that typically involves a hectic schedule, emails, calls, distractions, and of course work itself. And with remote working, where drawing a line between work and life could seem impossible at times, this is even more so.
However, the principles of mindfulness could be applied to any situation, including at work. And if practicing mindfulness helps you reduce stress levels by even a fraction and engage with others more effectively, then it’s well worth trying.
Here are some ways to practice mindfulness throughout your day, that will in turn make you a better and calmer leader.
This is essentially what mindfulness is all about, to operate consciously rather than on autopilot. Grab any task on your to-do list and be consciously present and focused on it – your mind will inevitably wander to another thought or noise or job you have lined up, but rather than let it divert your action, acknowledge it and return your focus to the task at hand.
If we really think about it, multi-tasking doesn’t mean doing many things at once, but rather frantically switching between tasks, which – although it feels as though we’re accomplishing a lot – can be more distracting and counter-productive than beneficial. Hard as it is, maintain your focus on one task at a time and observe yourself doing so… be mindful of how focused you can be, even if only for a few minutes.
Whether in a business meeting or a casual chat with a team member – in person or online – leave any distractions at the door and commit yourself to being present in that moment. Having your mind on someone or something else will deplete the quality of your relationships with others. On the other hand, being present will help foster trust with others and inspiration in your leadership capabilities.
The human mind is wired in such a way that it dwells far more on the negative than the positive, which only perpetuates negative thoughts. Take the time to be grateful for the good things in your life and at work – whether it’s a new business deal you’ve secured, your hard-working team, or the fact that you are where you are in the first place.
Humility is a desired trait in leaders – it means they see their peers as equals rather than inferior to them. Dropping the ‘ego’ is a central part of practicing mindfulness, and there could be no better place to practice this than at work. Being humble doesn’t mean being weak – it shows humanity and an acceptance of others, faults and all.
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