Mindfulness seems to be a hot topic right now, and not clearly understood, especially in the context of leadership and the workplace.
We hear elaborate explanations referring to Buddhist and similar doctrines which are helpful in the longer term in the personal development and spiritual space.
However, they need to mean something more direct and effective in relation to leadership and the workplace.
Mindfulness in leadership and the workplace means having the devotion, or habit, to ask and answer these simple self-directed questions, and ideally in this order:
- Right now, am I calm and centred, so that I can think and act effectively?
- Right now, am I behaving in accordance with our shared values?
- Right now, is what I’m saying and doing honouring my role and responsibilities?
- Right now, am I being sensibly empathetic towards others in their situation?
- Right now, am I making the best decisions for the situation I’m facing?
These questions can be answered at the speed of thought and very little time is wasted.
There is nothing magic or mystical about mindfulness in this context.
What we need to do is to remember to ask ourselves these questions upfront, before acting.
That comes only from deliberate practice.
The key practice is to become calm and centred first.
This can be achieved by following a practiced process such as:
- Brake: pause, stop!
- Blocked Breathing: in for 3, hold for 3, out for 3, hold for 3, in for 3, hold for 3…
- Balcony view, big picture: Will this matter in 10 minutes, 10 days, 10 years?
- Brain: Use it, think carefully, think rationally.
Experienced personnel in crisis management, hostile negotiations and the like, know that this is their priority.
A key insight that helps us understand the value of mindfulness in leadership and the workplace is accepting this idea:
“It is not the situation that bothers me, but my thoughts about the situation.”
When we alter our thoughts about the situation, by asking ourselves any of the five questions listed above, we will experience better possibilities and opportunities.
Are you willing to practice this?
What can you do to ensure that?
What do you think about those questions?