The connection between mindful leadership and employee wellbeing

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One night while we were cleaning up after dinner, a very close friend of mine was telling me about the good day she had at work. I like wrapping up my day on a positive note, so I was all ears.

“So we hired this new guy at work” I nodded, and she continued, “He had a call with me just before wrapping up for the day and thanked me for being understanding. He told me that this was the first time work hasn’t felt like a burden. Apparently, he has to be very hands-on with his family because his wife is a cancer survivor and he has two young kids.”

Turns out, my friend’s recently-hired team member had a few rough days at work and had missed a very important deadline. She picked up on his behaviour and lack of productivity and realised that he was struggling with something personal because he was otherwise very good at what he did.

Since he was somewhat new, she wanted to give him a boost of motivation and had a chat with him about focussing on his strengths instead of worrying endlessly about temporary setbacks. She said in less than two days, things slowly picked up again and he seemed happy to be at work and much more relaxed.

The workplace is filled with triggers that can easily evoke stress and anxiety. It could be the type of work you do or even the type of people you work with. As I often tell the clients I work with, that’s where the importance of a mindful leader comes in; boosting employee wellbeing and happiness in an otherwise very stressful world.

Without an empathetic and compassionate leader, who is mindful about how they communicate and the effect they have on employee wellbeing, work can easily become a place you dread going in to.


The mirror effect of mindful leadership and employee wellbeing

Ever heard of the mirror effect?

In terms of human behaviour, it’s when you mirror the behaviour of the person you are conversing with. I have often heard this being discussed as an effective strategy to get someone to feel at ease with you or to like you. The same is true for leadership.

If a leader is perpetually stressed, it can affect how decisions are made and take a toll on employee wellbeing. To minimise the effects of this dynamic, you must practise mindfulness in your organisation, especially if you’re the leader or manager of a team.

A mindful leader is capable of making better, more considerate decisions, which result in increased workplace productivity, meaningful communication, and reduced stress among employees. A mindful leader is also one who has heightened emotional intelligence. So, instead of letting your emotions get the best of you, you control them and improve your decision-making.

There’s plenty of evidence demonstrating that improving employee wellbeing can be more easily achieved through a more mindful approach to leadership.


Mindful leadership can also prevent emotional exhaustion

Did you know that emotionally exhausted employees are less committed to their organisation, perform poorly, engage in less helpful behaviours, and are more likely to quit?

A mindful leader can reduce the effects of emotional exhaustion among employees by providing the following elements at work:

  • Clarity: As a leader, you must never leave your employees wondering about what they are supposed to do. A leader must set clear and well-defined expectations for their employees.
  • Predictability: When changes occur in the organisation, you must communicate these clearly and promptly to your employees. Otherwise, they may feel powerless and overwhelmed. As a mindful leader, you will understand the need for clear communication and the importance of positive reinforcement.
  • Meaning and purpose: People spend a lot of their time at work. So, if all the effort employees put into their work has no greater purpose other than their paycheck, they might become less engaged and productive. A mindful leader will shed light on the purpose of organisational goals and garner greater motivation and support from the workforce.


Foster mindful leadership for improved employee wellbeing

Mindful leadership can’t be perfected overnight. It’s important, therefore, that you give yourself the time to practise it at work and at home. Learn from your mistakes and focus on how you can improve as a leader if you want to improve employee wellbeing.

As a resource that fosters mindful leadership, Awakened Mind can help you on your journey in cultivating mindfulness. With the help of our structured and guided mindfulness app, we help leaders nurture mindfulness to improve employee wellbeing and their own.