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When I conduct mindfulness training for leaders, there’s an exercise I ask everyone to do.
I ask them to take a moment and think about a time when they felt they were at their best, as a leader. Then, I ask them to share what state they were in during these moments and the answers tend to be universal.
I always ask them to detail how they felt physically, mentally, and emotionally. What I tend to hear is that:
Most leaders agree that this state is what they yearn for the most.
This state of being, however, is not just vital to great leadership but every other area of our lives. This is why I believe that mindfulness in leadership is for everyone and that achieving this state physically, mentally, and emotionally is the basis of most of our goals and ambitions.
Here’s why mindfulness in leadership is for everyone and how it can help you make better decisions.
Mindful leadership trains us to be less absentminded
Absentmindedness is a cognitive bias that takes hold when you lack focus and attention, which can lead to everyday mistakes. If you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing, it’s impossible to derive any meaning or value to your life and the work you do.
I always compare this to cleaning a room without a light; you may be putting in the work but you’re not going to achieve anything. This is exactly what it’s like to be absentminded.
Leave alone physical activity or tasks; making meaningful decisions, which is an important part of being a leader, is next to impossible if you’re not paying attention and focussing only on what matters.
The first step to mindfulness in leadership is to foster attention or awareness and to control your tendency to get lost in your thoughts. Mindfulness teaches you to overcome the effects of absentmindedness by cultivating your capacity to be present in every moment of the day, regardless of what you’re doing.
We leave behind maladaptive conditioning to make better decisions
We are creatures of habit, and one thing many of us do, like a prayer, is ruminate about the past or worry about the future. This habit is not only damaging to our health and wellbeing, but it also affects our cognitive behaviours like decision-making.
We allow beliefs, opinions, likes, and dislikes to pop up by default. In any situation, this type of thinking isn’t centred on the here and now. By cultivating mindfulness in leadership, you’re able to respond, and not react, to situations.
Once you learn to reject this conditioning or default thought patterns through self-awareness and being present, you’re able to retrain your brain. With a mindset that is trained not to react and jump to quick decisions, you’re able to make more informed choices.
Cultivate mindfulness in leadership for better decision-making skills
When you cultivate mindfulness in leadership, you are equipped with the necessary skills to lead the people under your care or even lead an authentic and empowered life. It teaches you how to be less absentminded, learn to be in the here and now, and make better decisions.
Most importantly, when you foster mindfulness in leadership, you are more aware of your thoughts, your words, and your actions, which helps you dream with ambition and lead with conviction, as US Vice-President-Elect, Kamala Harris, aptly said :)
Get in touch with my team at Awakened Mind and discover how you can integrate mindfulness into your workplace. Explore our mindfulness app and find out how to help your employees leverage mindfulness in their decision-making.