Mindful leadership – How to lead better.

Our world of work is increasingly being characterised by speed, networking and a pressure to perform. Fast-paced digitalisation is turning the workplace into a complex place of learning for many leaders and teams, which serves as motivation for them to learn and grow. Those who are able to keep a weather eye on what is important and continue to act judiciously despite challenging conditions have a distinct advantage, and this is where mindful leadership comes in.

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Despite all the economic hardships and worries that have characterised the coronavirus pandemic, the crisis has also done us some good—less commuting into the office, the flexibility to work from home, the ability to reach out to those most important to us. It’s forced us to take a good look at ourselves, our goals and values and, in many cases, has revitalised us.

To reap the full benefits of this slowdown, leaders should practise mindful leadership. Rooted in Buddhism, the concept mindfulness has recently gained traction in the western world. Anyone would think that simply sitting down and doing some breathing exercises is the cure for all ills. And while, of course, it’s not that easy the impact of mindfulness should not be underestimated.

STEP 1 – SELF-REFLECTION.

Those who act mindfully are able to focus on what is important in the here and now remaining completely unbiased, thinking, feeling and acting in a focused and efficient manner. Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and developer of the popular programme “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)”, has identified seven attitudes of mindfulness—non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go.

Self-reflection can be the first step towards putting mindfulness into practice with leaders asking themselves questions like how do I react under pressure? What happens when I feel stressed by interpersonal conflicts, time pressure or complex issues? Are my actions driven by my emotions? If yes, which emotions? Can I distance myself from the current situation and make well-thought-out decisions? How do I manage to keep my head in critical situations and act sensibly?

STIMULI AND RESPONSES.

One important exercise is to observe and question the way we respond to stimuli as most of us act on autopilot, sub-consciously reacting in exactly the same way to certain situations. But there is always a moment we can change the way we respond. and this is the opportunity for leaders to to be the role models they really want to be. Nobody wants a leader who reacts without proper consideration during conflict situations or loudly vents their anger because they are under time pressure. On the contrary, a leader who takes a level-headed approach to dealing with problems and are empathetic towards their employees can be an inspiration.

 

The seven attitudes of mindfulness.

  • Non-judging.
  • Patience.
  • Beginner’s mind.
  • Trust.
  • Non-striving.
  • Acceptance.
  • Letting go.

 

 

Despite all the economic hardships and worries that have characterised the coronavirus pandemic, the crisis has also done us some good—less commuting into the office, the flexibility to work from home, the ability to reach out to those most important to us. It’s forced us to take a good look at ourselves, our goals and values and, in many cases, has revitalised us.

To reap the full benefits of this slowdown, leaders should practise mindful leadership. Rooted in Buddhism, the concept mindfulness has recently gained traction in the western world. Anyone would think that simply sitting down and doing some breathing exercises is the cure for all ills. And while, of course, it’s not that easy the impact of mindfulness should not be underestimated.

STEP 1 – SELF-REFLECTION.

Those who act mindfully are able to focus on what is important in the here and now remaining completely unbiased, thinking, feeling and acting in a focused and efficient manner. Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and developer of the popular programme “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)”, has identified seven attitudes of mindfulness—non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go.

Self-reflection can be the first step towards putting mindfulness into practice with leaders asking themselves questions like how do I react under pressure? What happens when I feel stressed by interpersonal conflicts, time pressure or complex issues? Are my actions driven by my emotions? If yes, which emotions? Can I distance myself from the current situation and make well-thought-out decisions? How do I manage to keep my head in critical situations and act sensibly?

STIMULI AND RESPONSES.

One important exercise is to observe and question the way we respond to stimuli as most of us act on autopilot, sub-consciously reacting in exactly the same way to certain situations. But there is always a moment we can change the way we respond. and this is the opportunity for leaders to to be the role models they really want to be. Nobody wants a leader who reacts without proper consideration during conflict situations or loudly vents their anger because they are under time pressure. On the contrary, a leader who takes a level-headed approach to dealing with problems and are empathetic towards their employees can be an inspiration.

MINDFUL LEADERSHIP TRAINING AT BECHTLE.

It’s sounds great in theory, but what about in practice? The Bechtle Academy is now offering a two-day mindful leadership course for employees with and without the responsibilities of leadership. Leveraging current studies on health, stress and performance, the participants will discuss their strengths, patterns of behaviour that hold them back, and learn self-coaching methods for their everyday business lives. They’ll also learn about how to deal with stress and burnout. The aim of the course is to able participants to deal mindfully with themselves and their own feelings in order to remain mentally sharp, productive and committed in the long-term Peter Creutzfeldt, coach and trainer, with whom Bechtle is working summarises. “When leaders are successfully able to leverage mindfulness in their everyday working lives, they increase their emotional intelligence, becoming more aware of relationship dynamics, developing resilience and being better able to understand the perspectives and needs of others. This makes them better leaders of teams and more skilful negotiators.” But that’s not all. “They can also better leverage the strengths of their team members and act more flexibly and effectively,” says Peter Creutzfeldt. Bechtle employees can find out more about the possibilities and limitations of mindfulness in business during a Leadership Talk with Peter Creutzfeldt.

Mindfulness is, then, not about sitting and breathing slowly, but more about observation, awareness and the willingness to reflect on how we act.

Contact person.

Antonia Döbler

Leadership Development, Bechtle AG.

antonia-sophie.doebler@bechtle.com

 

Simone Sommerbrodt

Leadership Development, Bechtle AG.

simone.sommerbrodt@bechtle.com

Links.

  • Blog: 5 questions for Antonia Döbler, Leadership Development.
  • Blog: Digital transformation is the responsibility of managers – What makes a digital leader?
  • Article: Leading from afar – How to manage.

 

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Published on Jun 30, 2021.