Mindfulness matters: 5 steps to becoming a more mindful leader
Mindfulness can be one of the most helpful introspective elements, able to take a great employee to the next level: leadership. For established leaders, it can elevate their performance from good to great. But what exactly is mindfulness? It is the practice of focusing energy inward on one’s thoughts and behaviors. Paired alongside emotional intelligence, mindfulness is a powerful tool used to adjust one’s behaviors for the good of the situation — emotional reaction removed. While everyone’s journey to leadership is different, these 5 steps can help you make one step closer to being a more mindful leader.
Step 1: Practice quiet
Whether you’re participating in meditation, solo yoga, jogging, or prayer, practicing the art of quiet is the essential first step to clearing your mind and being more mindful. We live in an overstimulated world where our minds are moving at an unprecedented speed, and as a result, our thoughts can become easily cluttered. Practicing an open mind, in the quiet, allows you to be present with your thoughts in preparation for the next step to mindfulness.
After dedicating time to practicing quiet, you should begin to practice the ability to focus on your true inner-thoughts, judgment free. Aside from the distractions of technology, human’s need to be able to think clearly in order to achieve success in their professional (and personal) lives. Focusing solely on your thoughts and carefully analyzing them without projecting judgment allows you to make calculated decisions regarding complex topics.
This may well be the most difficult step in the process to becoming more of a mindful leader. Being one with one’s thoughts can bring about a vulnerability that is fierce, but it’s essential to really understanding how to adjust your behaviors and actions for the benefit of all. Using your innermost thoughts (as heard from the last step) begin to make small adjustments to your actions. Self-reflect on this process making changes little by little, situation by situation. At this point you are likely becoming a more mindful leader by the day.
Step 4: Think with your head and heart
Now that you’ve opened your eyes to a myriad of intentional thoughts, it’s time to act on said thoughts with both your head and your heart. As Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “The longest journey you will ever take is the eighteen inches from your head to your heart.” Through mindfulness, leaders are able to express emotional responses like courage, compassion, and passion in a calculated way — one of the most coveted assets of a great leader.
Step 5: Reflect
By now in the process you have dedicated days, weeks, maybe even months to the steps of mindful leadership. It’s time to reflect on your small adjustments and review your overall outlook on how far you’ve come. How far do you think you can go? What other intentional thoughts do imagine could propel your success even further?
Regardless of your status on the rungs of the proverbial leadership ladder, mindfulness can bring about a wealth of untapped potential you never knew possible. Take time for quiet, get in touch with your thoughts, and be ready to soar to the sky from there!