Over the past few years I have applied the technique of mindfulness - both personally and professionally - with very positive results. During this time, more and more of my clients - in both business and education - have shown an interest in how mindfulness can make managing their teams a more effective and enjoyable experience.
So what constitutes mindfulness in the workplace? To be mindful requires complete non-judgmental attention in the present moment, not thinking about the past, the future or getting distracted by unimportant issues. This sharp focussing leads to more clarity of understanding and paves the way for compassion and creativity. A mindful manager will soon get better results from the team.
The starting point is to adopt mindful practices yourself, with the aim of de-cluttering your mind to enable clarity of observation. It could be writing a journal, solo exercising - e.g. running, or meditation (check out Calm) - whatever works best for you - but they should become a regular and integral part of your routine.
Then consider these five mindful manager habits to roll out in your office and with your team:
- Connect with others: walk around, listen (not only to the words but also the tone) and talk with your team about things other than work. It will help you understand how they feel and whether they could do with extra attention, support and praise.
- Move about in the office: get up and stretch. Staying in one position isn’t good, either for your body or your brain.
- Simply breathe: take time out to breathe deeply, which is especially important if you find negative emotions rising. It will keep your brain well oxygenated and healthy, which will help you recognise your feelings and the reasons behind them which, in turn will allow you to manage your emotions appropriately and without influencing others negatively.
- Don’t live in the office: take a break at lunchtime and go home at a reasonable hour, thereby encouraging your team to do likewise. Make time to attend to other important areas of life.
- Turn off the tech: think about when you send your emails (very late or very early?). Don’t stress your team by being in touch 24 hours a day. Draft when you want but send during working hours.
A mindful manager sets the example for a mindful team.