Writer: Genevieve Heng
Many leaders aspire to leave the world a better place. I am so grateful that you do, given the many challenges we face as a human race on this planet. That is why I am incredibly passionate about how mindfulness practice can support leaders in their work and lives.
Here are a few specific ways that mindfulness can benefit you as a leader:
1. The Ripple Effects of Mental Clarity and Emotional Balance
Leaders live fast-paced, demanding lives that test their well-being and balance. Our always-on culture and the increasing speed and complexity in our world will only continue to increase. It is imperative for leaders to first take care of themselves, investing in their mental and emotional well-being to meet the demands of their work and personal lives.
Leaders can then have a significant impact on the well-being and performance of their teams through something known as ‘emotional contagion’ - this means that a leader who can stay calm and balanced will have knock-on benefits on their teams!
2. Mindful Relationship and Speech
As mindfulness grows, we learn to also be more present with others. Mindful leaders listen more deeply, attune to what others may be feeling, and develop more skillful ways of communicating. As technology and the evolving workplace continue to create more complex work environments, these interpersonal skills will only become more essential.
3. Leading with Perspective
At its core, mindfulness practice leads us back again and again to wisdom, kindness and the greater good. For mindful leaders, the practice helps us stay steady as we remember why we do what we do and what really matters!
4. Adapting and Growing with Uncertainty
If there’s one thing we all know for sure, it’s that this world isn’t slowing down anytime soon! Artificial intelligence, the climate, geopolitics and many other uncertainties abound - all of which present uncertainty… and opportunity! Mindfulness helps us stay present as things unfold, with the ‘don’t know mind’ that refrains from quick answers or assumptions, open to learning from how things are, even when they might be uncomfortable.
5. Both... And...
This is a big one. Leaders face many conflicting priorities and apparent dualities.
How do I take care of myself and other?
How do I get unstuck from the urgent short term activities and find the time and space for the strategic long term?
How do I navigate between work demands and personal/family life/my health?
What happens when company direction/values start to drift from mine, or vice versa?
In mindfulness, we learn to hold dualities with awareness and curiosity, neither pushing one or the other away so that we can clearly see a way to skillful choices and actions.
The fact remains that the modern workplace might be one of the most challenging environments to be mindful! Even for those who have been practising mindfulness for some time, we might wonder how we take this ‘off the cushion’ and into the meeting rooms! If this is you, then do consider this program based on mindfulness in dialogue and relational mindfulness.
To paraphrase beloved teacher Jack Kornfield - I don’t know of any modern technology that can save us without the guiding technology of our human hearts. I believe this includes the heart of our self-awareness and connection with others. Together, leaders and all, may we find our way to greater well-being and good of all!