5 Ways a Mindfulness Practice Makes you a More Effective Leader

By April 14, 2022Uncategorized

It used to be the case that mindfulness meditation was seen as an esoteric practice that few people in the western world took seriously. Though over the last decade, a mindfulness revolution has taken place. Meditation is now a mainstream practice with years of scientific research backing its efficacy in a wide range of domains.

With studies showing mindfulness can assist in improving cognition, focus, creativity as well as emotional and physiological regulation, developing a mindfulness practice is a must for anybody looking at reaching and maintaining peak performance. And indeed, everybody from artists to athletes are touting the benefits of mindfulness practice, but with the increasing pressures that are par for the course in modern leadership positions, mindfulness is especially important for leaders.

Why mindfulness is indispensable for an effective leader

While mindfulness is important for many reasons, it’s perhaps most useful because it gives us space.

Instead of being overwhelmed by our many obligations and allowing stress to dictate our actions, we are able to simply acknowledge our stress and choose to act effectively, instead of reactively.

For a leader who needs to manage often complex relationships and make difficult decisions on a daily basis, reactivity to stress can spell the difference between an effective, and ineffective leader.

Here are 5 ways that leveraging the power of mindfulness can help leaders make better decisions, and drive better results.

1. Be more in tune with your team

If we are overloaded or stressed, we are more difficult to be around, and less effective at relating with others. If we are to be an effective leader, the ability to understand our team, what motivates them, and adjust ourselves to help them achieve the best results is indispensable.

A mindful leader has the ability to be present with, and understand their team. Instead of projecting our stresses onto them, we are able to work with them to achieve our goals.

2. Less reactive to stress

As mentioned earlier, mindfulness gives us space. Instead of feeling inundated by pressure, we experience it at a distance. Instead of sinking into our habitual patterns as a response to stress, we are in a position to choose our responses.

It allows us to develop an internal locus of control, where we dictate our response to a given situation, and not have a given situation dictate our response.

3. More in touch with the leader you want to be

In life, we all have a version of ourselves that we’re striving towards, but more often than not, we feel that we fall short. Does that sound like you? Congratulations – you’re a human being.

In some ways, we all fall short of who we want to be, in both our personal and professional lives.

Mindfulness gives us the ability to weather the external storm, whatever it may be, and remain true to the kind of leader we want to be, no matter the conditions.

4. Focus on what matters

If you’re reading this, there’s good chance that you use:

  • A smartphone
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • An instant messaging platform (ie. WhatsApp, Viber etc.)

If you use at least one of these, the number of potential distractions you’re exposed to on a daily basis is far greater than anything previous generations ever had to contend with.

But note that these things aren’t innately distracting, they’re only potentially distracting. At the end of the day, we decide how we use our attention, and what takes up our time.

With dedicated mindfulness practice, we are better able to prioritize our focus based on what moves the needle and ignore or de-prioritize what doesn’t.

5. Inspire your team and lead by example

Lastly, if we are able to achieve the last 4 things, we will become a much more effective leader in every way. Your team will notice this, and be inspired to do better themselves. You can’t try to lead by example, this can only happen organically, as the result of being better from the inside, out.

As you improve yourself, you’ll often find that your environment, and the people around you follow suit!