It seems many people want to know what mindfulness is, how to develop mindfulness, understand what the benefits are, and how to use mindful leadership practices to produce better results.

As a life-long meditator, yoga teacher, executive coach to c-suite executives, and a cultural change consultant, I’ve witnessed the power of mindful leadership and mindful teamwork on cultural performance and bottom-line results.

What is mindful leadership?

Mindful leadership is the practice of being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and actions in the present moment. It’s the knowing our underlying intentions, motives, and emotions what cause us to act or react – in the moment. Mindfulness can teach us how to become discerning, allowing us to act rather than react. Mindful leaders are more self-aware, manage their emotions better, relate to others more effectively, and make better decisions.

Here are some tips on how to become a mindful leader

1.   Set aside time each day to practice mindfulness. One practice that I give leaders is the 10-second breath. Breathe in for 10 seconds and breathe out for 10 seconds. Breathing at this pace allows leaders to slow down the mental chatter and become still. When we become still, we have access to deeper insight.

2.   Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions. One day per week, practice paying attention to the quality of your thoughts and emotions. Write down the number of positive reinforcing thoughts and how many negative, critical, and stressful thoughts you have. Do this for a month. Most of my clients are surprised at how much stress they carry unconsciously.

3.   Be present in the moment. For one hour each day, be fully present. Don’t multi-task emails while in meetings, on the phone, or when you are talking with your employees, your partner, or children. When you are fully present, you give the gift of your presence. When you are fully present in a conversation, you send the message that value the person right in front of you. When people feel important and valued, they become the best version of themselves. As a leader, this allows you to be more effective in your interactions with others and make better decisions.

4.   Practice the law of cause and effect. Be mindful that every action you take has an impact. Every word you speak impacts others. Become more aware of what you are communicating, how you are communicating your message, and the impact the message has on the receiver.

The Bottom Line

Mindful leadership practices are not a silver bullet. It is a tool that you can use to reduce stress and increase your leadership effectiveness. If you’re looking to improve performance, start with mindful leadership practices.

As you start to practice mindful leadership, the benefits will show up in your own life as well as in the lives of those you lead.

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