Focus on focusing

Mindfulness has become quite the buzzword around the photocopier.  Large organisations like Intel, McKinsey, Apple and Google, all famous for their innovative leadership practices, are embracing Mindfulness as a core concept of their operating rhythm. Even I wrote an article not too long ago on ‘centredness’, a concept closely aligned to mindfulness.

Woman sitting in front of a laptop, her eyes closed and fingertips touching in a meditation pose

Like centredness, mindfulness refers to two meditative practices - reflection and introspection.  However, as good as mediation is, most of you will agree  that the workplace is not the most appropriate place to sit cross-legged, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Luckily, mindfulness doesn’t require you to pull out the yoga matt and put on whale noise CDs – it just requires you to take a step back from what you’re doing and make some minor changes to the way you operate.

The simple ways that we can bring mindfulness into the workplace first came to my attention in an article by Julie Winkle Giulioni titled ‘Beyond meditation: How leaders can put mindfulness into action’. Like me, Julie agrees that mindfulness is becoming increasingly important in today’s 24/7 workplace and that we, as leaders, need to role model these behaviours if they are to become part of the way we do things around here.  The article provides some very simple ways that can inspire others to adopt a more mindful approach to their working practices.

A few simple practices such as slowing down, taking deep breaths when talking with others, turning your work phone off when on holiday – are general things that can benefit your own health and wellbeing and can provide great examples to your team.

There are a few other suggestions that stood out to me as things we should focus on as leaders. One – pause during reactive conversations to ask thought provoking questions to stimulate conversations that focus on delivering solutions rather than reactions. Two – practice mono tasking – focusing on one task at a time and making it clear to others that this is how you intend to work.  Three – disconnect from work during the evening and weekends to demonstrate to others that that the business does not stop if you do this.

Julie also suggests that giving meetings a mindfulness makeover and encouraging job crafting are two ways in which we can bring mindfulness into our team behaviours and day to day activities.  These simple changes can lead to more productive, collaborative and healthy teams.  Worth considering in today’s demanding 24/7 climate.

I’d highly recommend reading Julie’s article and consider implementing the ideas discussed into your daily routine. Research clearly suggests that by adopting a few simple Mindfulness behaviours into our daily operating DNA, we will create a more engaging and productive environment for our teams.

Happy leading!

About the Author: Noel Reid

Noel Reid
Noel has over 30 years’ experience as an operational leader and trainer in the government, not for profit and commercial sectors. His service in the military helped shape his early leadership career and he has been able to transfer these lessons and skills to the business environment. He is a sought after executive coach who has assisted the development of senior executives in all sectors and industries. An experienced facilitator who has delivered high value training programs around the world, Noel is able to engage with the audience to maximise the learning outcomes. He holds an MBA (Leadership & Communication), an Associate Diploma of Human & Physical Resource Management, a Diploma of Training Design and Development and a Diploma of Vocational Education and Training.

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