What is mindfulness? or Mindful management?
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.
Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We feel more alive. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
In a nutshell –it is being fully conscious of, and in the present moment and paying attention to whatever that moment can bring.
Mindfulness practices like meditation or breathing exercises help us to manage our emotions and bring clarity to thought processes. It is through this, that we can enhance our connection with others.
However, in the fast paced world we live in, practicing mindfulness could even be just stopping what we are doing to take the proverbial “deep breath”, slow down for a moment and reconnect with ourselves and what we are doing in that moment, that can make us mindful.
We can see through this explanation that mindfulness is a leadership trait, but how does it help us to manage mindfully?
Taking a mindful approach in our interactions with others, impacts the interaction. For example, a manager ensures instructions are carried out by those under them.
So, if a manager was mindful in the way they executed and managed the instructions given, perhaps the relationship and the desired outcomes could also be enhanced?
How would that work?
Being present in the moment and conscious of ourselves would mean we are more aware of our actions and the impact those actions have on others.
So the approach taken in managing others is considering how we influence them and what impact our actions towards others will have on the outcomes we want.
We might think we are being mindful when we manage, but it’s more than just being caring and considerate – it is being open to what is happening then and there in that moment.
It is to really immerse yourself into the present moment and consider all impacts that your actions as a manager can have, that results in mindful managing.
It is only when we are truly conscious of how we are influencing others in the workplace and what impact we have on them, that we can reflect on our behaviour and adapt or change it.
This is how we start to become self-aware and can enhance our relationships with our staff.
Below is a video and insights on Jon Kabat Zinn mindfulness exercises at a session he did for the Google team.