What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, accepting our thoughts and feelings without judgment and becoming aware what is happening around us.
Mindfulness has its roots in spiritual communities, though is integrated more in the business world as a tool to build strong work environments. It helps managers pay attention to what is occurring in the present and to make corrections that support team members and the business goals.
Why Is Mindfulness an Effective Management Style?
Mindfulness management is allowing yourself to stay focused on what needs to be done now in order to reach your business goals. It’s being aware of all the different moving parts and selecting what is most important to move a project ahead in the right manner. It’s about letting go of the past and not being anxious about the future, but rather looking at what is needed in the moment.
Mindfulness management helps your employees reduce reactionary responses and increase their decision making skills. The more closely aligned you are with your employees, the easier it is to coach them rather than have them in the performance improvement path.
It’s slowing yourself down and thinking about where to best put your focus.
In order to create this type of management style, you will need to practice mindfulness.
As a manager, you set the direction of projects as well communicate to employees what needs to be done. If you are more aware of your own feelings and thoughts, you can regulate and make changes within yourself that add more value to your relationships and ultimately to the success of your team.
In order to be effective as a manager, you require an awareness of your current management style. Then you need to decide what is the best management style for you. When you select a new style, there is always learning and uncomfortable feelings, and you may feel stilted in your efforts.
Choosing mindfulness management means you will also put aside time to sit quietly and practice being mindful. That is the only way you can set the foundation for being more in the present with yourself, employees, and the business. Being present means staying in the moment, leaving the past behind, shutting out distractions and focus on the issue in front of you. When you are present, no matter how stressful the situation seems, you and the employee are in the moment working together.
Decide to set aside each day at least twenty minutes to sit quietly with your thoughts. If sitting quietly for 20 minutes seems challenging in the beginning, set a goal for 5-10 minutes. As you become more comfortable with the practice, you can add additional minutes to your quiet time. When you sit, release the expectations that you must have no thoughts while you practice. You will have thoughts and moments of quiet as this is part of practicing mindfulness. The focus of mindfulness is to be aware of your thoughts. As you sit with your thoughts you recognize you are thinking and allow the thoughts to move forward.
You can start your work day with this practice which will set the foundation of being present with your work, people, and decisions throughout the day.
You gently breathe in and out, allowing this quiet time to reduce the noise you carry around with you. How does this practice reduce the noise? Like with any new endeavor, practice builds those “awareness muscles.” Awareness of your thoughts, without judgment, provides you will the opportunity to be present to what is occurring in the moment. This awareness will provide you with greater clarity of situations that are presented to you.
When being mindful, you might be focusing on one’s breath, breathing in and out. When a thought pops up, you can just acknowledge, “I am thinking.” This acknowledgment doesn’t attach itself to the thought but rather allows you the awareness that you are thinking.
Why should I do mindfulness practice? The more you learn to be present with your thoughts, the more capable you will be in focusing in on what is important and what is just a thought that passes through you.
You can use this new level of awareness to observe the performance of your individual team members. You let go of previous thoughts about who they are and instead become more aware of them and what they need in order to be their best.
Mindfulness creates an open mind. How does an open mind work in business? It creates a higher level of curiosity and receptivity to the people around you and to new possibilities for you and your team members. It helps you to accept others, recognize their strengths, utilize their abilities and let go what no longer works. Change is part of life and being open by an active practice of mindfulness, will allow you to be available to what is needed for the change.
You can only do one thing at a time —
use mindfulness to be your best in the moment.
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