Mindful Leadership: Leading (Self and Others) with Presence and Awareness blog cover image
Mindful Leadership: Leading (Self and Others) with Presence and Awareness blog cover image

MINDFUL LEADERSHIP: Leading (Self and Others) with Presence and Awareness

Leaders face increasingly complex and ambiguous challenges in today’s fast-paced and constantly disrupted world. In such times, the human mind tends to overthink. We worry about the past. We worry about the future. The ability to stay grounded and aware of what is required in the present moment has always been a hallmark of influential leaders. 

Mindful leadership is the practice of leading with presence and awareness, an approach that can help leaders better navigate these challenges.

What defines a “mindful” leader?

Mindful leaders are attuned to their bodily sensations. Awareness is the foundation of mindfulness, enabling leaders to attune to their thoughts and emotions — and sense or discover those of their team members. 

Practitioners of mindful leadership are calmer and more centred when facing difficult situations. It allows them to respond creatively, rather than react from habit. Mindfulness also builds stronger relationships with your team members.

Practising mindfulness includes extending our fondness for those we like and cultivating empathy for our rivals and associates we find challenging to work with. 

When leaders can see things from their team members’ or colleagues’ perspectives, they can better understand their needs and motivations. They can tailor their leadership behaviours and decisions to support them.

One of the most transformational opportunities of mindful leadership is to grow a culture of mindfulness within the organisation. And this starts with the leadership. It does not require team members to practise mindfulness themselves, although that is the ideal.

Mindfulness in Organisations

Professor Jochen Reb is a world-leading scientist and author of Mindfulness in Organisations. Professor Reb’s research focuses on the influence of mindfulness on employee well-being and performance. It indicates that a leader’s mindfulness can enhance the performance and well-being of team members. 

He hypothesised that supervisors’ trait mindfulness is positively related to employees’ perceptions of leader-member exchange (LMX) quality, which in turn is positively related to employees’ perceptions of interpersonal justice. In addition, employees’ perceptions of interpersonal justice is, in turn, negatively related to employees’ stress, which is positively related to employees’ job performance.

Reb is a Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University. 

Let’s Get Started!

By cultivating mindfulness, leaders can create a more positive work environment and help your team members thrive. So, where can we start? Today, we explore Mindful Leadership in 5 simple steps.

 Get comfortable either sitting or lying down, your choice..

  1. Take a few deep breaths. Let your breathing slow down and start breathing from your belly instead of your chest, letting your abdomen expand and contract with each breath.
  2. Bring awareness to your feet. Now, slowly bring your attention down to your feet. Begin observing sensations in your feet. If you notice pain, acknowledge it and any accompanying thoughts or emotions, and gently breathe through it.
  3. Breathe into the tension. If you notice any uncomfortable sensations, focus your attention on them. Breathe into them.   
  4. Visualise the tension leaving your body through your breath and evaporating into the air. Move on when you feel ready.
  5. Scan your entire body. Continue this practice with each area of your body, gradually moving up through your feet until you reach the top of your head. Notice how you feel and where you’re holding your stress. If there’s any tightness, pain, or pressure, continue to breathe into any tightness, pain, or tension you’re feeling.

Tips:

  • Practise this body scan meditation anytime you feel stressed or several times throughout the day.
  • If you don’t have much time, you can do an abbreviated version of this body scan meditation by just sitting and noticing any place in your body where you’re carrying tension rather than moving from part to part. It will become easier the more you practise.
  • Practise often, as frequently as possible. Make time.

Corporate & Leadership Training in Singapore

Since its inception, Kaleidoskope has forged strong partnerships with diverse companies and government agencies in Singapore. We are dedicated to designing bespoke learning solutions and learning experiences. Our aim is to bridge the gap between the training offered and the actual needs of the individuals.

Kaleidoskope is renowned for its high-engagement and high-impact leadership training. Our approach ensures that organisations and businesses in Singapore are well-equipped to elevate their team’s efficiency and foster organisational growth.

Should you or your organisation wish to undertake a transformative learning expedition tailored to your distinct objectives and challenges, Kaleidoskope warmly welcomes you to delve into our wide range of personalised workshops and coaching sessions.

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