5 Mindfulness Training will Ultimately Make You an “Unstoppable Leader
What do we mean when we talk about mindfulness? It is the congruence of thinking, emotions, and actions. It can be defined as a psychological and spiritual process of evolving and growing awareness of body, mind, and spirit. Here observing and questioning are the focal points of living in the moment leading to accountability, effective communication and emotional sensitivity to oneself, others and the environment.
It is the ability to detach from fantasy and unconscious patterns. By abiding by these patterns, we cannot break free from the conventional behavioral cycle which thereby, clogs the pathway to mindfulness.
Balance and equanimity through mindfulness
These are the programmed behavior where we do not challenge the status quo just because we have been doing it for years. The aim is to create balance and equanimity.
Professionals who are oblivious about themselves, not investing in self-analysis, not observing their surroundings and not ready to learn & unlearn from their ongoing life experiences are the ones who miss being effective leaders, as they lack the mindfulness viewpoint/space to gain clarity.
A leader needs to be open to feedback and negate their programmed behavior where they choose to rather ‘reflex' i.e. react instantaneously to a situation rather than reflect. This is what leads to the lack of accountability and sometimes, over-rationalization from the leader’s end when it comes to making decisions or structuring a model for those who look up to him for guidance.
So how can leaders train themselves when it comes to mindfulness? Here are the 5 steps that will help.
Learn And Unlearn: We humans grow every second of our lives and yet, there is stagnation when it comes to learning new concepts, ideologies or fundamentals. Many times, in order to learn something new, one has to unlearn, challenge or let go of what was taught to him before.
The process of unlearning is sometimes more difficult than learning because we have wired ourselves in collating experiences and lessons and are rarely willing to let go. A mindful leader is always open to new learning opportunities and is ready to unlearn existing convictions to make space for new ideas.
Let go of the Pattern: Be emotionally sensitive. Several men are not ‘supposed’ to be emotionally sensitive learned from their culture and parental beliefs which leads to repressed emotions and erupts like a volcano in the form of anger and subjugation to negativity. Being sensitive enables leaders to connect with people irrespective of their nationality and cultural background. It is only about being human. There is always a conflict between ‘what I should and what I want to do’. Mindfulness is about letting of programmed thoughts and beliefs where leaders can finally open up about their thoughts and account in the here and now and are welcoming to change and positivity.
Rely On Open Communication: Open communication is a to and fro transfer of ideas which need an ever-flowing channel or medium. A mindful leader can engage in open communication and idea exchange with people around him to assess their thought processes and quantify the amount of growth that is left untapped. In order to thrive in open communication, a mindful leader can:
● Be open-minded to new ideas and thoughts.
● Be willing to observe.
● Be willing to listen to text and subtext more than just hear
● Arrive on conclusions that are based on Otto Scharmer’s U Theory of Connecting with open mind Open Heart, Open Will and Open Hands.
Indulge in Self Analysis and Reflection: Today people are more concerned about others perception and are terrified that they might not have a good impression in the first few minutes of their meeting. This thought of relying on others to validate oneself will lead to doubts and unsupportive thoughts.
As a mindful leader, one engages in the process of analyzing oneself and reflecting upon their own actions without the intervention of a third party. Self-analysis and reflection enables leaders to open themselves up to new thoughts and the mistakes/learnings as well which they can now rectify
Be Aware of Your Environment: As a leader, it is important for you to be in tune with the environment that you are living and leading in. This awareness can only be achieved if you are observing things around you, rather than inspecting them.
The need to be attentive to the slightest of change and the imperativeness of questioning even the minute details is an important part of being a mindful leader. This proves that you are concerned about the ongoing and are aware of the issues that pertain to the surroundings. You can improve your observational skills by:
● Training the mind to be watchful of things without any emotionally unstable involvement.
● Have the eye on the prize while maintaining emotional sensitivity.
● Staying calm in the case of chaos.
● Disconnecting with what is not important.
Reflect And Not Reflex: We have a very interesting habit of assuming that we are right about everything. The stubborn streak in our minds is always coaxing us towards ‘What Should I Do’ rather than ‘What I Want’ This action is more on the lines of reflex and not reflect based on social obligations and not necessarily on what one thinks is the right approach. It is time we give human instinct and mind the due credit for thoughtful decisions instead of rigid believes that can lead to mindfulness.
By investing in time and effort to hone oneself and take actionable insights, one achieves the credit of being reliable and credible in his actions. By reflecting upon the existing ideas and taking relevant actions proves the agility and capability of the leader to be more proactive for the sake of his team.
There is no such thing as perfect mindfulness. It is a constant journey to self-development and truly mindful leader will be able to embrace this concept of continuous betterment and be a greater role model to those who have chosen to follow him/her.