Greater mindfulness can make you a much more effective leader. It will give you better insight on both employees and customers, and help you make better decisions. That advice comes from Charles Francis, author of Mindfulness Made Simple: Your Guide to Finding True Inner Peace and director of the Mindfulness Meditation Institute.
Sounds good–so how do you achieve greater mindfulness? Meditation is certainly one powerful way to do it, and it comes with health benefits, including better cognition, a stronger immune system, and possibly greater longevity. But there are other mindfulness techniques you can use during the workday that will dramatically boost your leadership skills by helping you tune in both to yourself and those around you. “We’re trying to achieve greater awareness of ourselves, of our relationships to other people and to the rest of the world,” Francis explains.
Whether or not you meditate, consider using these simple techniques throughout your workday. See if they don’t improve your abilities both for managing employees and for dealing with all the challenges that come your way:
1. Stopping and breathing
“We just stop whatever we’re doing and take three to five mindful breaths,” Francis says. A mindful breath is a slow, deep breath during which you focus your mind on your breathing. This extremely simple technique is particularly effective when you’re feeling upset or stressed. But because of the way our minds spin along, gaining speed as we zoom through the workday, it’s useful any time. It will help slow your speeding mind and improve your concentration, Francis says. “As our minds become agitated, it’s hard for us to focus,” he explains. And it’s a time investment you can make on even the busiest of days, since the entire process takes no more than about 15 seconds.