Mindful Leadership – Managing change effectively using mindfulness at work

How engaged do you feel during workplace meetings?

If you’re connected, taking part and completely focused when your colleagues are speaking, then you’ll be giving 100% around the table. But if you are doing that, recent research suggests that’s quite rare.

According to one study, three quarters of attendees in meetings are distracted by something not related to the meeting, and on conference calls two thirds are doing something else not related to the call.

In organisations being asked to do more, with less – and quickly – it’s no wonder people adopt multi-tasking as a strategy for coping. However, doing more than one thing at a time is not only proving to be ineffective, but can severely impair performance especially when accurate and complex judgements are needed.

When we spread our time and energy too thinly, nothing gets our full attention. Mistakes are made. Pressure builds. Conflict rises.

When we’re tired, busy or stressed we can easily find ourselves on automatic pilot, making knee-jerk reactions and repeating unhelpful patterns of behaviour. You might find it difficult to adapt to change or feel like you just can’t cope.

We know that 1 in 3 people will suffer from poor mental health during their employment and as a nation of poor sleepers, this creates a vicious cycle – when we’re not sleeping, everything can feel like a problem.

This is where mindfulness can help.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to what’s happening in your current environment without judgement. It’s not a religion, it’s an intelligent philosophy with proven benefits. These can include helping to reduce blood pressure, manage mental health and sleep better. People find they become more resilient, hold better conversations and take a step back before reacting to potential conflict.

One study showed a 40% reduction in stress, a 58% reduction in anxiety levels, 57% reduction in depression and 26% reduction in fatigue; people who practise mindfulness generally sleep better.

How does this apply to leadership?

Leadership is an activity, not a role. Anyone can be a leader if they’re an effective decision maker, demonstrating skills such as meaningful team collaboration and have the ability to cope in complex or ever-changing conditions. They don’t have to have the word ‘manager’ in their job title.

In the first study of its kind carried out my Dr. Megan Reitz looking at the subject of mindfulness and leadership, 57 professionals across different industries found that 96% would say mindfulness training improved their resilience to a “great” or “very great” extent. 

It also identified this type of ‘upstream intervention’ meant that those who attended an 8-week course on mindfulness, didn’t have to train in subjects such as emotional intelligence or building rapport as these came naturally. Colleagues instinctively worked well together showing increased empathy when supporting each other, listening attentively, collaborating and communicating effectively, when trained in mindfulness as a team.

What’s involved?

I offer 8-week mindfulness courses which can be held weekly (or in half-day segments), with up to 16 hours guided learning (plus home practice). Each session covers topics on how to use mindfulness, helping people notice and manage their thinking, and has the potential to benefit attendees in many areas of their lives, including achieving better sleep. Students are also offered access to an (optional) online learning gateway for up to 28 days, containing resources covered throughout the course. Some mindfulness ‘taster’ sessions are available on request.

For information on training your teams in mindfulness, just complete the form below. Courses available in Milton Keynes with some workshops available nationwide. I am a qualified counsellor trained authentically in mindfulness. You can find out more about me here.

You might also like: Kindfully™ – a new mindfulness app for busy people

© Delphi Ellis 2019

About Delphi Ellis

Qualified Counsellor, Mental Health and Well-Being Trainer, and Mindfulness Practitioner. Creator of Monday Mojo™. Talks 'Lady Business', raising awareness of factors which predominantly affect Women's Mental Health like pregnancy and domestic abuse. Helping to improve the global conversation, and bring an end to stigma and shaming. Dream Explorer as seen on the telly. Avid tea drinker.
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