How engaged do you feel during workplace meetings?
If you feel connected, take part and are 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.
Organisations are 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. Productivity and creativity drops. Pressure builds.
A workforce that’s tired, busy or stressed can easily find themselves on automatic pilot, making knee-jerk decisions and repeating unhelpful patterns of behaviour. If you’re managing a team, you might notice an inflexibility or resistance in your employees to adapt to change, a lack of trust between staff and management, or you yourself are feeling the strain of overwhelm. Where there’s no trust in the workplace, cynicism can develop.
When people are so busy, they can lose sight of how to communicate effectively – and when that happens relationships, projects, faith in the organisation and ultimately overall well-being can be adversely affected.
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 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 communicating.
How does this apply to leadership?
Leadership is an activity, rather than a job title. Anyone can be a leader if they’re an effective decision maker, demonstrating skills such as creativity, and adopting meaningful team collaboration – especially if they have the ability to cope in complex or ever-changing conditions. They don’t have to have the word ‘manager’ in their role description.
In the first study of its kind carried out by 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.
I offer 8-week Mindful Leadership courses in the workplace or online, which can be held weekly (or in half-day segments), with up to 16 hours guided learning (plus recommended home practice).
Each session covers topics on how to use mindfulness including work based activities, which helps people notice and manage their thinking more helpfully. It includes conversations around mindful communication, alongside the potential to benefit attendees in many areas of their lives outside of work, such as achieving better sleep. Attendees 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 subject to availability.
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.
© Delphi Ellis 2019-20