An expert form the book: “Mindfully Wise Leadership: The Secret of Today’s Leaders” appears in StartupNation.
Mindful leadership enables us, as managers, to be mindful to ourselves, employees, customers, and the changing market needs—and from this place create workplaces that engage talented people and enable them to thrive, be creative, and innovate.
We live in a hectic reality and an intriguingly extraordinary period, and we find ourselves perpetually challenged. We are in the midst of a transformation; the Coronavirus pandemic is transforming the way we live as well as the economic and business world.
As managers who want to run successful, creative, and innovative organizations, we need to be flexible in our thinking and be able to rapidly adjust and adopt new tools to motivate our organizations to be at the cutting edge; mindfulness allows that to take place.
While there is a myriad of ways to engage employees, leaders must do it from a place of meaning, purpose, intrinsic motivation, and connection.
Give space to feelings.
The ability to engage employees and allow them to feel meaning and satisfaction at work happens through mindfulness. This takes place by giving space to employees’ deep feelings and emotions rather than using cynical and manipulative means to use and control employees. Normative controls in traditional leadership seek to blur the boundary between the employee’s self and the organization to achieve maximum commitment to the organization and identification with it. Normative control encourages people to internalize high expectations and blurs the boundary between the employee’s true feelings and what the company expects the employee to feel. This may create self-alienation, inauthenticity, and burnout among employees; it does not give them a sense of liberty, freedom of choice, belonging, and meaning. Control is functional and uses the employee merely as a tool for bringing profit to the organization, and employees know it is happening. It simply doesn’t work.
Re-evaluate your values.
When meaning and values begin to disappear from work, so does motivation. We have our own values, ones we’ve built a lifetime working toward. This is our mission; this is what is important to us. The problem with values is that we only “value” the good things: innovation, respect, honor. We don’t value being told we’re wrong. We don’t value learning. We don’t value putting in the work. We don’t always value the behaviors that lead to mindfulness, because we haven’t done the hard work of self-awareness, other-awareness, and intention building. We don’t value the real changes we need to make as a result of being off course in the first place. We hate being wrong.