Happy to share an article I wrote for Strategic CHRO 360 about mindful leadership.
New leadership theories embrace a more subtle way of managing that includes an ability to pause, listen and reflect. Here’s what can be gained—and how to get there.
In this turbulent and competitive marketplace, a crucial benefit of mindful leadership is not only recruiting talented employees but also retaining and engaging them. Being a mindful leader enables this.
A mindful leader needs to embrace tensions, and the modern workplace is full of tensions. There are tensions between long term and short term decision-making, between employee needs and organizational needs, between speed and quality, and more.
The central tension that managers need to embrace right now is between what I call the “doing” mode and the “being” mode.
Being a mindful leader and holding this tension manifests in an ability to better listen to our employees’, our customers’ and our own needs, and, from this place, to create services and products that add value. It’s the ability to listen deeply to our employees, engaging them and enabling them to fulfill themselves, grow and evolve, be creative, and for the organization to be innovative and thrive.
To start, let’s begin with the human side of our organizations.
First, create a workplace that nourishes and enables employees to bring their complete selves to the job.
See your employees beyond their functional roles and invest time and energy in creating rapport with your employees and between them. Be sure to set one-on-one meetings with individual employees as much as possible. At the beginning of the meeting, check in with them. How are they doing? What’s their state of mind? Listen to them nonjudgmentally. If some of your employees are going through a challenging time at home, listen compassionately. Listening doesn’t mean you need to offer a solution. But dare to be there for them and empathize with their situation so that they feel seen and appreciate your presence and understanding. Ask them what they need from you. How can you help them? There is a good chance that the employee will offer the right solution, and that this solution will emerge from the space that you create.
Second, promote a sense of community and a deeper connection between your team members.
This can start with a meeting where everyone can share a personal experience they had during the week. Create opportunities for nonrational learning experiences based on emotions and emotional connection between people. Allow people to know each other more broadly and prioritize their feelings and emotions. Create space for informal connections over coffee breaks. When people feel seen and sense a deeper connection with others, mutual support and goal achievement will follow.