By now, you’ve probably heard about the countless benefits that mindful leadership can have for you as an individual and for the entire company: reduced stress, better decision-making abilities, better communication and teamwork, higher productivity, and so on.
Maybe you’re convinced that it’s the right thing to bring to your company, but you’re not too sure how others will react to it. Here are some suggestions to start making the introduction.
Lead by Example
If you want to introduce a culture that embraces mindfulness, the first step is to start with yourself. By developing your own daily mindfulness program, you will have the real experience of seeing how it has improved your life. That way, when you speak about the benefits, you will be speaking from a place of authenticity. You will also be able to honestly discuss what kind of effort it requires.
In time, those around you may even see the changes in you and become interested in achieving the same kinds of results.
If you want to improve your workplace, start with yourself: develop your own personal mindful leadership practice daily. It helps you to get real about what it takes.
Make It Clear What Can Be Gained
Before anyone undertakes anything that requires some time and effort, they’ll probably want to know what’s in it for them. Collect all the relevant data you can find about the benefits of mindfulness for employees and how it impacts the business.
Develop a compelling case that is specific to your company and your industry making it easy for everyone to understand. That will help make it clear that mindfulness is being introduced with the employees’ well-being in mind and render the program meaningful.
Start Each Meeting with a Mindful Leadership Practice
Start your next meeting by asking the attendees to take 60 seconds to pay close attention to their breathing. Tell them to just observe their breath going in and out. And if their mind strays, which it will, just instruct them to bring the attention back to the breath. In addition to introducing the concept of mindfulness your meeting effectiveness will improve. This practice helps people improve their focus and clear their thinking surrounding the issues to be discussed.
Another meeting kick off exercise is the three breaths technique. It involves having attendees simply take three deep breaths. These three slow breaths can have an important impact on two parts of the brain: the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex.
Let’s talk about the science. The amygdala is what initiates the physical stress response to a perceived danger. That includes a release of adrenaline, which accelerates the breathing rate. Slowing your breathing signals to the amygdala there is no danger. It begins shutting down the other responses to danger that can include increased aggression.
The pre-frontal cortex is where information is processed. The pre-frontal cortex is usually in narrative mode; a mode that is mostly concerned with the ongoing story of our life. That can be more of a stress-inducing state than its direct perception mode. Deep breaths help to shift the pre-frontal cortex from narrative to direct perception mode, thus putting a stop to stressful narratives and getting attendees ready to focus on the meeting topics at hand.
Offer an Introductory Mindfulness Training Session
Before you introduce a full-blown, company-wide mindfulness leadership program, just start with a few trial sessions. Make these introductory sessions optional instead of mandatory. You can gauge how many of your employees already know about mindfulness techniques and are showing excitement.
These value-added sessions will give employees the opportunity to learn a bit about what’s involved, thereby demystifying what mindful leadership means. It will also let you see what kind of interest there is in such a program and how much education might be needed before a corporate-wide adoption.
From here, you can look at offering an extended or ongoing mindfulness program to those who are interested in achieving the results that other companies have witnessed with such programs.
Set up a Quiet Space in the Office
If you’re serious about having the concept of mindful leadership adopted in your workplace, you will need to allocate some resources to the project. Getting corporate-wide training is important. But if that initiative needs some more forethought, you can start today by creating a dedicated, private space for mindfulness meditation in the office.
Make it comfortable and quiet and open to everyone in the office. You may even want to allow a certain amount of time in each work day to be devoted to mindfulness meditation.
For more information about implementing a mindfulness leadership program in your company, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with Ascent Leadership Institute today. Or simply reach out over our contact form.
Find out all the other ways mindfulness training can help you reach your highest leadership potential in our Ultimate Mindful Leadership Guide.
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