Mindfulness has many benefits for brain functioning and better brain functioning equals better leadership. Here are five ways mindful leadership benefits organizational results.
1. Mindful leaders are less reactive. Being less reactive enables the frontal lobes to go into action, which equates to better analysis and better decisions. Better decisions drive better results in measures from efficiency to profitability.
2. Mindful leaders can see the big picture. Seeing the big picture enables us to understand the impacts of actions on our customers, the whole supply chain, and on our employees. While some people get down in the weeds, focused only on their small piece of the puzzle, being aware of the entire system—from inputs from suppliers to outputs to customers—helps us create better results for everyone. When we are aware of and responsive to customer needs, we can increase profitability, whichever way you measure it.
3. Mindful leaders increase collective engagement and create environments of trust and safety. Safety and trust are essential for people to feel free to speak up. When people can speak up, we avoid disasters and mistakes, and can engage people collectively to attain exceptional results. “To translate individual engagement to collective engagement, companies must also cultivate a culture of trust and respect,” according to Elizabeth Craig and Yaarit Silverstone’s 2010 essay, “Tapping the Power of Collective Engagement.”
4. Mindful leaders are courageous. It takes courage to lead. We confront gnarly situations every day and, when we are able to have the courage of being able to face our fear and work with it, we can see what’s needed even when the stakes are high and we aren’t the most powerful person in the room. People who work for us depend on us to watch their backs and protect their interests. People we work for depend on our ability to say what’s true in a way it can be heard.
5. Mindful leaders can ignite innovation. To survive, organizations need to innovate as a continuous practice. When leaders are present and awake, their presence can provide space for new ideas to surface. A leader’s presence and awareness acts like a window, opening onto freshness outside the boundaries of day-to-day routines.