Ask any business leader the secret of coping with job pressures nowadays, and many will tell you that mindfulness is often the basis of a stress management routine done right. But can mindfulness also make you a better leader? Here are just a few reasons why the practice might lead to greater success and happiness in your career.
A New Staple in the Business World
While mindfulness has been used to combat stress in some cultures for thousands of years, it is only recently that the practice has made a big impact on western society. Based around deep breathing exercises and making a conscious decision to clear one’s mind of stressful thoughts, mindfulness is now used by everyone from emergency room doctors to Fortune 500 CEOs to reduce stress and improve concentration.
So how does the practice of mindfulness make us better leaders? While restful sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet can do much to improve our job performance in a business setting, the truth is that anxiety and stress can manifest themselves in ways that are difficult to combat without consciously setting out to gain perspective on our problems.
Reducing Stress and Increasing Energy
By giving ourselves a mental break from stressful thoughts, in other words, mindfulness enables us to focus on what truly matters in our work life. Indeed, the mental clarity that accompanies the regular practice of mindfulness will often give us the energy and focus that we need to better approach our daily responsibilities and more clearly communicate with our employees and teammates.
When it comes to the benefits of mindfulness, this last point is particularly important: When we’re burned out and consumed by stress, our communication skills will suffer, and our ability to effectively lead will soon follow suit. That is an outcome that no truly effective leader wants to deal with.
Combating Burnout and Building Resilience
While it is important to mentally guide ourselves through stressful situations via techniques such as positive self-talk, mindfulness makes us better leaders by allowing us to deal with unconscious thoughts and stressors that may not be apparent to us on a moment-to-moment basis. When we’re under a lot of stress, for example, we may have difficulty pinpointing the root cause of our anxiety; by practicing mindfulness, however, we’ll gain perspective on the issues that are actually bothering us, and we’ll be better able to work out how to solve those issues in a healthy way.
For these reasons, mindfulness should be a central facet of any business leader’s stress management routine. When we’re able to truly cope with the stressors of our working life, we’ll be more effective communicators and more resilient leaders. Truly, that is leadership at its best.