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Becoming a Mindful Leader

Posted 01 June 2021
by Clare Davy

Being a leader can be stressful and challenging. A leader needs to juggle the various needs of different stakeholders, often having to make quick decisions. Leaders need to be able to communicate effectively and decisively. A leader’s work is based on the ability to build and nurture relationships.

Research has shown that regular mindfulness practise helps leaders:

  • Focus their attention and become more aware of what is happening in the present moment.
  • Control impulses by thinking and reflecting before taking action.
  • Have more measured responses to challenging situations.
  • Develop a better understanding of themselves and begin to transform their minds.
  • Consider their impact on the environment in which they operate.
  • Build better relationships with colleagues, team members and other stakeholders.

What defines a strong and connected leader – a mindful leader?

A mindful leader is aware of their presence and the ways they impact other people. They have the ability to both observe and participate in each moment. They consistently work on themselves through personal and professional development.

A mindful leader:

  • Demonstrates high emotional intelligence
  • Has the ability to focus attention and switch focus effectively
  • Is clear and non-reactive
  • Practises self-reflection on thoughts, attitudes and behaviours
  • Manages change and guides team members through change transitions
  • Balances intuition and rational thinking
  • Practises self-care to maintain health and energy
  • Is a life-long learner
  • Relates well to others
  • Continually builds personal resilience

How to develop mindfulness as a leader?

We all can practise mindfulness, and there are some simple techniques to heighten your awareness. The more you practise, the more you are able to focus intently on the present moment. Mindfulness is available to us in every moment, through meditation, body scans, pausing and reflecting on what is happening at that moment, and breathing exercises.

Below are some mindfulness techniques to easily incorporate into your day:

  • Mindful breathing exercise - throughout your day take a minute to stop whatever you are doing, sit back and centre your attention on your breathing
  • Do one thing at a time – give the task at hand your full attention
  • Practise active listening
  • Build a toolbox of favourite mindfulness techniques

In summary,

Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to the present moment, recognise your feelings and emotions, and keep them under control, especially when facing challenging situations.  A mindful leader is aware of their presence and the ways they impact other people. They can both observe and participate in each moment with clarity and control. And most importantly, a mindful leader recognises the need to consistently work on themselves to become a successful and effective leader.

Allegra Consulting acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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