Presence, resilence and mindfulness – the perfect combination for a strong leader.
During times of uncertainty, people are looking towards their leaders for reassurance, direction and a calm, grounding presence. A mindful leader understands their impact on others and reassures people in the workplace – aligning employee care and safety with the company’s values by focusing on teambuilding, motivation and collaboration.
At times, the workplace can be a fast-paced, stressful environment where employees and leaders alike are challenged to thrive, under all circumstances. Factors outside of the working environment can add to these pressures – leaving a team uncertain.
Many businesses have already felt a significant shift in team morale and performance in recent weeks as tensions rise with the outbreak of the Coronavirus. As employees watch the news unfold, there’s increased worry about what this means for them in the workplace. At the same time, leaders have the challenge of taking care of their teams while keeping their businesses functioning as well as possible for the good of their customers, their mission and long-term future.
Crisis management is perhaps the most difficult test for leaders and we often learn the most about our leaders in these times. This is especially true for a case like COVID-19, which does not have a comparable historical precedent or solution and where the threat is evolving constantly.
Being mindful as a leader means having practices (such as regular meditation) in place that help you to manage your own stresses and heighten your energy. That way, you’re better equipped to lead others and face challenges with cohesive, decisive and consistent action. It also means you can be sensitive to and respond to how the team are feeling, creating an environment of trust and transparency.
Uncertainty causes tension, stress and, as a direct impact, can affect the quality of work with employees making mistakes. These are all common signs that an employee is feeling the pressures. A mindful leader – who, let’s not forget is feeling the instability stress too – can show a combination of compassion, toughness and, most importantly, resilience. These are essential qualities for team leaders to possess to persevere through tough times caused by external stress.
Resilience is the process of effectively coping with adversity—it’s about bouncing back from difficulties. The great thing about resilience is that it’s not a personality trait, it involves a way of paying attention, thinking, and behaving that anyone can learn. And in the current climate, it can prove a vital skill for those leading teams to keep the daily running of the business in operation.
World-renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson has found evidence that mindfulness does increase resilience, and the more mindfulness meditation you practice, the more resilient your brain becomes.
Mindful leaders become aware of their reactions to crises and how that influences others. Skills including being able to focus on what is important and control stress result in the people around them adopting the same mindful approach which contributes to the overall performance and team morale for the entire organisation.
Many large corporations have introduced programs designed for mindful leadership which include yoga and meditation – proven relaxation techniques to improve the health and wellbeing of both leader and employees. If this isn’t available to you, take the initiative to explore the many resources and local classes out there to help support you.
Whitespace Yoga and Wellbeing Studio has been the number one wellbeing provider in Milton Keynes for ten years, offering over 50 classes each week suitable for all levels. The studio is a hidden gem nestled in the peaceful town of Stony Stratford – tucked away in one of the beautiful, character buildings, bringing an immediate calming influence on the mind.