Mindfulness at Work
Mindfulness – learning to direct and focus attention – is a powerful method for cultivating resilience, perspective and insight at work. In the fast-paced, technology-laden world of work it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to find the time and space to feel centered and to think clearly; to focus on wider strategic issues, to take the time to coach others, or to attend to key stakeholder relationships. Mindfulness is an ever-present technique for strengthening these capacities.
The evidence for the benefits of mindfulness comes from three types of research studying the impact of mindfulness practice on: brain scans, task performance, and self-report by leaders.
- Brain scans: Consistent mindfulness practice for 8 weeks leads to measurable changes in brain thickness in areas associated with self-awareness, self-regulation and executive control.
- Task performance: In controlled studies mindfulness has been shown to increase confidence, resilience, memory, creativity and the speed of problem solving.
- Self report by leaders: Leaders completing a mindfulness course report themselves as: having more space for innovation, better able to think strategically, more able to cope with pressure, more tuned in to their own thoughts and feelings, and better able to empathise with colleagues and team members.
We can think of mindfulness as honing the mental muscles that underpin precisely the qualities that organisations are so often looking to develop in their managers and leaders: self-awareness, strategic thinking, creativity, effective relating to others, coping better with ambiguity and complexity, looking at issues from multiple perspectives, and knowing how and when to be decisive.
Introducing mindfulness into your organisation
Here are some of the ways that organisations have introduced mindfulness:
- Short taster sessions as a way of testing the appetite of participants
- Including mindfulness within a range of development initiatives, such as for strategic thinking, courage, creativity, resilience, self-regulation, emotional intelligence, and effective influencing.
- Running specific programmes on Mindful Leadership
- Using coaches who are qualified to teach mindfulness within coaching assignments.
“We can think of mindfulness as honing the mental muscles that underpin precisely the qualities that organisations are so often looking to develop in their managers and leaders…”