A Different Way to Manage

Over forty years ago, Jon-Kabat-Zinn brought together medicine, mindfulness, and meditation into a singular practice for the purpose of clearing the mind and reducing stress. He defined mindfulness as awareness through deliberately paying attention in the moment without being judgmental. Mindful meditation as a means to reduce stress, and even heal the body, is now practiced worldwide in all facets of life, including the workplace. And yet, as effective as the meditative practice of mindfulness is, I cannot help but feel as if after all this time there is an element of mindfulness missing from the zeitgeist of this famed culture.

After the mind has been cleared through meditation, and the stress of life all but gone, what does one put back into their mind when they return to day-to-day life? If you run a business, or an organization of some type, then there as seven things that I recommend be at the forefront of your mind in all you do.

1. Have vision. – Vision is a roadmap for your company. It shows the route the company will take to succeed. The vision of your company should also include a vision for the success of your employees. It is roadmap that lets them know that you want them to succeed and that you have a plan to get them there.

2. Intentionally build relationships. – Get to know your employees. What are their likes and dislikes? What are their hopes and dreams? What do they expect from your company and from you as their leader? Let them know that you care about them as an individual and not just someone there to do a job.

3. Be a listener. – There is a difference between listening to a person and just hearing what they say. Listening means caring. It means taking in all a person shares with you including facial expression, body language, tone of voice, etc. This is called listening with a third ear, or active listening, and is essential for any manager who says they have a “open-door policy”.

4. Practice empathy. – Put yourself in the position of the person talking with you. Find ways to relate to what it is they are telling you. Be a little vulnerable and show your human side. Yes, boundaries are necessary, but letting down your guard a little goes a long way to building trust with your employees.

5. Give hope. – Like vision, hope looks to the future. While vision is a roadmap, hope is the destination. Let your employees know what they can expect in the future with your company. Give them goals to shoot for, and then deliver the goods when they reach those goals.

6. Empower your people. – Everyone has personal power, but not everyone knows what to do with it. Personal power is the power to choose what is best for one’s self, and for others. By coming alongside your people and helping them make positive decisions with their power, you help them ensure success.

7. Love. – Love is as much a verb as it is a noun. It is not a feeling or emotion or a religion. It is living with genuine intent to be mindful of all these things we just discussed for the benefit of your people. It is a commitment to use your personal power to ensure the success of your people, because you genuinely care about them.

When leaders are mindful, when they are aware of themselves and others, each and every moment of the day, and without judgment, they will create a culture around them that is both positive and healthy. Leaders who practice mindfulness in the workplace have reported higher employee retention, improved employee relations, increased productivity, unparalleled customer service, and an increase in revenue up to forty percent. If this is what you want for your business, then it is time to practice mindfulness in the workplace.

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