Lately, it seems everyone is talking about mindfulness — the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. Everyone can benefit from mindfulness in their personal and professional lives, especially leaders.
Recently, I was asked to share my thoughts on mindful leadership for a Training Industry article, “Developing Mindful Leaders: Awareness, Training and Daily Practice.” Go read it and come back. I'll wait.
Welcome back! Or, in case you don't have time to read the full article now, here's what I said:
Of course, many leaders, especially as they climb the ranks, have few opportunities to receive leadership feedback, notes Terry Traut, CEO of training company Entelechy. “Mindful leaders develop the ability to deliberately look for the impacts they have on others and then deliberately choose among alternate actions to increase their effectiveness,” he says. “We need to teach leaders how to ask questions, how to solicit input, how to listen and how to use the information they receive.”
It's so important for mindful leaders to seek, reflect on, and internalize feedback as they grow. For people new to the concept of mindfulness, here's a quick primer:
What is mindful leadership?
Mindfulness is more than empathy, especially when one is in a leadership role. Mindful leaders are aware of the impacts they have, and are able to adjust their behaviors accordingly.
Why is mindfulness important in leadership?
One of the most powerful attributes of highly-effective leaders is the ability to self-assess and to seek feedback. The higher in the organization one goes, the less feedback — and the less honest the feedback — you get. Mindful leaders develop the ability to deliberately look for the impacts they have on others and then deliberately choose among alternate actions to increase their effectiveness.
What type of training methods should organizations use to train leaders in mindfulness skills?
We need to teach leaders how to ask questions, how to solicit input, how to listen, and how to use the information they receive. Some of the most powerful techniques are the simplest. Marshall Goldsmith’s Feedforward technique is one simple example of how leaders can solicit input, which is a critical element in being mindful. And by asking leaders to use these techniques in class, they can see how easy AND effective they can be.
How do you incorporate mindfulness in your leadership development? Share in the comments.
We delve deeper into the topic of feedback in our white paper, The Most Important Management Skill. The white paper draws on 25+ years of experience working with the world's top organizations. Over that time, we've talked with thousands of employees and asked what they wanted — NEEDED — from managers that they felt they weren’t getting, or getting enough of. In this article, we'll walk through some of the top answers to arrive at the most important management skill. (Spoiler alert: It's FEEDBACK!)