Today, we are all experiencing big transformations at all levels due to an ecosystem hyper connected, digitalization, entrepreneurial revolution, emergence of horizontal enterprises, and difficulty in economic growth…The big challenge for organizations and leaders is to balance between these transformations handling meantime their personal and professional constraints. To meet this challenge, leaders must reinvent the way they manage organizations integrating a new model of leadership based on Mindfulness.
Beyond the critical thinking, courage, and creativity discussed in the world forum of 2016, Mindfulness has become part of the fundamentals for leaders to embrace in order to be able to handle successfully this transformation.
Let’s first define what Mindfulness is all about and how it can impact leadership and decision making in professional environment. Mindfulness as defined by its founder Jon Kabat-Zinn: is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non judgmentally. It’s about knowing what is in your mind.” Mindfulness is part of meditation but there is a slight difference to consider. Mindfulness is not about to switch off the mind but developing the skill of bringing one’s attention to reality; it is developing the skill of being in the present moment. It is about self-consciousness without any additional thought or judgment. You may be wondering how?
Embarking on the journey of mindfulness can be difficult in the beginning but once embraced on a daily basis, it becomes even natural- take at least ten minutes out of each day to remain mindful when drinking coffee, walking, during a break at work, or before sleep. How many of you when eating or walking, they are not aware and conscious about what they are eating as their minds are focused on other issues? Being mindful is the ability to focus on walking in this case and observe your steps, your breath and nothing else.
My favorite experience in Being Mindful is when I write. I am focused only on my thoughts, ideas, on my breath; I am completely aware of my feelings and simply enjoying the moment I am writing that can turn into great moments of concentration, joy and well-being.
Mindfulness will enable you to be aware and repair our minds in an environment that has become extremely stressful. Think about yourself, observe yourself, your emotions or simply become aware of what you are doing. When you are stressed, anxious, sad, or lonely, try to observe your emotions, try to be mindful to be able to develop self-consciousness. But don’t judge if your thoughts are good or bad, just watch them. Why do you think we need to be self-conscious?
The Aim of Mindfulness is to develop mastery, self control and self-regulation, enhance our focus, and listening skills, increase wisdom which will lead to profound realizations. Mindfulness has become one of the first skills to develop nowadays. It is something that we need to integrate at schools from early age, within organizations, to ensure a productive, positive new generation. Mindfulness is part of the pillars of the well being at work or from personal perspectives. It can also enhance our relations and develop more focus especially in an environment often bombarded by email, messages, and texts. According to Gloria Mark, a researcher at Irvine University of California who studies digital distraction, we are interrupted on average every 3 minutes! Once distracted, it can take up to 23 minutes to move back to the initial task, even if the distraction lasts only few seconds.
There are tremendous benefits when adopting mindfulness. There are 4 main things to consider that can impact positively Leadership and decision making, discussed by Yves le Bihan in his book, “The Positive Leader.”
To fit in a world shifting very fast, leadership has been reviewed. The new debate today is based on how to integrate mindfulness among other aspects such as the cognitive neuroscience and the science of positive psychology. The combination of the three approaches will enable leaders new revolutionary tools for handling big transformations and reinventing leadership as they all prioritize the Human well-being, positive thinking, optimism, and personal growth.
My aim is not to talk about the three disciplines but to emphasize on the importance of Mindfulness and its major role in improving decision making and efficiency at work. With mindfulness, self-conciseness is enhanced tremendously. It has proved also to have a direct impact on memorization, on the learning process, and adaption to changes.
Cognition has to do with how a person understands the world and how he acts in it. Cognitive abilities are more related to memory skills and concentration. Mindfulness has proved a positive impact on focus, flexibility at work, and hence a better creativity and sensitivity towards the environment. The focus on the present moment creates a better well-being and more optimism because we are more likely to concentrate on the present rather than on the regrets of the past or the fear about the future.
By focusing on the present moment and creating positive impact, you influence the quality of hormones released by your brain that have a direct impact on your immune defenses and your health. This management by optimism protects you from the harmful effects of stress and makes you more productive and focused.
Enhanced emotional intelligence enable leaders more self-consciousness and self-control of their emotions and of the others. When this basic aspect is mastered, it makes communication more fluid and smoother for leaders. It will allow them a better conflict management, constructive cooperation and interactions with the team.
Professional relations are mainly about Human interactions, respect, understanding, and not only about work, objectives and realizations as it is already the case for many corporations.
On our Health
All the benefits are interrelated. When a deeper self-consciousness is achieved, then this will lead to better self-esteem. Beyond the benefits discussed above, Mindfulness has been also associated with improved sleep quality and lowered anxiety and depression.
Success today is no longer dependent on technical skills and competencies but on our emotional intelligence and our ability to master and embrace other qualities. A Mindful leader tend to be more effective in understanding others, focused, non reactive and efficient under pressure.
According to Ray Kurzweil at Google, in 2030, artificial intelligence predicts that machines will be capable of being emotional intelligent, funny, understanding jokes, loving and understanding the human emotion. If machines will be able to develop emotional intelligence, what are doing right now to enhance yours? Maybe if you don’t take initiatives for your own personal growth, you will be simply be replaced by a machine. Period.