How meditation makes you a successful leader

Why mindfulness and meditation are now essential for forward thinking leaders and business owners

If you’re already on top of your own wellbeing or your wellbeing agenda at your company, it may not have escaped your notice that mindfulness is everywhere. From some of the largest organisations in the world like Google and Goldman Sachs who were early adopters to those that are seeing the worrying rising trend of sickness and absence due to the poor mental health of employees.

You had probably heard of the 1 in four people who will suffer with a mental health condition, it’s a statistic that's been around for a number of years. It’s now more commonly quoted as 1 in 6 as highlighted on World Mental Health Day. If you’re a Linked in member you couldn't help but see the number of organisations that are taking the initiative to support their employee mental health and wellbeing. It is so encouraging to see that this is now at the top of the list.

Where does meditation and mindfulness fit?

Despite the rising popularity meditation mindfulness can still remain a bit of a mystery if it’s not something you’ve experienced. You may have images of monks sitting cross-legged or taking a vow of silence. Or chanting, people generally think you need to chant. Of course there are many respected traditions of meditation but a more practical application is now common in the workplace. There is a great article on Mindfulness in the Workplace, which clearly outlines some of the preconceptions and also how to implement it into your work culture.

Meditation and mindfulness as a leader

The benefits for your employees of increased productivity, reduced absence, improved communication and a reduction in stress levels, when practised regularly. As a leader you learn to become more resilient, your emotional intelligence is enhanced and it helps you to be an honest and authentic leader.

It’s essential for gaining the trust of your teams. Becoming self-aware and able to be non-judgemental or competitive gives you a leading edge position and allows you to take those that you lead with you.

How do you start?

Breathing Exercise

The best way to start if you’ve never practised mindfulness is to begin with breathing. By practising focusing on the breath going in and out of your body for 3-5 minutes will focus your mind, reduce mind chatter and slow down reactions allowing you make better decisions. When you get distracted, simply bring your attention back to your breath. Aim to do this once or twice day.

Body Scan Exercise

You can do this sitting down or standing up. It’s most effective lying down but this may not be practical if you decide to do it at work! Start by focusing on the top of your head and working your way down the body, notice each area and release any tension from that area.

Forehead, nose, chin, mouth, neck, chest, shoulders, arms, abdomen, back, upper legs, lower legs, calves, ankles, feet. Feel where your feet are connected to the floor. Do this as slowly as possible. Go back up to the top of your head in the same way. You’ll feel very relaxed. Be careful where you do this as you might fall asleep!

The key to mindfulness is practise and regularity. It soon becomes a habit that you don’t know how you did without.

If you are a small business you may be interested in this guide on mental health from the Federation of Small Businesses.

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Find out more about how I can help your business to increase productivity, reduce stress and improve communication. Take a look at my employee wellbeing page and contact me for a 30 minute discovery call.

Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience
— Jon Kabat-Zinn