Bosses, CEOs, and strong leaders are commonly stereotyped as powerful, soulless and money-driven individuals.
But great leadership requires much more than a desire for power and money; you also have to be empathetic, courageous, compassionate, caring and creative. Summed up: You need to be mindful.
I recently had the opportunity to meet Jack Canfield, author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books, and pick his brain. He stressed that the best leaders are ones who possess a mindful, big-picture outlook.
So how do we find this deeper meaning in our work? And, as leaders, how do we guide our teams down this path of mindfulness?
Before we answer these questions, let’s take a closer look at why mindfulness is so important.
Being mindful of mindfulness
Here are the three main reasons why being a mindful leader is crucial to your professional and personal growth:
- It broadens your view. Mindfulness changes your perspective on the world. Once you view your personal and professional life through a macro lens, you realize that true success comes from contributing to larger, more universal purposes. Simple acts like donating to charities through company fundraisers or engaging in team-bonding activities provide great reminders that your company isn’t just a revenue generator.
- It creates peace. Being mindful as a leader not only brings you personal peace, but also encourages your co-workers to search within themselves for peace. A Google engineer created the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, which touts mindfulness, emotional intelligence and an overall positive mindset as crucial and contagious traits. In short: If you chill out, your entire team will chill out.
- It creates unity. In the working world, it’s easy to feel like you’re a cog in a machine. The broadened view of mindfulness allows you to realize that you’re never alone. Everything you do contributes to a larger cause and affects somebody. This realization will lead to a stronger, deeper camaraderie within your company.
These are just three of the many benefits of mindfulness. Now let’s dive into how you can implement this mindset into your leadership.
Minding the gap
Follow these four strategies when incorporating mindfulness into your leadership strategy.
- Slow down to speed up. We have the tendency to rush through tasks to get as much work done as possible. A high-quantity output is nice, but the quality often suffers. Try slowing down and giving your tasks the attention they deserve. This has become a regular practice of mine that’s led to some incredibly creative moments.
- Practice daily. With almost any skill or talent, practice makes perfect. Whether it’s daily prayer, meditation, or deep breathing, make sure you devote time to practicing mindfulness and reflecting on how your actions affect others.
- Change locations. Sitting in the same spot every day leads to stale inspiration. Get up and move around. Changing your venue will change your mentality.
- Spread mindfulness. Mindful leaders empower others through sharing. Canfield invited me into his home and shared stories about his business struggles. In doing so, he not only increased his own mindfulness but also bolstered mine.
My meeting with Canfield was life-changing. I now begin each day by reading something inspirational and writing a list of things I’m grateful for. This simple change has set a new tone for me as a leader and has had a positive effect on my company and staff.
Mindfulness doesn’t happen overnight. But once you find your big-picture view and practice relentlessly, you’ll send yourself and your co-workers down a path of greater meaning.
Rick Martinez is the CEO and founder of Project BINK, a community and platform that guides people to purpose-driven happiness. Find out more about how to remove the clutter and distraction in your startup, career and life from the new BINK book.
If you enjoyed this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our daily career development newsletter.