What Does It Take to be a Mindful Leader?

Published in

Date:

July 20, 2022

Author:

Milan Kordestani

Entrepreneur, writer, and founder of 3 purpose-driven companies oriented toward giving individuals control over their own discourse and creation. Milan works to produce socially positive externalities through a mindset of social architecture.

Hi! I'm Milan, an LA based founder and writer, architecting impact-first businesses.

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Mindfulness is the quality of being conscious of everything that’s happening inside and around you - maintaining a present awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and environment.People assume it comes with age, but in truth, mindfulness can be built with practice and instilled into your mindset at any age. I consider it to be an invaluable trait, irrespective of where you are in your career trajectory. But if you’re an entrepreneur, manager, or team leader, mindfulness can work wonders to translate your business targets into reality. Mindful leaders are not easily triggered by external events or swayed by emotion. They’re fully present in the moment and process their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and opinions with clarity. As a leader, being mindful is a powerful asset that allows you to have a clear vision and set well-defined expectations from your team. This inspires your team to be more solution-oriented and aligned with the company’s goals. Let's shed some light on mindful leadership and why you should consider putting it into practice.

What is Mindful Leadership?

Leaders today often tackle simultaneous challenges on a daily basis, and when you wear many hats, it’s inevitable that you’ll face overwhelm, stress, and burnout. That’s where mindfulness comes into play. Approaching chaos with a mindful mentality can be a liberating experience.A mindful leader’s presence, awareness and empathy can help them inspire and motivate their teams in an entirely new way. So how can you develop the qualities of a mindful leader for yourself?Let’s dive into some actionable steps.

Characteristics Of a Mindful Leader

Mindful leaders exhibit some unique traits that set them apart from others. To establish a mindful leadership culture in your organization, here are three characteristics you must pursue:

  • Presence

Bonding with your employees is pivotal to achieving a common goal and inspiring action. Being mindful will allow you to be more present while interacting with your team, and it opens the door to showing true compassion. When you’re able to fully direct your attention and focus on someone who’s speaking to you instead of letting your mind wander to emails, your to-do list, or an upcoming presentation, people will take notice. Being present in conversation goes a long way, and you might be surprised at how much more easily you bond with your team when you’re mindful during your interactions.

  • Flexibility

Having a flexible mindset is essential to being a mindful leader. When you embrace contradicting opinions that challenge your beliefs, it creates a collaborative ground for everyone to contribute their ideas. Conducting civil discourse is an amazing way to foster exchange of opinions to approach a common ground, and can help you be more open to others’ views and perceptions.

  • Authenticity

Authentic leaders show up as their true selves and are able to participate fully and honestly with their teams. Making an effort to show up as your authentic self is about accepting that you are an imperfect human who is simply trying to do their best. In the hustle culture we live in today, this can be a refreshing change that creates the space for you and your team to do your best work.

Why is Mindful Leadership Essential for Success?

Mindful leadership is imperative for productive teamwork. When leaders are in tune with their team and actively guide them to find effective solutions, the company grows exponentially. Here are a few reasons why mindful leadership is beneficial

  • High level of emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence stands tall on the two pillars of empathy and self-awareness. Self-awareness helps  you remain conscious of your feelings and allows you to respond presently to a challenging situation. Empathy allows you to acknowledge your team’s efforts genuinely and encourages them to give their best shot. 
  • Improved decision-making: Emotions tend to cloud our decision-making abilities, but mindfulness is a great way to keep your head clear. Smart decision-making results in better business acumen. Using a solution-oriented approach drives your business to higher pedestals of success. 
  • Enhanced innovative thinking: Creative thinking is a skill that’s often overlooked in the workplace. As a mindful leader, you’re able to create an innovative environment by encouraging people to think out of the box. Being mindful also helps you accept failure and move past it without dwelling on it for long.

Civil Discourse And Mindful Leadership

Civil discourse in the workplace is pivotal for executing collaborative ideas and solving complicated issues. When employees get the green light to express their perspectives freely, it paves the way to productive discussions. Here are some ways you can use mindfulness to incorporate civil discourse in your team:

  • Actively listen to each team member’s opinions.
  • Ask questions to understand their stance before expressing disagreement.
  • Disagree respectfully with counter points, without demeaning anyone.

As a mindful leader, you need to take the first step towards implementing these civil practices in your meetings. Lead by example and provide support for your team members if they’re struggling to take a mindful approach.

Final Words

As a purpose-driven founder, I strive to be mindful as often as I can. I've found that it teaches me to pay attention to the present moment, recognize emotions and keep them under control, especially when faced with highly stressful situations. I'm more aware of my own presence and the ways I impact other people, which goes a long way. When you’re able to both observe and participate in each moment, while recognizing the implications of your actions for the longer term, it prevents you from slipping into a life that pulls you away from your purpose.

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