By Monica Mascy, MBSR practitioner and mindfulness coach
1. Become mindful about mindfulness: Many businesses are struggling to continue ‘as usual’ in these unusual times.
By encouraging open and honest communication about mental health and wellbeing, companies can introduce effective solutions to increase a supportive work environment.
On an online program I conducted last year where the organisation insisted that participants have their cameras on, I noticed a participant cradling her infant from time to time, appearing visibly uncomfortable. Acknowledging that, I appreciated her involvement despite her challenging situation, and helped her relax as I noticed her discomfort dissolve. She seemed more confident and contributed more actively to the discussion.
2. Mindfulness breaks and training: The basis of increasing empathy, better working relationships, improved productivity, work-life balance and increased creativity and innovation are just some of the benefits of mindfulness.
Formal online or offline coaching, counselling, wellbeing, and self-awareness programs throughout the organisation, shifting the focus of learning at work from professional skill-building to personal wellbeing, should be the focus.
3. Developing emotionally intelligent leaders: Actions, tasks, and results might be the focus of leaders, but they can only be achieved through their people.
As with most other strategies, mindfulness needs to begin at the top. Only through awareness and mindfulness can leaders become aware of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to lead authentically and communicate with empathy, decreasing their employees’ stress and anxiety levels to achieve results.
As leaders pay attention to employees as ‘human beings’, not mere ‘resources’, the quality of the organisation’s products, services, and image dramatically improves – leading to an increased bottom line.
Isn’t that the goal of all leaders, after all?
Daniel Goleman often says that poor listening skills are the common cold of leadership today. While listening attentively, without judgement or bias to the person in front of you, relationships thrive, and eco-centric rather than egocentric decisions are made.
4. Encourage a proactive growth mindset: Encouraging employees to strengthen their mindfulness proactively, thereby becoming more resilient and effective by redefining their routines, centring their lives around mindfulness and connecting with co-workers beyond work and virtual meetings to reduce anxiety and foster a culture of motivation, wellbeing and engagement.
Being mindful of things, people and circumstances that we are grateful for and focusing on wellbeing (our own and that of others) will help strengthen our bodies and souls and the organisation’s support culture.
Focusing on fostering a sense of wellbeing in the workplace leads to better relationships, work-life balance, a sense of aliveness and joy for employees and employers. This will help to redefine and sustain an organisation’s productivity, resilience and increase innovation.
5. Create Mindful Groups/ pods at work: Organisations must encourage employees to join a support group or pod that is cross-functional across regions, levels and departments with guidelines for regular meetings to discuss experiences of being mindful and consequences of not being present.
Last year, I completed a six-month course with coaches across the globe on ‘positive intelligence’. The course required us to join a ‘pod’ consisting of 3 – 5 coaches. The pod aimed to hold its members accountable to complete the homework, discuss it and share learnings. But most importantly, what it achieved was to remind us to be present. We easily get caught up in our busy lives and have ‘no time’ to be mindful. Over the weeks, I realised that though it was hard to practice initially, it soon became a habit. I didn’t have to try to be mindful anymore.
I soon began to yearn to be in that state, as I realised that the feelings of wellbeing and peace that it induces is the constant pursuit that we, as human beings, are always in – the pursuit of happiness.
About Monica Mascy
Monica is an MBSR practitioner and mindfulness coach supporting people to use the benefits of mindfulness to reduce stress, increase creativity, empathy and the quality of their relationships. She has led teams in diverse industries across America, Australia, Europe, Middle East and South-East Asia and brings cultural awareness and sensitivity into her coaching. Monica has coached various leaders and senior executives at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 3M, Swiss Re, GE, Novo Nordisk, Parexcel, Cisco Systems, Siemens, EMC2, SAP, E&Y, and Volvo.
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