Mindfulness and Leadership Development
The latest Labour Force Survey shows that of the 23.5 million days lost due to work-related ill health in 2013/2014, stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 8.3 million of these.
It isn’t perhaps surprising then that, whilst still not mainstream in terms of understanding its impact, some leading organisations, including Google and Apple have begun to teach mindfulness as a way of improving personal and professional effectiveness that in turn is recognised as impacting on organisational performance.
Wherever you look today, people are working in high pressure, accelerating environments with 24/7 communication ability, being bombarded with increasing amounts of information and the need to do more with less.
In response to this, those in leadership positions are called upon to be highly productive and visionary, innovative, quick-thinking but still genuine and well-balanced.
Through leadership programmes we can teach individuals to develop problem solving skills, give feedback, manage change and create great teams. But this approach tends to focus on inputs and output and does little if anything, to develop the right state of mind or state of being that makes the difference between a good and a terrific leader … one who is for example, open minded, self-aware, empathic, alert, curious.
To address this scenario, a number of high profile companies are giving increasing attention to developing mindfulness in leaders … awareness of the present moment, flexibility, an open state of attention. Although research continues, mindfulness is linked positively to organisational performance, with mindful leaders said to be higher functioning and performing, able to focus their attention.