So, like 64% of everywoman Network members you’ve embraced a mindfulness practice and are reaping the rewards of improved communication, focus and calmness, both in and outside work.
For many mindful leaders, the next natural step is to encourage the same in their colleagues and teams, paying forward their learnings to benefit the individuals they manage and the entire group’s output.
But what if your team are mindfulness newbies or simply aren’t the types to buy into meditation? Drawing on our workbook Mindful leadership we’ve devised your key strategies for convincing your colleagues to harness the power of mindfulness.
1. GROUND THE BENEFITS IN NUMBERS AND FACTS
Your own mindful practice has instilled a sense of calmness in crises, a deeper understanding of how you respond to stress; you’re even sleeping better. But extolling the virtues of mindfulness and how they’ve benefited you personally
and professionally might not always be enough to inspire others. If that’s the case, share the cold, hard facts.
|The claim||The evidence|
|Mindfulness improves your concentration levels.||Scientists discovered that subjects asked to meditate or focus on the ‘here and now’ showed reduced activity in the area of the brain that governs emotional responses and ‘wandering mind’.|
|Mindfulness helps you sleep better.||Staff taking advantage of healthcare provider Aetna’s mindfulness workshops reported a 20% improvement in the quality of their sleep, and, furthermore, an additional 62 minutes of extra productivity per week.|
|Mindfulness keeps you sharp.||
The area deep in the centre of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex – which governs, among other things, error detection, attention to detail and modulation of emotional responses – is stronger and more active in
individuals who regularly meditate.
|Mindfulness reduces stress and improves your general wellbeing.||Participants on Intel’s mindfulness programme reported lower stress levels (down two points) and greater happiness (up three points).|
2. START WITH A SOFTLY, SOFTLY APPROACH
You might be well on the path to master meditator status, but the mindfulness newbie is likely to struggle with some of the more advanced practices you’re grappling with.
Set small, regular challenges – a mini digital detox whereby your team stays off email for a set period, a few minutes of deep breathing before they make a start on their to-do list – to ease them in gently. Encouraging such practices
(find more like these in our Introduction to mindfulness workbook) also sends a clear message to others that you care about their wellbeing, and that they’ve permission to take a moment out now and
again without fear of reprisals.
3. PERSONALISE THE BENEFITS
A regular, committed mindfulness practice can be a powerful tool in aiding common workplace weaknesses. When proposing various mindful techniques for beginners, highlight how it can help your team members with a particular challenge
they’re grappling with.
|An employee struggling with communication or relationship issues…||
|An employee who needs to gain greater attention to detail, or better manage their time…||
|An employee who struggles to see ‘the bigger picture’||
|An employee who needs to work on more creative, flexible solutions||
4. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Commit to continually showing your team that you are a mindful practitioner.
In communications: Foster a culture of respect in meetings. Don’t allow people to be talked over. Practise active listening, clearly demonstrating with your body language that you’re engaged wholly in what’s being said.
Don’t shy away from difficult conversations. Be observant to weak processes and act in a timely way to eliminate overlong or ineffective meetings.
Focus: Be clear about your own priorities and how these may shift over time. Tread a careful balance between reacting in the moment, and choosing to act at a more opportune time. Notice when your team’s motivation peaks
and troughs, acting quickly to make the most of these times. When engaged in tasks, see them right through to the end.
During change: Stay alert to the mood and the pressures in the workplace at any one time. React in a timely way when you notice staff acting on ‘auto-pilot’, encouraging them to notice their own behaviour and to adjust
accordingly depending on current needs.
Be inspirational: Welcome your team’s creative ideas and ‘out of the box’ thinking, remaining flexible yourself, particularly during stressful or difficult projects. Find opportunities to share your passions and what
motivates you, creating a space whereby others feel safe doing the same.