If you are like most of us, you can become so accustomed to constant busy- ness – going through the motions of meetings, calls and conversations – that you are only partly attentive most of the time, and completely inattentive some of the time.
We have a national epidemic –if not worldwide epidemic of continuous partial attention. As leaders, we go on autopilot for much, or all of our lives. We begin to believe that this is just how it has to be in the fast-paced distracted-filled world we work and live in. We believe If we don’t live on this treadmill, we will fall behind or fail.
It comes as no surprise that when asked, leaders say what they need is to create more space for themselves, so they can step off the treadmill, focus on what is important, and not be pulled along by the demands of the squeaky wheel. We can take more space by taking a purposeful pause, which is a moment or moments in the day when you notice the swirl and intentionally decide to pay attention. For example, you are sitting in a meeting and your mind is speeding into the future, not paying attention to what is happening in the room. At these times, you can use a simple practice to bring your attention back to the room. Just take a breath and a purposeful pause. Then you can redirect your attention back to the moment in the room.
Another way to practice mindful leadership is to identify and reflect on your leadership principles. When you create the space to identify them, it is more likely you will access them in those moments as a leader when the choice is less clear, or when there is an opportunity to change the routine. Your principles help you make tough choices, to take the risks often inherent in innovation.
Mindful leadership practices can also train you to notice your emotions and when your reactivity is triggered by an emotion. You can train your mind to notice and cultivate the space to make conscious choices. You can then expand your repertoire of responses to emotions.
Being a mindful leader can be a transformative experience, and have you be a more effective and productive leader and person!