Dear SOTGC community,
The many benefits that a focused leader can bring to the work environment are enormous. The research and information unfolding in today’s world is proof that a focused leader can make a difference. Not only to oneself, but to the teams and the organization as a whole.
So what am I talking about when I refer to focus? True leaders know that they have to focus in three ways. Their focus needs to be on themselves, others, and the wider organization or group. The foundation of authentic leadership is based on emotional intelligence. Starting with self-awareness, self-management, people awareness, and people management.
Some of the great research that is circulating includes an article from the Harvard Business Review. The article supports the fact that when you practice mindfulness it improves focus and clarity. It helps you to not only focus on yourself, but to connect and have empathy towards others. Thus, it helps you to have self-awareness and people-awareness.
Research shows that when you are focused, you are more productive, and your performance, resilience, and creativity improve.
So, what is mindfulness and how does it relate to focus? Mindfulness, which is hitting the airways in a big way, is a proven method to focusing. Companies are bringing mindfulness into their organizations because today’s workforce is unlike years prior. Workers today experience an environment of 24/7, tons of distractions from the digital world and beyond, pressure to be competitive and information overload. Research from Harvard has shown that due to this busy and complex work environment, our mind wanders more than 46.9% of our day. Leaving us focused on our tasks only 53%. What if we could improve our focus to even 65%? What a difference we might make in a day.
With focus you can more easily respond and think about a situation instead of just reacting to a situation. Put focus in the work context. What if you could actually show more compassion for your co-workers, interact and communicate more fully and manage more effectively? With mindfulness and focus you can do that. Below are six ways that mindful and focused leaders impact and benefit an organization. In no particular order, the following traits of a leader, regardless of title, are enhanced when a leader becomes more mindful and focused.
Creativity. When you are focused and practice mindfulness, your mind becomes clear and sharp and can make creative and critical decisions. You begin to view situations and challenges not as obstacles but opportunities. This leads to new ideas, creativity, and innovation. Creativity is the backbone of work ideas and, as stated by Professor Ford, who is an international best selling author and professor of the Martin Prosperity Institute at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, creativity and talented people is for modern organizations what coal and iron were to the steel industry.
Compassion: According to an article from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, when leaders put pressure on employees it increases the stress level of employees. Stress ultimately leads to higher employer costs. Plus, 52% of employees report that workplace stress will result in them looking and leaving for a new job. With compassion, the work environment becomes a happier place and results in better customer service, engagement, commitment, social connection, and an improved bottom line.
Communication. When a leader connects and communicates, engagement increases. With engagement, according to Gallup, employees go the extra mile, work with passion, and have a profound connection to the company. They are the employees that drive innovation and move your business forward.
Listening. The best leaders are not concerned with always talking but listen to what their employees are saying. Communication is a two-way street. It is listening and engaging. Listening is about understanding, learning, and then responding.
Collaboration. Research shows that collaboration in the workplace is better than having sole individual talent. With collaboration, overall performance and loyalty is increased. When employees and leaders collaborate, then motivation, customer experience, innovation, and morale is boosted.
Feedback. Feedback is an important element in the workplace as it increases productivity, quality of work, and effectiveness of the team. It allows an employee to learn and find new ways to look at a situation. Employees’ initiative, innovation, and motivation increase with regular and constructive feedback from leaders.
With focus a leader can think more clearly. Have the space to make critical decisions and be more creative. Remember, a great leader is not without skill and talent: skill and talent is the entry position. But a true leader has the added dimension of personal skills and embraces collaboration, compassion, and communication to improve the bottom line.
Have you seen the benefits that mindfulness has had on leaders that you respect? Please leave a comment, and thank you for reading.