Being a business leader comes with its fair share of stress. You are, after all, making decisions daily, hourly, almost without any pause whatsoever, that affect the lives of your employees and the business as a whole. But too much stress can hinder decision-making, and that’s where mindful leadership practices can help.
This entails taking a careful and thoughtful approach to business decisions, one which ensures the best interest of employees, yourself and the company. By not letting stress influence the way you lead your workforce, it can drastically improve your business’ wellness in a multitude of ways.
How Mindful Leadership Can Improve Businesses
When those in charge are stressed, it can have serious ramifications on how decisions are made and ultimately take a toll on the well-being of employees. In an effort to cut down on leading-through-chaos leadership dynamics, numerous companies have implemented mindfulness programs. And while the benefits of mindful leadership are virtually endless, Forbes says business leaders can reap the following perks through employing this approach:
- Better, more considered decision-making.
- Increased workplace productivity.
- Improved listening skills.
- Reduced stress levels—in employees, too.
Additionally, Forbes notes a link between business leaders who practice mindful leadership and heightened emotional intelligence—the ability to be in control of your emotions, without letting them commandeer your decision-making process.
Tips for Becoming a More Mindful Leader
Even if you’re already running a successful business, mindful leadership can help it stay that way and promote growth. Every strong company requires equally strong leaders who can effectively interact with people and maintain good relationships—while keeping their cool. Here are six tips and tricks to achieving that perfect balance.
1. Don’t Make Hasty Decisions
It’s inevitable: Your employees will make mistakes or let you down from time to time. But letting anger get the best of you can lead to hasty decisions you might later regret. Instead, take a few hours to think about all the possible outcomes—benefits versus consequences—before making a final decision or reprimanding your staff.
2. Have Patience
Being patient with employees helps them trust you and be less afraid to make mistakes. This matters a lot, considering that when employees are afraid to make a mistake, it can cause them to stay firmly planted inside the proverbial box. Not to mention, business leaders who come down too hard on workers can get pegged as a “toxic boss,” which can potentially hurt your company’s reputation.
Employer patience promotes high job satisfaction, better morale and improved workplace performance. Remain calm, speak slowly and even-toned, and give employees the necessary time to ask questions and learn new tasks at their own pace.
3. Decipher Employee Body Language
Employees might be afraid to express true opinions for fear of being ridiculed or looked down upon, but their body language can be a good indicator of their feelings. Learn to pick up on facial and body expressions that indicate sadness, fear, embarrassment or disappointment, and it can improve your decision-making process.
4. Be Empathetic
Have empathy for employees and show them you care by listening during difficult times in their lives, whether it’s an illness, divorce, death in the family, injury or another traumatic event. Be understanding and mindful of their needs during this time.
5. Stay Calm and Stress-Free
A calm leader is an effective leader. Breathe deep when stress gets the best of you, take some alone time, meditate, or try yoga or tai chi. Even going for a five-minute walk or listening to relaxing music before making important decisions can be hugely beneficial.
6. Be Self-Aware
Acknowledging how others perceive your words and decisions is something all business leaders can benefit from. Before you speak, especially if you feel stressed, think about what you’re about to say and how you’d like to be portrayed by co-workers and employees after the fact. Additionally, always be politically correct when speaking to avoid offending others based on their race, gender, sexuality, religion or political beliefs.
Mindful leadership can’t be perfected overnight, so cut yourself some slack and don’t dwell on past mistakes. Instead, take lessons from them and focus on how you can improve going forward. In general, by putting worries aside and giving your company your full attention, your business will flourish, as will the wellness of you and your employees.
Searching for more tools and resources to help improve workplace wellness? Check out the Employer Toolkit.