Mindfulness: A Leadership Skill?


Is mindfulness becoming a leadership skill?  There has been significant research devoted the benefits of mindfulness practices related to health and wellness. Numerous large organizations have taken these benefits seriously and brought mindfulness to the workplace; Aetna, Google, Intel, General Mills are a few leading companies that have offered programs about mindfulness.

Stuart Levine of Credit Union Times, writes:

Mindfulness is a must-have for effective leadership. Published research from graduate business school INSEAD reported better communication skills, more appropriate reactions to stress and improved innovative thinking through mindfulness practice. Effective leaders are keenly aware of how their mindsets, emotional states and actions affect team members. They are able to control their behaviors and suppress automatic responses. Mindful decision makers take time to observe, not falling prey to assumptions which can be misleading and are able to consider various options. The cognitive benefits of being present supports a more effective decision-making process.

What are your thoughts about mindfulness and its impact on business? Do you work for a company with a mindfulness program?

Gather Tips and ToolsSeeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  We gather tips and tools about leading (and developing emerging leaders) with civility.

Leading with Civility: Listening Well Assessment

Graphic of Listen WellWhy does listening well matter?

In a recent post, 4 Tips for Developing Millennial Leaders Now, it was noted that emerging leaders want to improve the way they communicate, build relationships, and develop others.

Listening is an essential communication skill that all the other leadership and civility practices depend  upon. Listening well is a series of four small actions that matter when it comes to creating a respectful workplace. These small actions include:

1. Making eye contact with the other person.

2.  Getting down the basic details of what the other person is saying.

3.  Asking questions to gain a deeper insight into what the other person is saying.

4.  Checking with the person to see if  the meaning is understood.

Graphic of 4 Components of Listening

A great way to support emerging leaders to develop these skills is to model them. Here are a few questions to assist you in assessing  how  well you listen.

Self-Assessment  (Rate yourself as never, sometimes, or almost always)

  • Do I make eye contact when someone is speaking?

  • Do I listen for details?

  • Do I ask questions that help the person explain the purpose of their communication?

  • Do I summarize what I heard and check for understanding?

Next Steps

If you almost always take these small actions, you are modeling strong listening skills.  A good next step to helping to develop an emerging leader would be to share this assessment with the person you are developing.  They will determine where they need more awareness and practice and you can give them support and feedback.

If you sometimes take these small actions, you can improve with awareness.  A way to motivate yourself is to imagine a more respectful workplace by consistently modeling the skill of listening well.

If you rated yourself as never, perhaps you really don’t want a more respectful workplace because you feel that this type of workplace would be less effective.  A point of clarification is a reminder that skilled behaviors like speaking up are important for an effective workplace.  Listening well is the complement to speaking up.  Both skills need to be present.  People who listen well naturally may not be skilled at speaking up.  People who speak up naturally may not be skilled in listening.

We are curious to know about your experience with communication skills.  What great resources are available?

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The Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  Here we gather tips for leading (and developing emerging leaders) with civility.

Curiosity & the Power of Possibility

TabbyOn February 18th The Wallace Centers of Iowa hosted leadership expert Tabby Hinderaker the Purposeful Growth Coach to share insights about coaching.  Those who attended enjoyed an amazing lunch prepared by our own Chef Katie.

After the meal, participants experienced what it is like to ask questions that support another person’s learning. Alternatively, participants had a chance to experience being coached. Participants commented:

 “I was nervous about asking the right question, however being more aware of the other person made it easier”

“I was surprised by new insights.”

“I can see why coaching is powerful.”

“The way the person framed the questions helped me see my goal in a new way.”

The idea of coaching people to develop emerging leaders is relevant to the needs of the workplace. In a recent post, 4-Tips for Developing Millennial Leaders Now! we reported that according the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the 18-33 year old generation became the largest in the workforce and will grow by 30% in the next 5 years. A coaching mindset is the key to all four tips highlighted in that post.

Join us for the next Leadership and Civility Lunch which will include thoughts from leadership expert Kevin Pokorny.

Gather 510 px squareThe Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  Here we gather tips and tools for leading with civility.