Leadership is a gift and a responsibility. And as leaders, we will want to consider this seriously.
After all, every leadership decision made can ripple throughout our organizations—and often into the lives of our team members. Whether or not our choices ultimately result in a positive outcome may come back to these decisions.
When it comes to decision-making, even seasoned leaders often follow their initial instinct without pause or forethought. Or, they’ll simply feed into the energy of those around them. If the energy is off, it can quickly drag the team—and maybe even the entire company—down with it.
Thankfully, leaders have the ability to shift this narrative through servant leadership, or as I call it, leading with genuine care.
But what does it mean to be genuine? It’s living with sincerity and authenticity. Genuine, servant leaders care for the totality of every person—without judgment or a personal agenda that only serves the leader or the company.
A leader who serves with genuine care values the unique humans who make up each organization’s ecosystem. They strive to lift every employee up while making mindful decisions that support the totality of their team member’s lives—not just when they’re on “the clock.”
Genuine care leadership rarely comes naturally. It takes education, awareness, and ongoing practice to consistently lead with authenticity and a people-first mindset. Thankfully, we all have access to an incredible life tool that may be useful for some—mindfulness and meditation.
A Better Understanding of Genuine Care Leadership with Mindfulness
Imagine you’re part of a meeting. It’s not going well, and the energy is off. People, including yourself, are frustrated. As the collective energy escalates, you feel it. You also recognize this energy creeping inside of you. It’s an energy that you know can carry over into the remainder of your day, your evening, and even into how you’ll sleep.
But then, something different arises.
Rather than give in to the rising temperature, you pause and reflect on the unfolding situation. Then, with a measured response, you react in a way that lifts the meeting’s energy up. The entire thought process took a split second, but it changed everything.
This is just one way that mindful meditation may transform your leadership. By cultivating a mindfulness practice, you are better prepared to notice that critical moment between stimulus and response. It’s here that you can pause—often for just an instant—and intentionally choose a better path.
It truly is spectacular to see the relationships within your team strengthen by mindfully shifting your energy and actions. Studies show that mindfulness and meditation not only improve human connection. It can also reduce stress, boost empathy, and keep the ego in check—skills desired by any positive leader.
By embracing mindfulness, you might notice huge benefits personally, professionally, and throughout all aspects of your life.
How Business Leaders Can Start a Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness practice does not lead to transformational changes overnight. It’s called a practice for a reason, and like leadership, you never stop learning. Thankfully, getting started on this lifelong journey is simple.
During a mindful meditation practice, we are simply noticing our thoughts. We’re using our breath as an anchor and continually coming back to the present moment—right here and right now.
To try it, find a comfortable spot, relax or close your eyes, and focus on your breath by breathing normally. When your mind begins to drift away, practice bringing your attention back to your breath. You can practice this for one minute, five minutes, or any amount of time you can fit in.
But as you know, leaders are busy! Even those extra minutes seem hard to fit in. One way to cultivate a stronger, more regular practice is to attend a mindful leadership retreat.
A retreat is a unique opportunity for attendees to have focused time to learn and enhance their mindfulness practice. It also provides attendees with a break from their busy lives—something most haven’t had for years … or decades!
I’ve been annually attending mindful meditation retreats twice a year for over a decade, and I’m far from alone. From top tech leader Scott Kriens designing the 1440 Multiversity to Salesforce building ‘mindfulness zones’ into their San Francisco headquarters to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who regularly attends meditation retreats, leaders are recognizing the value of slowing down.
Retreats offer teachings that will help leaders slow down so that they can speed up. Attendees practice the foundations of mindfulness and through the experience, learn how it can be applied in everyday life. With focused time, attendees can begin to fully hone in on these extraordinary life tools.
If you’re curious about a meditation retreat, there are many amazing programs including the 1440 Multiversity and Spirit Rock in Northern California, the Insight Meditation Society in upstate New York, and the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, where (full disclosure) I host an annual mindful leadership retreat.
There are also great online meditation programs, Master Classes, Leadership classes, smartphone apps like Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, or Meditation Studio, and free mindfulness resources all just a click away.
No matter how your journey unfolds with mindfulness and meditation, life may open up in exciting, enriching, and beautifully unexpected ways!
Reach out to me anytime to learn more about meditation and mindful leadership. Connect on Twitter and LinkedIn. Listen to my podcast Leading with Genuine Care to hear conversations with great leaders from around the world and keep up with my company imageOne.