One of our main stressors in life is our job. Some people dread coming into work each day and the fact that they may have to spend eight or nine hours there makes their lives miserable. This can’t be allowed to happen or to continue, so one thing you can do at work is to encourage mindfulness so that people learn to live in the moment rather than in dread.
Practice mindfulness yourself
You should show your staff that being present in the moment works for you and that there’s nothing wrong with them following suit.
Let your people have a dream
Good leaders give their people room to dream and to use their imaginations. Some people need 20 or 30 minutes each day to get their thoughts in order or to think about the impossible. You never know when someone will dream up the next great breakthrough.
Teach people to count to ten
If someone gets a challenging email, then they often end up sending a snippy missive right back and then you’ve got an escalating situation on your hands. At the very least, you’ll be spending an hour or more calming things down when a ten-second pause to see things from the other side would have worked much better.
Ask the big questions
Once a week, you should ask the awkward questions. What are we doing here? What makes you unhappy? How can we make the place better? This may lead to a bonus scheme, a fruit basket delivery, duvet days for all juniors, a fish-tank or even a visit to Cattaneo Commercial to organise an office move. Just do it.
Take breaks yourself
Get up, go for a walk, tell people your contact lenses are welded to your sclerae after four solid hours of proofreading! Ask if anyone wants to come with you. A shift of focus re-sets your mind and is a renowned problem-solver!
Remind people to be mindful
By giving staff the right tools to practise mindfulness, you’re teaching them to do it and giving them permission. It allows them to see outside themselves and their immediate situation, which in turn helps them to be kinder to themselves and to each other.
Primarily because it keeps people alive! Seriously though, people under stress tend to take shallow breaths and this creates a feedback loop that tells them they’re stressed…and so on and so on. Recognise when you’re under pressure and give yourself 30-60 seconds to focus on nothing but your breath.
Lead with emotions
Use your heart and your head to connect with and lead people. If someone’s messed up and you need to talk to them think about how they’ll feel, not just about the practical aspects of the mistake. Be more open about your feelings, fears and hobbies, too.
Incorporate breaks between meetings
Just five or ten minutes in between each meeting in a packed schedule lets people have a drink, eat something, breathe, relax and re-focus. This means they don’t turn up to the next meeting still chewing over the last one or mentally check out of their current meeting to think about the upcoming one.
Allow unscheduled time
All this rushing around raises adrenaline, heart rates and blood pressure. Build in mini-breaks once or twice a day so that everyone – and that includes you – can stare out of the window, reflect on the outcomes of a meeting or plan for an upcoming project. Or, do nothing at all for a few minutes.