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How can leaders use meditation?

By 
Mindfulife
|
30/03/2022

In recent years, the world of work has not only become more digital - it is also becoming more agile. This not only has an impact on the corporate structure, but also on the tasks and competences of the workforce. Whereas 100 years ago a manager mainly acted as a person who makes decisions and delegates, today he or she can also take on the role of a coach. This is how the entire working world is changing - away from strict hierarchies towards agile companies and leaders.

Change in the demands placed on managers

Due to the changes in the economy, the demands on managers are also changing. Unlike in the past, they are no longer pure decision-makers, but must also have social competences such as self-reflection and communication skills, in addition to professional competences, in order to optimally guide and motivate their employees. In order to cope with these new demands of the changed working world in the best possible way, managers have various methods at their disposal.

Mindfulness as support

In order to strengthen social skills that are also useful during work, mindfulness-based methods can be helpful. This is also shown by a recent study: In 2019, Kropp & Sedlmeier conducted a study in which they examined the effects of mindfulness-based relaxation methods. Compared to two other relaxation methods, the authors of this study were able to show that mindfulness practice was most strongly related to improved emotion regulation. The study concluded that the body scan helped the participants to better cope with a lack of emotions or with emotions that were too strong.

For example, when it comes to dealing with frustration arising from a digitally changed working world or helping an employee to accept setbacks, this method can be a central element in relaxation.

Mindfulness and performance

Another important benefit of mindfulness practice is improved performance on the job. This, of course, is also an important part of the job for managers - both in terms of themselves and in terms of supporting their employees. Psychological research has found a positive relationship between mindfulness and job performance (Dane & Brummel, 2014). In addition, mindfulness meditation can enhance both creativity and emotional intelligence - qualities that are particularly important in leadership work.

In particular, the influence of mindful leaders on their employees has come into scientific focus. For example, there are results that show that more mindful leaders also have higher-performing, more loyal and more satisfied employees (Reb et al., 2014).

Mindfulness and leaders

There are different ways to practice and cultivate mindfulness - one of them is meditation. Mindfulness meditation can also have an impact on self-awareness of one's leadership qualities, according to another study from 2014 (Amar et al., 2014).

Further research also suggests that meditation has a positive impact on the well-being and introspection skills of managers, which in turn can have a positive effect on employees. Based on these research findings, it may be useful for employers to use mindfulness practices to deal with the impact of digitalisation.

It is beneficial for organisations to promote interventions to positively contribute to the mental health of their own staff. Meditation is already promoted by some large organisations as an evidence-based intervention. The simple access to such programmes makes it easier for employees to take the first step towards trying interventions that may still be considered esoteric by some people. In order to offer professional interventions, organisations should therefore pay particular attention to the provider with whom they take place. The most suitable provider is one with certified teachers who have expertise in psychology, meditation and mindfulness research.

It can also be useful for companies to provide mindfulness training to managers with private teachers. A private class gives the leader more flexibility in integrating mindfulness into their own daily life and adapting the practice to their needs.

Read more about the benefits of being a mindful leader in this article!

Summary

Meditation is a practice through which one can develop and cultivate various qualities, including mindfulness. Mindfulness describes a certain way of living that can be cultivated through regular practice. The changing world of work brings with it new demands on leaders. To foster emotional and interpersonal skills, leaders can benefit from meditation. Mindfulness practices and meditation can help leaders firstly to better manage their own emotions and secondly to optimally support their employees. These components can increase the performance and satisfaction of both employers and employees.

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Sources

Amar, A., Hlupic, V., & Tamwatin, T. (2014). Effect of Meditation of Self-Perception of Leadership Skills: A Contol Group Study of CEOs. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2014, No. 1, p. 14282). Academy of Management.
https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/q28z2/effect-of-meditation-of-self-perception-of-leadership-skills-a-contol-group-study-of-ceos

Barua, B., Muchiri, M., Muenjohn, N., Burgess, J. (2019). A Model Exploring Relationships Between Positive Leadership, Meditation, Flow and Task Performance. In The Journal of Developing Areas 53 (2), S. 229–238. DOI: 10.1353/jda.2019.0033 . https://muse.jhu.edu/article/703008/summary

Dane, E., & Brummel, B. J. (2014). Examining workplace mindfulness and its relations to job performance and turnover intention. Human relations, 67(1), 105-128.
https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726713487753.

Gifford, G. T., McKeage, R. L., & Biberman, J. (2014). Making space for wellbeing: Using guided meditation in leadership education. Journal of Leadership Education, 13(1), 103-115.
https://journalofleadershiped.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/gifford131.pdf

Kropp, A. & Sedlmeier, P. (2019). What Makes Mindfulness-Based Interventions Effective? An Examination of Common Components. Mindfulness, 10(10), 2060–2072.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01167-x

Lüneburg, Anke (2020): Erfolgreich sein als Führungskraft in der Arbeitswelt 4.0. Begeisterung wecken mit Zukunftskompetenzen und Coaching-Tools. Wiesbaden, Heidelberg: Springer (Essentials Ser). Online verfügbar unter https://de1lib.org/book/5402023/65f0c.

Purnomo, B. R., Eliyana, A., & Surya, W. A. (2020). The Effect of Transformational Leadership on Employee Job Satisfaction with the Meditation of Trust to Supervisors. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy, 11(9), 676-686.

Reb, J., Narayanan, J., & Chaturvedi, S. (2014). Leading mindfully: Two studies on the influence of supervisor trait mindfulness on employee well-being and performance. Mindfulness, 5(1), 36-45.

Schiefer, Gernot (2019): Die Rolle der Führungskraft in Agilen Organisationen. Wie Führungskräfte und Unternehmen Jetzt Umdenken Sollten. Unter Mitarbeit von Hanna Nitsche. Wiesbaden: Springer Vieweg. in Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH (Essentials Ser). Online verfügbar unter https://de1lib.org/book/5401627/85ae51.

Seppälä, E. (2017). How meditation benefits CEOs. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr. org/2015/12/how-meditation-benefits-ceos. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d4f230975e9c900012a2e58/t/5d59d97d72f41b00012986b4/1566169469841/How+Meditation+Benefits+CEOs.pdf

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