Mindful managers cultivate motivated, happy and productive employees

By Linda Janasz

Mindful management may be the most effective tool to develop and keep satisfied and productive employees. A recent article from Harvard Business Review stated that practicing mindfulness is essential to effective leadership.

Today, neuroscience supports the myriad benefits of meditation, including how it improves brain health by increasing the gray matter and reducing cortisol, the stress hormone that harms our bodies. However, not as much research has been done on the influence of one’s own mindfulness practice as a management tool. The question is: Can we really influence those around us by practicing this ancient contemplative art?

Researchers from Mindfulness, an academic journal, looked at the impact that managerial mindful skills had on a team’s productivity and satisfaction between 100 superiors and subordinates in a variety of companies. In addition to evaluating the quality of mindful behavior among the managers, they also looked at the employees’ satisfaction, life-work relationship and productivity.

The researchers found that the more mindful managers had employees with better performance, productivity, overall job satisfaction and workplace engagement. These managers cultivated teams that were more caring, considerate of others and more energized. These teams also demonstrated improved communication, even during disagreements, and experienced less negative mood effects.

After I conducted Mindfulness Leadership Training at MassMutual South Florida, participants reported increased satisfaction, connection and motivation among their employees. “These tools have helped me tremendously,” says Rik Karchefsky, senior vice president. “From a management standpoint, I believe that we have a responsibility to empower our associates to be peak performers in all areas, and these techniques allow you to be where you want and need to be as a leader.”

Simply practicing mindfulness and meditation – focusing the mind and increasing nonjudgmental present awareness – not only enhances our capacity to embrace change and manage stress, but also enhances employee engagement and well-being.

Jack Welch, an author and former GE chairman and CEO, says, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

Practicing mindfulness trains individuals to improve self-management and emotional modulation, increasing their ability to be more responsive and less reactive. Most importantly, it enables them to consistently support, motivate and inspire others.

Does this mean that every company should have mindfulness training? Very likely.

Linda Janasz is a researcher, mindfulness practitioner, transformational coach, keynote speaker, and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) and holds a Ph.D. She developed a six-week Mindfulness, Meditation and Movement (MMM) Training program that has helped thousands of individuals in and out of the workplace. Visit mindmedmove.com for more information and upcoming programs.

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