The Mind of the Leader
Understand the Benefits of Mindfulness
While Jacqueline has spent over a decade researching mindfulness, she’s actually been practicing it for over 20 years. When she started out in her career with Deloitte, her aim was to be a high performer. Jacqueline noticed that, due to her personal practice of training her mind to be more calm, more focused and more clear, she was well-equipped for whatever happened in that fast-paced environment. “It was something that was a real personal advantage for me, as I saw myself rising up through the ranks and continuing to experience more complexity and more demands in my role,” she says.
She realized that mindfulness wasn’t just something that was beneficial to her on a personal level. “This is actually something that I think can be so beneficial for all of us in the workplace.”
Practice Simple Mindfulness Strategies
Mindfulness isn’t a complex process that requires extensive training. In fact, Jacqueline suggests one simple mindfulness strategy to practice: “Turn off all notifications.” She admits that may be a daunting task for most people, who may worry that they’ll miss an important text or email. That’s because we think it’s beneficial to receive notifications in real time to stay abreast of whatever is happening. However, the opposite is true. “Every time we are distracted by a pop-up message, it takes away our focus. It makes it more difficult to get back to what we are doing, and it actually increases our stress levels.”
Jacqueline’s book “The Mind of the Leader” is the result of a two-year research study of 250 C-suite executives and 35,000 leaders at different levels in 72 countries. The research reveals three qualities that leaders need to survive and thrive, and to create more engagement and productivity. “It was more than just mindfulness. It’s so critical for leaders to be able to be present. And if you, as a leader, are not present with your people, you’re wasting your time and you’re wasting theirs,” she says.
In addition to mindfulness and presence, leaders need compassion. Look at ways you can be beneficial to your team and colleagues. Most leaders believe that they do this. But when leaders are under pressure, they might ask, “How are you today?” without really even wanting an answer.
That’s why it’s important to really make time to listen to and demonstrate care for others. And this does more than just build trust and engagement. “The research shows that it actually helps us be more creative,” she says. “We get more from each other when we’re together, when it’s about the team and when we really care about each other.”
Author: Meghan Biro