Build Better Leaders with Mindfulness

Build Better Leaders with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

for leaders, the biggest benefit of mindfulness is its direct impact on the development of emotional intelligence.” – Monica Thakrar

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for not only to productivity in the workplace but also to our psychological and physical health. Mindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace and they have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This, in turn, improves productivity and the well-being of the employees. As a result, many businesses have incorporated mindfulness practices into the workday.

 

Mindfulness may also help to promote leadership in the workplace. It can potentially do so by enhancing emotion regulation, making the individual better able to recognize, experience, and adaptively respond to their emotions, and making the leader better able to listen to and to understand the needs and emotion of the workers they lead. There has been, however, little research attention to the effects of mindfulness on leadership.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindful Leader Development: How Leaders Experience the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Leader Capabilities.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A), Rupprecht and colleagues recruited leaders in work environments who had completed a 12-week Workplace Mindfulness Training program 6 months to a year previously. They were questioned about their perceptions of the effectiveness of the program on themselves and their leadership with semi-structured interviews over the phone lasting about an hour. Responses were transcribed and subjected to qualitative thematic analysis.

 

The leaders’ responses indicated that the training helped them in mindfully managing tasks including focusing on single tasks, managing distractions particularly phone messages, and using breaks and transitions to meditate of become aware of their bodies. The training also helped them with caring for themselves including recognizing when they were tired and taking a break and sharing their feelings and state with others. It also helped them self-reflect and recognize how their state affects the people around them.

 

The leaders’ responses indicated that the training helped them become better leaders. It provided skills in relating to others, including deep listening, being less reactive to their ow emotions or emotions of others, being less judgmental, taking themselves less seriously, and being more responsive to the needs of their followers. The training also helped them to better adapt to changing situations, including acceptance of the changes and adaptively searching for solutions.

 

Finally, the leaders’ responses indicated that the effects that the training had on them spilled over to affect the organization and the processes used at work. It provided them with a new basis for communications with other team members. They began to include mindfulness practices in team meetings. This led to identification of long meeting as problematic and changing the structure of meetings.

 

These results are subjective and there weren’t any objective measures supplied to verify the reports. But the leaders’ responses were very encouraging and suggested that the Workplace Mindfulness Training program is very beneficial and affects a wide variety of work behaviors and attitudes. Although there were no measures of productivity changes, the nature of the effects of mindfulness training suggest that productivity would improve, burnout would be reduced, and work satisfaction would increase.

 

So, build better leaders with mindfulness.

 

“To become a mindful leader, you need to make this a daily introspective act. As you do so, you’ll worry less about day-to-day problems and focus on what is most important. As you become more mindful, you will be a more effective, successful and fulfilled leader.” – Bill George

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rupprecht S, Falke P, Kohls N, Tamdjidi C, Wittmann M and Kersemaekers W (2019) Mindful Leader Development: How Leaders Experience the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Leader Capabilities. Front. Psychol. 10:1081. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081

 

Mindfulness training is a novel method of leader development but contrary to its rising popularity, there is a scarcity of research investigating how mindfulness training may affect leader capabilities. To gain a better understanding of the potential of a new research field, qualitative research is advantageous. We sought to understand how senior leaders experience the impact of mindfulness training in their work lives and leadership ability. The sample comprised 13 leaders (n = 11 male) working in six organizations that completed a 10-week workplace mindfulness training (WMT). We conducted semi-structured interviews 6 to 12 months following course completion. We analyzed the data following thematic analysis steps and based on these findings, we devised a framework of the perceived impact of mindfulness training on self-leadership and leadership capabilities. We show that WMT exhibited impact on three self-leadership capacities: mindful task management, self-care and self-reflection and two leadership capacities: relating to others and adapting to change. Participants’ recounts additionally suggested effects may expand to the level of the team and the organization. We show that WMT may be a promising tool for self-directed leadership development and outline avenues for future research.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A

 

Improve Mindfulness by Interacting with Trustworthy People

Improve Mindfulness by Interacting with Trustworthy People

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When deciding in whom to place trust, trust the guilt-prone.” – Emma Levine

 

It is well established that engaging in contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi produces increased mindfulness. But the level of mindfulness varies among people who do not engage in contemplative practice; some being high in mindfulness, while others are very low. So, there must be other factors that contribute to the level of mindfulness. To some extent inheritance (the genes) affects an individual’s mindfulness. But what transpires in the environment during an individual’s life may also be important.

 

Being able to trust other people may be important in developing mindfulness. In today’s Research News article “Does interacting with trustworthy people enhance mindfulness? An experience sampling study of mindfulness in everyday situations.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6485709/), Kudesia and Reina examine the relationships of interacting with trustworthy people with mindfulness. They recruited undergraduate students and had them complete measures of mindful attention and mindful metacognition (noticing their thoughts and feelings about experiences).

 

For 8 days the participants engaged in experience sampling where they received “prompts for experience sampling three times a day (9:30 AM, 2:30 PM, 7:30 PM) over their phone.” They rated their mindfulness and indicated if over the time since the last prompt whether they interacted with someone they deemed a leader or a teammate and if so to describe the interaction, rate the trustworthiness of the leader or teammate, and rate their satisfaction with the interaction. “Common interactions with leaders entailed managers, executives, and recruiters in the workplace, coaches of sports teams, and professors, academic advisors, and residence hall advisors in the university. Common interactions with teammates entailed fellow members of workplace teams, volunteer organizations, sports teams, and class project teams.”

 

They found that the students cooperated for the most part, responding to 75% of the prompts. They separately analyzed responses on what they called a particularized pathway where the particular interactions reported to the prompts were associated with the mindfulness at that same time. There were no significant relationships between trustworthiness and mindfulness for this pathway for either leaders or teammates. They also analyzed responses on what they called a generalized pathway where the average trustworthiness over all interactions were associated with the average overall mindfulness. This produced significant positive relationships between trustworthiness and mindful attention and mindful metacognition for both interactions with leaders and with teammates.

 

The results indicate that overall, in general, when mindfulness is high so is the trustworthiness of both leaders and teammates. These are correlative relationships so it cannot be determined causation. Being mindful of experiences may make one feel that the other person is more trustworthy. That is being cognizant of what’s transpiring in the present moment may focus attention on the other person making them seem more trustworthy. Conversely, being with a trustworthy individual may relax the individual so they become more focused on the present moment (mindful). Finding someone else untrustworthy may help to shift thinking to the future consequences of that untrustworthiness or to ruminating about past occurrences that elicited the feelings of untrustworthiness. This would reduce mindfulness.

 

So, improve mindfulness by interacting with trustworthy people.

 

“He who does not trust enough will not be trusted.” — Lao Tzu

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kudesia, R. S., & Reina, C. S. (2019). Does interacting with trustworthy people enhance mindfulness? An experience sampling study of mindfulness in everyday situations. PloS one, 14(4), e0215810. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0215810

 

Abstract

Mindfulness is known to increase after meditation interventions. But might features of our everyday situations outside of meditation not also influence our mindfulness from moment-to-moment? Drawing from psychological research on interpersonal trust, we suggest that interacting with trustworthy people could influence the expression of mindfulness. And, extending this research on trust, we further suggest that the influence of trustworthy social interactions on mindfulness could proceed through two pathways: a particularized pathway (where specific interactions that are especially high (or low) in trustworthiness have an immediate influence on mindfulness) or a generalized pathway (where the typical level of trustworthiness a person perceives across all their interactions exerts a more stable influence on their mindfulness). To explore these two pathways, study participants (N = 201) repeatedly reported their current levels of mindfulness and their prior interactions with trustworthy leaders and teammates during their everyday situations using an experience sampling protocol (n¯ = 3,605 reports). Results from mixed-effects models provide little support for the particularized pathway: specific interactions with trustworthy leaders and teammates had little immediate association with mindfulness. The generalized pathway, however, was strongly associated with mindfulness—and remained incrementally predictive beyond relevant individual differences and features of situations. In sum, people who typically interact with more trustworthy partners may become more mindful.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6485709/

 

Improve Leadership with Mindfulness

Improve Leadership with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Truth be told, most of the discussions we have with others aren’t really mindful. Mindful discussion means shedding attention and awareness on our words — it’s rarely what we do, as our ego is consistently involved.” – Elyane Youssef

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for not only to productivity in the workplace but also to our psychological and physical health. Mindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace and they have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This, in turn, improves productivity and the well-being of the employees. As a result, many businesses have incorporated mindfulness practices into the workday.

 

Mindfulness may also help to promote leadership in the workplace. It can potentially do so by enhancing emotion regulation, making the individual better able to recognize, experience, and adaptively respond to their emotions, and making the leader better able to listen to and to understand the needs and emotion of the workers they lead and to communicate effectively. There has been, however, little research attention to the effects of mindfulness on leadership and the ability of the leader to communicate.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and Leadership: Communication as a Behavioral Correlate of Leader Mindfulness and Its Effect on Follower Satisfaction.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00667/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_951898_69_Psycho_20190404_arts_A), Arendt and colleagues recruited leaders and followers online from a variety of industries in Germany. Leaders completed an online measure of mindfulness. Their followers completed online measures of satisfaction with leader, follower satisfaction with leader’s communication, and follower’s perception of leader’s mindfulness in communications.

 

They found that the higher the leader’s mindfulness the higher the satisfaction with leader, follower satisfaction with leader’s communication, and follower’s perception of leader’s mindfulness in communications. A mediation analysis revealed that leader mindfulness was associated with higher follower’s perception of leader’s mindfulness in communications which, in turn, was associated with higher satisfaction with leader and follower satisfaction with leader’s communication.

 

These are interesting results but are correlative, so no definitive conclusions can be reached regarding causation. But the results suggest that mindfulness is an important characteristic for leaders in industry. When the leader is mindful, the followers find the leader’s communications mindful and when these communications are mindful they are associated with better overall satisfaction with the leader and the leader’s communication. These results, similar to prior research, suggest that mindfulness is important in the work environment, promoting well-being and productivity. This further suggests that “right communications” is important for leadership.

 

So, improve leadership with mindfulness.

 

When you are talking mindfully, you are conscious of the words you choose. You think before you speak and make a conscious decision to use your best communication in a respectful manner, even if it is a difficult situation. You are also mindful of your intention and aware of expectations that may or may not be met. When there is a situation that needs to be addressed, being mindful can produce a better outcome and prevent the communication from getting out of control.” – Melinda Fouts

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Arendt JFW, Pircher Verdorfer A and Kugler KG (2019) Mindfulness and Leadership: Communication as a Behavioral Correlate of Leader Mindfulness and Its Effect on Follower Satisfaction. Front. Psychol. 10:667. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00667

 

In recent years, the construct of mindfulness has gained growing attention in psychological research. However, little is known about the effects of mindfulness on interpersonal interactions and social relationships at work. Addressing this gap, the purpose of this study was to investigate the role of mindfulness in leader–follower relationships. Building on prior research, we hypothesize that leaders’ mindfulness is reflected in a specific communication style (“mindfulness in communication”), which is positively related to followers’ satisfaction with their leaders. We used nested survey data from 34 leaders and 98 followers from various organizations and tested mediation hypotheses using hierarchical linear modeling. Our hypotheses were confirmed by our data in that leaders’ self-reported mindfulness showed a positive relationship with several aspects of followers’ satisfaction. This relationship was fully mediated by leaders’ mindfulness in communication as perceived by their followers. Our findings emphasize the potential value of mindfulness in workplace settings. They provide empirical evidence for a positive link between leaders’ dispositional mindfulness and the wellbeing of their followers, indicating that mindfulness is not solely an individual resource but also fosters interpersonal skills. By examining leaders’ mindfulness in communication as an explanatory process, we created additional clarification about how leaders’ mindfulness relates to followers’ perceptions, offering a promising starting point for measuring behavioral correlates of leader mindfulness.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00667/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_951898_69_Psycho_20190404_arts_A

 

Develop Transformational Leadership with Mindfulness

Develop Transformational Leadership with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

there is a definite impact on leadership skills by practicing mindfulness, such as increase in productivity, decision-making, listening,, and reduction in stress levels. But for leaders, the biggest benefit of mindfulness is its direct impact on the development of emotional intelligence.” – Monica Thakrar

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for not only to productivity in the workplace but also to our psychological and physical health. Mindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace and they have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This, in turn, improves productivity and the well-being of the employees. As a result, many businesses have incorporated mindfulness practices into the workday.

 

Mindfulness may also help to promote leadership in the workplace. It can potentially do so by enhancing emotion regulation, making the individual better able to recognize, experience, and adaptively respond to their emotions, and making the leader better able to listen to and to understand the needs and emotion of the workers they lead. There has been, however, little research attention to the effects of mindfulness on leadership.

 

In today’s Research News article “When Mindfulness Interacts With Neuroticism to Enhance Transformational Leadership: The Role of Psychological Need Satisfaction.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02588/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_862317_69_Psycho_20190101_arts_A ), Decuypere and colleagues recruited nurses who were in leadership positions (head nurses) in nursing care facilities. They completed measures of mindfulness, transformational leadership, need satisfaction, emotional stability (neuroticism), autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of transformational leadership, autonomy, competence, and relatedness and the lower the levels of neuroticism. Conversely, the higher the levels of neuroticism the lower the levels of mindfulness, transformational leadership, autonomy, competence, and relatedness. They then examined whether the association of mindfulness with transformational leadership was mediated by mindfulness’ association with the other variables. They found that the association of mindfulness with transformational leadership was completely mediated by its associations with need satisfaction and competence, and partially mediated by its association with autonomy and relatedness. They further demonstrated that neuroticism affected these relationships such that when neuroticism was higher there was a stronger relationship between mindfulness and need satisfaction and competence than when neuroticism was low.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that mindfulness affects the ability of head nurses to be transformational leaders and that this is amplified when there are low levels of emotional stability. Furthermore, these results suggest that mindfulness is associated with the nurses’ ability to regulate their emotions and this is what makes them better leaders. Hence, when they lack emotional stability, mindfulness has even great impacts.

 

This all suggests that the ability to lead others emanates from one’s ability to deal with one’s own emotions and this is strongly influenced by mindfulness. It has been well established that mindfulness produces a greater ability to experience and adaptively respond to emotions, emotion regulation. What is new here is that this is related to leadership.

 

So, develop transformational leadership with mindfulness.

 

The key to effective leadership is the ability to integrate your head (IQ) with your heart (EQ). . . Our hearts are where essential leadership qualities like passion, compassion and courage reside. By practicing mindfulness, mindful leaders exhibit high levels of self-awareness and intentionality in their actions.” – Bill George

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Decuypere A, Audenaert M and Decramer A (2018) When Mindfulness Interacts With Neuroticism to Enhance Transformational Leadership: The Role of Psychological Need Satisfaction. Front. Psychol. 9:2588. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02588

 

Transformational leadership is a popular and well-researched leadership style. Although much is understood about its positive consequences, less research has focused on antecedents of transformational leadership. In this research we draw upon self-determination theory and incorporate a self-regulatory approach to investigate if and how leader mindfulness influences transformational leadership. The analyses show that autonomy, competence and relatedness need satisfaction mediate between mindfulness and transformational leadership, indicating that mindfulness is associated with psychological need satisfaction. Furthermore, the data show that neuroticism moderates the relationship between mindfulness and relatedness need satisfaction. Generally speaking, the association between mindfulness and relatedness need satisfaction is positive. When neuroticism is also high, mindfulness has the largest impact. Or conversely, when emotional stability is high, mindfulness has the smallest association with relatedness need satisfaction. This is in line with evidence suggesting that mindfulness may primarily exert its influence through emotional self-regulation. Furthermore, the moderated mediation model for relatedness need satisfaction is significant, indicating that neuroticism is a boundary condition for the indirect effect of mindfulness on transformational leadership through relatedness need satisfaction.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02588/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_862317_69_Psycho_20190101_arts_A