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
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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.