4 Ways Meditation Will Improve Your Leadership
Is meditation the key to personal and professional success? Is it the gateway to our inner stability and true peace, love and happiness? Can learning to settle the mind bring you clarity, wisdom and give you what it takes to be an exceptional leader of people and business?
There is a growing body of evidence and high profile supporters to suggest that it is. It is no longer the realm of hippies, Buddhist monks and the enlightened few.
Everyone from Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Hugh Jackman to Rupert Murdoch and Oprah are doing it and attributing their health, happiness and business success to the ancient art.
I am no expert and I am relevantly new to the magical world of meditation but I am however a convert.
The benefits to me are obvious. On the days I manage to calve out out some time (even as little as 10 minutes) to meditate I feel calmer, my mind is quieter and I feel more positive and alive.
The evolution of brain science particularly over the last 10 to 15 years has produced clear and exciting scientific evidence that demonstrates the plasticity of the brain. We now have proof, thanks to modern technology, that shows that meditation and the powerful state of “mindfulness” can reduce anxiety and worry, decrease negative thoughts and expand our thinking and productivity.
Here are 4 ways that meditation can have a positive impact on your effectiveness as a leader.
Improved Focus and concentration
Focus and concentration is the foundation for productivity and getting great work done. With the increasing volume of work expected of us all, developing an ability to stay focused on a task while surrounded by the ever present interruptions from our smart phones, laptops and people generally wanting a piece of you, is key.
We can not increase the number of hours we have in the day to get stuff done but we can increase our ability to get more done in the time we have. As little as just 11 hours of meditation has shown to create structural changes in the part of the brain that is involved in maintaining our focus and concentration.
Creativity and Problem Solving
Have you ever tried to solve a problem when you feel stressed and overwhelmed? Most of us have! The noise and clutter that takes over our brain prevents clear thinking, snuffs out all creativity and often renders us incapable of any action, let alone the type of action that will have you seen as the exceptional leader that you truly are when you are at your best.
We make our most intelligent decisions when we are in some state of internal peace and calm. Research has found that meditation not only quietens the mind but also promotes the type of thinking that allows new and creative ideas to be generated.
Less Stress and Anxiety
In today’s fast paced, ever changing, always on corporate environment, chronic low grade stress and anxiety just seem part of the deal. But we never perform at our best when we are stressed and anxious.
Repeated studies have demonstrated that meditation can rewire how the brain responds to stress. It helps us to pay attention to the present moment, stay connected to our feelings and emotions and remain calm when faced with highly stressful situations.
Boost Social Connection and Empathy
Research has shown that social connection, empathy and compassion, all critical elements of communication and relationship building, are higher in those who practice meditation regularly. Mindfulness not only increases our self awareness, it also raises our awareness of the impact we have on other people feelings and emotions.
With the latest Gallop poll research revealing that less than a quarter of all Australians are actually fully engaged in their work, any leader who can be more present with their team and build high team engagement and effectiveness will be in high demand.
Thinking it might be worth giving meditation a go?
Now before you think that you need to head to India to an ashram to learn to meditate then think again. Even just committing to a few minutes of quiet time where you get present to your breath is a worthwhile start.
For me, I find following a recorded guided meditation works best. One free app I have found to be good is by Headspace or you might like to try the 21 day free course – Manifesting True Success with Oprah and Deepak.
Regardless what type of meditation you choose, committing to regular practise of mindfulness will help you to clear your mind of the noise, clutter and needless worries, nurture passion for your work and compassion for others, and develop the ability to empower the people in your organisation.