Mindful Management: guru or gimmick?

Mindful Management: guru or gimmick?

Mindfulness is gaining momentum among scientists, psychologists and business leaders as a model of mind training to help us lead a meaningful life. Some believe it’s the latest fad that will pass with time. Others maintain that it offers the wisdom and compassion so greatly lacking in many models of leadership training.

Mindfulness – An Invitation To Explore Your Inner Relationships

At a basic level, if your understanding of management includes making the most of our human potential to do a job well, then mindfulness is an invitation to re-learn the relationship between what we feel, think and subsequently do. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what is driving the way we choose to manage, and to take stock of the story so far.

Mindfulness – Background

More scientifically speaking, this long-established system of mind training, 2 500 years approximately, rewires the brain to change our experience of every day events, especially those that cause us tension, ill-health and unhappiness. It has been described as a form of cognitive behavioural therapy, or hypnotherapy, but without the therapist.

Mindful Facilitation

That said, it does require a skilled and well regulated teacher to facilitate this re-learning process over the period of 8 weeks of daily mindfulness practices, to ensure this subtle and sensitive training model follows the guidelines set out by the UK Network of Mindfulness Based Teacher Training Organisations.

Mindfulness Research 

One recent research report, The Mindful Leader *, concluded that an 8 week training programme, followed by 10 minutes of daily quality meditation practice, improved agility, emotion control and ability to empathise, thereby promoting collaboration and effective communication. This follows on the heels of scientific research that supports the view that the neuro-plasticity of the brain allows us to change our habitual responses for the better, by dint of intention, determination and courage.

Mindfulness and Management

So what’s this got to do with management? Well, if I may, I will share the vision of Professor Dame Carol Black, former government adviser on workplace wellbeing and current principal of Newnham College, who believes managers are the lynchpin to creating healthy workplaces by proactively engaging their teams in conversations about wellbeing, promoting good mental health and learning to become good listeners.

Mindful management is about developing the self-awareness to be able to engage in meaningful conversations, taking responsibility both for one’s own needs and those of the team, while having the emotional intelligence to manage conflict and boundaries. The mindful manager understands that the values, feelings and beliefs of the team will impact on their relationships, performance and ultimately wellbeing. S/he will have the competence and confidence to embark on a development journey with colleagues, with a clear sense of the managerial function, and its contribution to success

At Namasté Culture we run eight-week Mindfulness at Work training programmes and a 12 month Mindful Management training programme, integrating mindfulness principles and practices into the core functions of stress and performance management.

For more information contact David Lynch, Mindful Coach by email: david@namasteculture.co.uk or call 01954 267640

• The Mindful leader, developing the capacity for resilience and collaboration in complex times through mindfulness practice. (Reitz, Chaskalson, Olivier, Waller) Hult International Business School, UK, November 2016

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