Mindful leadership in trying times

Dive deeper with Meico into how mindfulness can help your career. Register for Mindful Leadership in Trying Times.

As a nonprofit leader, you work hard to make a difference in the world. But chances are while you love what you do, you have too many things on your plate, are continually putting out fires, and never have enough time and resources to get everything done.

To top it all off, COVID-19 has disrupted your personal and professional life. And your role has likely changed dramatically as you grapple with how to provide essential services with little to no human contact.

If this sounds like you, you may be experiencing a classic example of mindless leadership or the application of yesterday’s routines, processes, and technology to today’s challenges. And given everything happening in the world right now, we can all think of examples of how that’s a recipe for disaster.

The good news is you’re not alone. I know because I used to be like you, and I’ve helped countless professionals just like you over the years.

During my previous career, I was often on the edge of burnout, trying to do my part to fulfill my organization’s vision of ending the HIV and hepatitis epidemics. There was never quite enough time and resources to get everything done.

Things eventually became so out of control that I was depressed, gained a ton of weight, and wasn’t eating or sleeping right. I spent many of my days moving through life on autopilot and being perpetually stressed and exhausted.

The Problem with Mindless Leadership

When we are mindless, we get comfortable and move out of alignment with our core values. We are paralyzed by change, uncertainty, and disruption. More importantly, we lose sight of the reason we do the work.

That’s why mindfulness, the mental state of non-judgemental self-awareness, is more critical than ever for leading with excellence in today’s world — both at home and at work.

Why Mindful Leadership Matters

More than two decades of research show that mindfulness is more than “woo-woo” or “nice to have.” It’s a critical organizational competency with proven long-term benefits.

When things get tough, mindful leaders are better able to take a step back, shift from being reactive to responsive, and take decisive action.

According to the Greater Good Science Center, mindfulness is scientifically proven to:

  • Sharpen attention
  • Increase resilience in the face of stress and conflict
  • Increase compassion
  • Improve mental health
  • Reduce psychological biases

Emily Rogers and Institute of Mindful Leadership also note that leaders who undergo mindful leadership training report:

  • They are better decision-makers, more engaged and productive, and more compassionate
  • Mindful leadership training positively impacted their ability to innovate (93%)
  • It made a difference in their ability to think strategically (70%)
  • They were more likely to respond with clarity, even under pressure (34%)

When leveraged in the leadership context, mindfulness is a powerful tool that allows us as leaders to bring our whole selves to our work and to make space for others to do the same. The result is more effective leaders who make a greater positive impact in the world. These qualities are even more critical when navigating through a crisis.

How to Get Started

While there are many frameworks for cultivating mindful leadership, here’s what I know to be the basics based on my experience training professionals from around the world:

  1. Know your intention — A mindful leader leads with the end in mind. Having a clear intention, whether for the direction of an organization or for a staff meeting, makes it easier to lead others and to stay on track when distractions arise.
  2. Have a vision — A mindful leader has a vision for how to get to the end in mind while remaining flexible with how things unfold.
  3. Communicate mindfully — A mindful leader listens deeply to what is and isn’t said with openness, curiosity, and nonjudgement and speaks with kindness, attention, compassion, and awareness.
  4. Be fully present — A mindful leader is present, self-aware, socially intelligent, and knows how to show up for their team.

Start your journey to being a more mindful leader by signing-up for my new course on Mindful Leadership in Trying Times. No matter your level or role in your organization, if you want to take your leadership to the next level, this course is for you.

See you in class!

Meico Marquette Whitlock
Speaker and Trainer on Mindfulness + Technology
Meico Marquette Whitlock is a digital wellness and leadership coach who liberates changemakers from work-life imbalance and technology overload through speaking, training, and coaching. Meico is the founder and CEO of Mindful Techie, author of the Intention Planner, and a certified mindfulness facilitator. He has worked with organizations such as Cigna, Greenpeace, and the World Wildlife Fund. He has been a featured speaker on ABC News, Fox 5, Radio One, and on the main stage at events such as the Nonprofit Technology Conference. Learn about Meico’s work at mindfultechie.com or connect with him on LinkedIn or Instagram.