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October 4, 2016

Here, Now - the Mindful Manager – #MTtalk

Yolande Conradie

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"Mindfulness means paying a attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." - Jon Kabat-Zinn

Just for the fun of it, I recently tried to keep track of how many times I looked at my smartphone over a two-day period. After about half a day, I didn't feel like carrying on with my experiment. By 1 o'clock in the afternoon, I had already looked at my phone 32 times! By the end of two days, I had clocked up 150 logins.

I felt like a slave to my gadgets - until I did a quick search on the internet to find out how often other people do it. The average is about 110 times a day.

I read a while back that attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. It is a skill and an art to pay attention to what needs your attention right now. Although I felt slightly better knowing that I looked at my phone less than the average person, it caused me to wonder how much attention I really pay to the world around me.

This brings me to the question: Is your mind full or are you mindful? If it's the first one, you're probably operating on autopilot. If it's the second one, you may still have a lot going on but you spend focused time on each activity at the right time and in the right place. And that's what we learned more about during our #MTtalk Twitter chat on Friday September 30, when we discussed "Here, Now - The Mindful Manager."

Here are the questions we asked and some answers from participants:

Questions about "Here, Now - The Mindful Manager"

Question 1: What is mindfulness?

@jkrewardian: Mindfulness is a high state of awareness of your surroundings, community and behaviors - so that you're living in the moment.

@TwisterKW: Being aware of self, of others and of the moment.

Question 2: Does one need to meditate to be mindful? Please explain.

Most of our participants said that it's not necessary, but it helps to heighten your awareness.

@jeremypmurphy: No, not necessarily. But meditation builds a much stronger foundation for being mindful, being fully present.

@temekoruns: It's unique. Some need guided assistance while others can be always tuned into being reflective of behaviors and purpose.

Question 3: What negative connotations does the word "mindfulness" have?

@MicheleDD_MT: Some view it as unproductive – wasting time, especially in results oriented environments that thrive on multitasking.

@Dwyka_Consult: Some people think ‪mindfulness is very touchy-feely and not work related.

Question 4: What are the costs of not being mindful at work?

The cost of not being mindful at work seems to be far-reaching. It has an influence on goals, productivity, and most of all on our work relationships.

@Midgie_MT: Costs … errors, misunderstandings, wasted time to redo things, responding inappropriately, or even loss of a client.

@MikeBarzacchini: Every moment I'm not mindful, I drift farther from my goals.

@sabywaraich: Some costs of not being mindful at work: Disengagement, loss of trust, weak leadership, loss of productivity.

@Yolande_MT: If you're not mindful you may not notice subtle shifts in the mood or motivation of your team.

Question 5: How can you tell if someone is being mindful? What are some of the signs?

@amypen64: They stop and talk to you. They don't touch the phone or computer. They give their all.

@MindfulPathway: I can feel it - I sense the focus, the attention, the care, the ease, the grounding, it oozes from the pores of their skin.

Question 6: What might some personal benefits be to a manager who is mindful at work?

@sistadahealer: They are able to better read and understand their employees/clients; connect with their teams/clients better.

@tweetgayusri: The mindful manager knows how to deal with their emotions constructively.

@harrisonia: Personal benefits to a mindful manager at work = having an accurate sense of the current, unspoken team climate, good or bad.

Question 7: How might a manager's mindfulness benefit his/her team?

@Ganesh_Sabari: Every team member evolves to become an effective manager in one's own right.

@LovelyMKumar: A mindful manager would be able to gauge his/her team’s needs. Even psycho and social needs.

@risktakermdu: Think as leader, not as a boss because you will be open for ideas and innovations that will benefit business.

It turns out that mindfulness is a great tool in a manager's toolkit!

Question 8: What do you do differently in your job when you're mindful?

From what participants said, it seems that we do almost everything better when we're mindful.

@OrganicLeaderVB: Listen and use words that create bridges not walls.

@danceswithlyons: Listen better, laugh more, breathe more easily, lead from my strengths, trust myself.

@geo_goud: Everything is different! You work better and faster, you have better communication with the team, reduce the stress.

@ZalkaB: You prioritize, you effectively communicate and you're able to deliver your best work and have the best attitude if problems occur.

Question 9: How can you be mindful in a workplace culture that doesn't recognize its benefits?

@drsonakaushal: Sharing the knowledge about it and caring makes the difference NOT expecting it from others.

@jeremypmurphy: Have the courage to be contrarian: the workplace will still be enriched by mindfulness, educate others, teach/coach.

Question 10: How might you help an employee become more mindful?

@BrainBlenderTec: By building a corporate culture of understanding and presence.

@SAPTAonline: You can help someone become mindful by teaching them about grace, with grace.

@MikeBarzacchini: Practice and model: Open door, open mind, open dialogue.

Our Twitter poll this week is about the link between mindfulness and creativity in the workplace. Please cast your vote here:

Next time, on #MTtalk...

We've learned that mindfulness creates an atmosphere of openness, comfort, learning, and sharing. In a relaxed, calm atmosphere, we make it easier for people to find creative ways of dealing with challenges. On October 14, we're discussing "Sparking Creativity in the Workplace." As always, it will take place at 1 pm EST (6 pm BST).

We'd love you to join us on Twitter to learn more about how you solve problems in a creative way.

To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on "All Tweets" and you'll be able to follow the live chat feed. To join the conversation, simply include #MTtalk in your tweet and it will show up in the chat feed.


In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about being a mindful manager, here are some resources:

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