Mindfulness At Work
April 8, 2014 4 Comments
Is it really possible to incorporate Mindfulness At Work? How can we be mindful when we’re running to meetings, writing proposals, helping clients or co-workers and conflict resolution?
I keep considering this question since I read post written by Joe Confino called: ‘Is mindfulness being corrupted by business and finance?’ The post extensively quotes Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist.
My response to Joe’s question is:
- “Yes – Mindfulness can be corrupted if businesses treat it like a coat of paint.
- No – Mindfulness cannot be corrupted if businesses embrace it as part of their corporate culture / values.
Mindfulness is not about sitting in a lotus position on the floor. It’s about getting in touch with yourself (first), and the people / world around you (second). This is where businesses benefit (as a tribe of people), and where each person can benefit (as an individual). As a corporate trainer I see businesses looking to Mindfulness At Work as a way to connect with their core values AND the employees, clients, suppliers, raw materials that they depend on… moving from speedy consumption to respectful, balanced sustainability.”
Definition Of Mindfulness
The root of Mindfulness is being aware, being empathetic and being ‘in’ relationship with whomever or whatever you are encountering… including yourself.
Why Is Mindfulness At Work Important?
We live in an environment where businesses are looking to deepen relationships / loyalty with employees and clients; that’s why it makes perfect sense that business leaders are looking at Mindfulness.
Executive Example: Arianna Huffington, the editor in chief of the Huffington Post discusses Mindfulness in her new book Thrive. Business leaders around the world including Chade-Meng Tan (from Google), and Mark Bertolini (from Aetna) are introducing Mindfulness At Work as well as within their own lives.
There are many competitive advantages for individuals and organizations. A short list includes:
- Active Listening / Mindful Listening
- Collaboration & Synergy
- Greater Creativity
- Greater Compassion (For Yourself & Others)
- Happiness (and Tools To Manage Sadness)
- Conflict Resolution
- Less Employee Turnover
- Fewer Employee Sick days
All of these advantages of Mindfulness At Work translate to greater community, respect, higher performance and lower overall costs.
Are You Ready To Include Mindfulness At Work?
But getting back to the essence of Joe’s question… Are business leaders corrupting the core Buddhist practice by focusing on the bottom-line benefits of mindfulness?
Thich Nhat Hanh answers this question in the article linked above. He says, “’True’ mindfulness, it does not matter if the original intention is triggered by wanting to be more effective at work or to make bigger profits. That is because the practice will fundamentally change their perspective on life as it naturally opens hearts to greater compassion and develops the desire to end the suffering of others.”
Connecting Mindfulness At Work In Your Life
Mindfulness can be an organizational philosophy – but to really become part of the corporate culture every employee has to embrace the practice… even at its most basic level. This means Mindfulness At Work must be encouraged, respected and supported at all leadership levels of the organization.
Mindfulness requires conscious effort. It’s being aware of yourself (first), and your surroundings (second), not letting your thoughts be distracted or controlled. Again, Mindfulness is not sitting in a lotus position on the floor, we can practice all the time – in meetings – waiting in lunch hour lineups – walking your dog in the morning – lying in bed.
In a post written by Arianna Huffington, Huffington wrote “There’s nothing touchy-feely about increased profits. This is a tough economy. … Stress-reduction and mindfulness don’t just make us happier and healthier, they’re a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one.“
Happy communicating and creating workplace harmony.
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