Leadership: Train your mind

Q. How can mindfulness help me lead?
 - 
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A. Many find that beginning the day with 20 minutes of gratitude and mindful awareness helps the balance of the day flow in a more calming way. Taking 20 minutes every morning to “practice” mindfulness improves our ability to focus and think clearly as leaders so that we can make the complex decisions required of us. Now, more than ever, leaders need to train themselves to be fully present.

Many companies today promote mindful practices to improve the health and decision making of their leaders. Google, Blackrock and Goldman Sachs led the way by offering courses in mindfulness not only to their leaders, but also to their employees. Janice Marturano of General Mills was so successful in mindfulness training that she started the Institute for Mindful Leadership.

This mind training, which includes meditation, can change the composition of your mind. These changes take the brain away from anger and anxiety and toward a sense of calm and wellbeing. According to Daniel Goleman, the father of Emotional Intelligence, “one way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.” This is mindfulness.

Companies are seeing the training of mindfulness as a competitive advantage.  A study conducted in partnership between Aetna and Duke University found these practices decreased stress levels by 28%, improved sleep quality 20%, reduced pain 19%, and improved productivity 62 minutes per employee per week. As a result, Aetna now offers similar mindfulness programs to all employees and its insured
customers.

Kelly Franko is owner of Advantage Training & Coaching Solutions. Reach her at kelly.franko@aol.com.