LEARNING & DEVELOPING WELLMINDFULNESS FOR STAFF LEARNING & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
Boosting productivity is a concern of every workplace. The issue of productivity embraces a whole range of human psychological skills. This includes being more in the present to focus on the job at hand, making decisions that enhance job efficiency, thinking creatively to spot better solutions and leading others to be better workers. Mindfulness has been proven to bring changes in all of these areas.
Attention and focus
The mind wanders for 47 per cent of the working day, on average, according to researchers at Harvard University. They concluded that apart from making us less productive, a wondering mind is also a less happy mind.
Problem solving and decision making
‘Sunk-cost bias’ wastes time and costs businesses money. This is the “tendency to continue to keep driving a decision once an investment in money, effort, or time has been made.” Employees then invest more wasted resources unconsciously trying to make a bad decisions good, ignoring more productive solutions to the problem. The same old unworkable strategies are used yet again.
Innovation and creativity for business competitiveness
If staff overuse specific problem solving strategies, or take decisions are based on previous decisions, creativity is stifled. Staff may need to learn how to take account of new information to bring fresh innovative ideas to the organisation.
Leaders on overtaxed schedules present a risk. Rushed thinking becomes narrow and uncreative, leads to careless decisions and reactive behaviours. These choices could harm the business, staff and the community. Leaders need focus for clarity, an open mind for innovation and excellent people skills to lead by example.
Percentage waking day that the mind wanders
A SPACE FOR INNOVATION
“Problems can not be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
HOW MINDFULNESS HELPS
Mindfulness trains the brain to concentrate and strengthens attention. This means that the mind wonders less and is more on the task at hand. People enter a ‘flow’ state of mind, giving a feeling of well-being. Staff are less distracted and more productive. And since an ‘un-wandering’ is a happier mind, morale increases while more gets done in less time.
Staff are less reactive to over-estimated and subjective perceptions of threat, which leads to avoidance and defensiveness. Mindfulness encourages an open and direct way of approaching difficulties with receptiveness. This eases creativity, engagement and problem solving. Mindfulness inspires curiosity of important new information, challenges preconceptions and supports more rational and proportionate decision making.
An open mindful brain has flexibility to step back from habitual thinking. This brings perspective and bigger-picture vantage points to view problems and opportunities. This promotes creative forward-thinking decision making. The larger picture also widens thinking from just the immediate threat bringing a calmer clarity under intense pressure.
Improved problem solving
fMRI scans in meditators and non-meditators showed that meditators activate different neural networks to regulate their emotions more efficiently. This improved beneficial monetary problem solving based on rational rather than emotional responses. Another study measured mindfulness and sunk-cost bias. For example, it is difficult to ignore expensive bad advice or to delete badly written text that has taken time to draft even though it would be better to start again. Such biases can cost businesses time, money, business and reputation.
Mindfulness can enhance attention
After just four days of meditation training, meditators were able to maintain focus and accurately retrieve information from working memory even under conditions that demanded a rapid response.
Mindful leadership gives the edge
More MBAs and organisational psychology courses now include mindfulness. Findings from the Institute of Mindful Leadership showed that:
- Mindfulness helped leaders create space for innovation 93%
- Mindfulness enhanced leaders ability to listen to themselves and others 89%
- Mindfulness helped leaders think strategically 70%
“It is particularly notable in this set of studies that increased resistance to the sunk-cost bias occurred after only a brief recorded mindfulness-meditation induction.” Psychological Science Journal
OTHER MINDFULNESS AT WORK PAGES…
If you would like to learn more about mindfulness in the workplace, please see a summary of the other pages below and links to take you to them. Please contact us with any specific questions you have.
MINDFULNESS & WORK OVERVIEW
THE OVERALL PICTURE
Mindfulness has drawn attention at the White House and 10 Downing Street, turned heads at the World Economic Forum and worked its way into the curricula of the world-famous business schools. A growing number of businesses are recognising what mindfulness has to offer and have been early adopters of mindfulness in the workplace. This includes Google, GlaxoSmithKline, KPMG, and PwC, Transport for London (TfL) and The Cabinet Office.
When pressure turns to stress, productivity plummets. Over time, a stressful workplace can tip into being a toxic environment. This increases risk of high absenteeism, valuable staff leaving and damage to the company reputation and brand. Mindfulness has strong evidence for reducing stress and improving mental health.
Companies rely on the companionship of its employees to be healthy organisations. Communication is at the heart of good business and strong professional relationships. Without good staff relationships, stress soars, productivity plummets and creativity is stifled. Mindfulness improves the ability to work well with others even if the relationship is fraught with difficulty.