I started facilitating in an era when even emotional intelligence was seen to be too “fuzzy” to be taken seriously in the workplace. In the 90’s it was really tough going to sell “soft skills” into organisations. Thankfully this has changed radically. Most managers have seen and understood the value of emotional intelligence and it is now a common term.
But “Spiritual Intelligence” is still a rather sticky topic.
I sometimes introduced meditation into workshops disguised as relaxation or breathing exercises or even stress management strategies. And even so, some people will ask if this is some kind of eastern religion that I am asking them to practice. But, I predict this will change. Even Harvard University now includes mindfulness meditation as part of their authentic leadership programs.
Rather than imagining your employees sitting around in robes and malas, saying ohm and chanting mantras, lets take a look at the real value awareness can bring.
Why you do the things you do
SQ offers clarity of purpose. Are you working just to make money or are you and your team also making meaning? Are you able to express and live your core values in your office?
Work life balance
Do you take the time to stop and take stock? Often we spend too much time and energy being busy in our heads. Of course our mental and intellectual capacity brings value, but the other aspects of a balanced life (physical, emotional and spiritual) bring great value to our work life. In the years that I worked as a Hospice care giver supporting those with terminal disease I never heard anyone facing death say they should have worked harder.
Burnout is not very profitable. And if you think you are too busy to relax – try fitting a heart attack into your schedule. Meditation and simple techniques like focusing on our breath can bring amazing benefits to our health and well being by reducing stress levels.
Are you where you are?
When we track our thinking, we start to notice how often our thoughts are either in the past or in the future. Meditation or mindfulness helps us to direct our energy to the only point where we have power – right NOW. Present mindedness keeps us focused on the task at hand.
Get out of the vortex
Repetitive purposeless thinking becomes a trap. Worry thoughts are like spirals and the more we worry, the harder it is to escape the vortex. When we learn to quiet the chatter of the mind, we are able to focus on that which needs to be noticed in that specific moment.
Seeing the wood for the trees
Clear seeing is a byproduct of meditation. Lets suppose someone walks into your space and looks at you with a frown. If you are like most people your mind will use this as an opportunity to get busy and within a split second your thoughts have begun to calculate what could be wrong. If that person is your manager you might even be thinking: “What have I done?” Clear seeing implies that I simply see a person with a frown who looked in my direction. I am able to respond rather than react.
I will write more at another time about some techniques we can use to develop mindfulness and awareness.
For a brilliant article on mindfulness and leadership, follow this link:
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