Mindfulness starts with monotasking

 Mindful Leaders or mindfulness in leadership is seen as the current leadership behaviour most in demand.

‘Some of the recent difficulties of Hewlett-Packard, British Petroleum, CEOs of failed Wall Street firms, and dozens of leaders who failed in the post-Enron era are examples of this.(lack of mindfulness)’*

Q: What is mindful leadership, and what are its benefits?

A: Mindfulness is a state of being fully present, aware of oneself and other people, and sensitive to one’s reactions to stressful situations. Leaders who are mindful tend to be more effective in understanding and relating to others, and motivating them toward shared goals. Hence, they become more effective in leadership roles.*
Mindfulness isn’t new, many cultures have used it for hundreds of years and even in western businesses it has been celebrated. Daniel Goleman wrote about it in 1990 although he called it Emotional Intelligence and many now see this as more important in a leader than IQ.
Now cast you mind back to your working day; did you or people around you?
  • check emails when talking to someone on the phone
  • constantly think about all the work you had to get through when you were at a meeting
  • do work when on a conference call
  • Flick between tasks due to interruptions
  • eat lunch,work, text, check social media
  • MY FAVOURITE sit in a course or meeting glued to your blackberry only engaging when it suited you

This is not an exhaustive list of multitasking, please add your own examples

What’s more is that Clifford Nass, a researcher at Stanford assumed that those who multitask heavily will nonetheless develop some other outstanding skills. He thought that they will be amazing at 1. filtering information, 2. being very fast at switching between the tasks and 3. keeping a high working memory.

He found that none of these 3 points are true:

We were absolutely shocked. We all lost our bets. It turns out multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking.

People who multitask a lot are in fact a lot worse at filtering irrelevant information and also perform significantly worse at switching between task, compared to singletaskers.

Now most studies all point towards the fact that multitasking is very bad for us. We get less productive and skills like filtering out irrelevant information decline.

So before you book your meditation classes (I thoroughly recommend meditation but that’s another post). its back to basics. Plan our tasks. Be present. Complete one thing at a time and do it well. Pay attention to the people around us that we are interacting with…really listen and observe before taking action or speaking.

The number 1 complaint I have on Change courses is that people don’t feel they are being listened to. Such a simple habit / behaviour to help people through change.

If you would like to know more about mindfulness you could start here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wherever-You-There-Are-Mindfulness/dp/0749925485

* extract from HBR

Let me know your thoughts in the comments box

A great TED video about monotasking is below.

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Entering the matrix

 

The world of business is changing rapidly with more and more companies

  • Cutting back on travel
  • Manager’s having ‘virtual teams’
  • Training  conducted by webinar or YouTube style training video
  • The rise of teleconference and video conferencing

All of this makes sense in the tough economic times we live in; however, how often are people receiving training not only on the technical side but the behavioural side of using virtual meeting technologies?

Being competent in using the software isn’t enough e.g. PowerPoint was launched in 1990… nearly 22 years ago, how often do you see really good presentations using PowerPoint?

Running an effective meeting face to face is a skill and requires real leadership to keep people engaged, feel comfortable to speak up and share ideas, ultimately reach the objectives of the meeting and leave motivated.

So I thought I would share some tips for virtual meetings

  • Start with a small team in the company and give them the support and development to become really effective at using the software and the identifying the behavioural aspects that really work; then let it go viral in your workplace
  • Have short, concise objectives for the meeting and display these throughout so that the attendees know what’s next and how much progress you have made. Send these out before hand to allow time for preparation
  • People’s attention will waiver after slide 3 on a webinar so make it interactive with polls, questions, whiteboard etc.
  • The chairperson should be there 15 minutes before the start and know how to mute and unmute
  • Facilitate discussion by using open questions followed by people’s names
  • Be aware when some delegates are one room together and the rest are virtual e.g. the whispered side chat in the room is distracting and can create them and us mentality. If there is silence in the room full of people narrate what is going on
  • Set expectations or ground rules if its the first time everyone has got together using this medium e.g. everyone gets a chance to speak, participation,use your name when joining the discussion (webinar / teleconference)
  • Be aware of background noise
  • Stay out of emails and turn mobiles of, unless you would normally do this in a normal face to face meeting?

These are only a selection of tips, please feel free to add any amusing anecdotes, pet peeves or tips in the comment section