Strong leadership is an act of balance. To ensure projects are successful, a team relies on guidance that is both emotionally and logically sound. When the going gets tough, it can be easy to lean to one side. A logic-driven leader might overlook a person's needs for the sake of task completion. While an emotionally-guided leader could focus too much on accommodating everyone that tasks start to slip through the cracks. That’s why truly effective, high performing teams require a balanced approach to leadership.
Emotional intelligence is one of the fastest growing job skills, according to the World Economic Forum. This skill has two sides. On one hand, it’s the the capacity to notice, control, and express your own emotions. On the other, it’s the ability to understand and respond appropriately to the emotions of others. The interesting thing is you can actually improve your emotional awareness by managing others.
Understanding Other Perspectives
When you’re managing a team of people, it’s important to understand and explore the perspectives that others bring to the table, even when you don’t agree. A lot of judgement comes from a place of misunderstanding, so instead of rejecting another person’s viewpoint, try putting yourself in their shoes. By challenging yourself to understand someone else's perspective, you are opening your mind to possibilities you may not have previously seen. It can also help you understand where your own beliefs and thoughts emerge from, which is key to self-awareness.
Expressing Genuine Interest
Expressing genuine interest in the lives of your team members has many benefits. You can ask how their weekend was, get to know their family life, or ask how their kids are. You could even get their thoughts on a certain idea or news story. By making a conscious effort to understand what someone else believes, thinks, or feels, you are developing your own capacity to understand emotion.
Part of leading others involves dealing with difficult times. These challenging times are inevitable - they are a part of life. Having to deal with these situations helps you become more emotionally aware. It challenges you to put your ego aside and have the tough conversation that needs to be had. Think about a time when you swept something under the rug instead of confronting the issue. As you become more emotionally aware, you begin to realize the difficult conversation often alleviates a lot of tension and misunderstanding. This in turn helps you to become even more emotionally aware.
Emotional awareness isn’t necessarily a skill people are born with, however, it’s a skill you can learn. A regular mindfulness practice will help you become aware of your emotions and connect with your team.
Using your skills and experience to help guide a group towards a common goal is what every mindful boss wants. Rallying meetings, organizing task lists, and keeping your team on track are all parts of being a great leader.
Did you know that making your team feel appreciated is just as important?
When working on a project, everyone on the team brings their own unique skill set to the table. Here are 3 tiny, yet fun gestures you can do to make each team member feel appreciated:
Grab Some Coffee
Ah, the nectar of the gods. A coffee machine or shop can be found at almost every workplace, and we all know how good that first sip feels. What’s even better than getting a coffee? When someone else grabs one for you. If you’re heading down to get a cup for yourself, try thinking about someone who might be tired, has been working really hard, or is a well-known coffee fanatic. Getting a team member a coffee can really make their day, and is a humble act that makes them feel cared for.
Talk About More Than Just Work
When it’s lunchtime, break time or there’s some down time, try striking up a conversation with someone you work with. If you’ve been with that team for a while, chances are you know the interests of a few people. If not, taking the time chat about non-work related interests can really humanize the work environment. Maybe they have an Avengers frame at their desk, or a picture of their fluffy dog. Maybe there is a great podcast that just came out, or a recent news story you could ask their opinion on. Whatever it may be, a quick chat between work periods helps people feel appreciated and interesting.
Send Them A Birthday Card
So many people underplay their birthdays. They come to work, don’t say a thing, and work just as if it were any other day. Giving someone a card on their birthday is a small gesture that really means a lot. If you’re better at writing your thoughts than saying them aloud, a card is also a great chance to write down a note of appreciation. A lot of workplaces keep birthdays on file, so you can always check there for the right date.
A team that feels appreciated does good work and is so much happier while doing so. Even the smallest gesture can have a huge impact on workplace morale and productivity - plus you’ll feel great too.
Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash
How does your company empower a more productive and happier workplace? Many thriving companies are using meditation to empower a community of happy and healthy employees.
Research suggests that meditation has many in-office health benefits - both mental and physical. Meditation has the power to reduce blood pressure, while easing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It reduces stress, improves listening skills, decision-making skills, and even boosts employee engagement.
Companies Embracing Meditation
Here are 6 NYC companies that are using meditation for a more productive and happier workplace:
When it comes to meditation, employees at Nike are encouraged to “just do it”. The company is very familiar with the fast pace of modern life. To help employees stay clear, focused, and calm in the workplace, in-office meditation and yoga classes are provided for free. In Nike’s New York office, you will find rooms dedicated to napping, praying, and of course, meditating.
Google is known for its social conscious efforts and pioneering the in-office meditation movement. The company has offered meditation courses to its teams since early 2007. These “Search Inside Yourself” sessions still continue to evolve over time. Today, Google offers seven different types of meditation classes to choose from. This includes attention training, self-knowledge and self-mastery, and building mindful mental habits.
CBRE believes that wellness in the workplace is more than a trend, it’s an evolution. All of their offices are being redesigned to be more natural and liveable. The layout includes stretching and relaxation areas, fresh vegetable juice stations, and access to personalized wellness coaching. According to their 2016 report, Wellness In the Workplace, “the idea is to give people an environment where they want to be every day, can focus and where they can be productive.”
Sony first implemented it’s wellness program in 1992. Since then, the program has continued to help employees as well as their domestic partners live healthier, more active lives. By offering free health assessments, Sony is able to provide personalized help in and out of office. At their New York facility, you’ll find an onsite fitness center, a health-focused cafeteria, and weekly farmers market.
The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York has the firm belief that healing patients quickly and thoroughly is the most productive thing they can do. With that in mind, the hospital has integrated meditation and mindfulness in patient healing programs that staff can join too. When people can be aware of their pain with a certain amount of detachment, it removes fear. This allows faster healing and more personal power.
The work environment at Facebook is designed to encourage calmness and creativity. Through weekly in-house meditation sessions and “No Meeting Wednesdays”, the company aims to boost employee morale. Facebook recognizes that happier employees are healthier, more collaborative, and produce better ideas.
Many of the world’s top companies are using to meditation to inspire a happy and healthy workplace. Wishing yours would do the same? Bring the idea to your employer - a healthy company starts with healthy employees.