Building A Better Corporate Culture Through Mindfulness

How to develop stress resistance and improve your leadership skills


Running a business can be stressful and challenging, and even successful entrepreneurs can occasionally reach a point of 'I've had enough.' One of the important features that shapes a good leader is stress resistance, although it can be hard to achieve. Companies and entrepreneurs are constantly searching for methods that can reduce stress and boost productivity. Thus, companies launch different programs and practices that don't always drive desirable results. One relatively new technique, though, is believed to completely change the way we work and can help to develop 'thick skin'.

The practice is called mindful meditation and it comes in a form that doesn't require a lot of time. Psychologists believe that cultivating mindfulness is the key to overcoming stress and recognizing natural wisdom. The practice is also closely linked to the process of shaping leadership skills. When executives start questioning themselves on how to better manage their business, they may get caught up with stress that distracts them from making effective decisions, in that instance, meditation creates space in one's mind to think. Timothy Wilson, a Psychology professor at the University of Virginia says: 'Human brain is not equipped enough to process the whole lot of information it receives during the day. Thus, when it comes to business, decisions are often based on already existing frames, memories or associations.' Mindful meditation helps to generate new ideas and improves concentration around the problem and its solution.

General Mills, the US cereal company, featured on the Forbes Global 2000 list, believes that meditation improves creativity because employees' attention is more concentrated around work after practice. Teamwork also gets improved because employees become more sensitive to each other. Google, for example, launched an internal course called 'Search Inside Yourself' which is designed to enhance the emotional intelligence of employees and provides sessions dedicated to developing mindfulness.

The trend is also growing among CEOs, as a way of strengthening leadership skills and improving stress resistance. Johann Berlin, a CEO of TLEX Institute that provides mindful leadership coaching for the C-suite, told Harvard Business Review, that one of his clients, a Fortune 25 company, has introduced mindfulness training to one of its high potentials programs with the aim of creating agile and flexible mindsets as a foundation for leadership.

Mindful meditation can also help to discover entrepreneurial potential. Spending a considerable time of his life on meditation, Matthew Bellows, Founder and CEO of Yesware, a digital sales toolkit, realized that he is an entrepreneur at heart. But he also believes that meditation helped to achieve greater results: 'Software is a completely creative thing, and the best software can be created at a company whose culture minimizes people freaking out and a toxic managerial environment.'

From Himalayan hilltops, mindful meditation reached the corporate environment, and among those who embrace it are companies like Apple, Google, Aetna and even the Pentagon and the US House of Representatives, according to Harvard Business Review. Developing mindfulness is important for businesses because it also strengthens agility, a quality that is critical for strategic planning and decision-making. Instead of acting from emotion, mindfulness encourages to act based on well-articulated conviction. As a Psychology Coach, David Congleton once said: 'Your emotions are changing all the time, but your values stay constant.'

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