How to be a mindful leader. Mindfulness is being embraced internationally by businesses. But how can you be a mindful leader? We take a look with 5 Mindful Leader Hacks.

How to be a Mindful Leader

Is your average day frenetic, rapid fire and outcome focused? When did you last have time to pause and reflect at work without interruption? Can’t remember? Mindful leadership may offer an alternative to those cultures that gallop towards burnout. Mindfulness is now ubiquitous in the workplace. Popularised by Google’s successful Search Inside Yourself Leadership Programme (SIYLI) it has garnered world wide attention. Now embraced globally by everyone from Harvard Business School to Goldman Sachs with impressive results. Mindfulness at work will bullet proof your leadership. Wondering how to be a mindful leader? Let’s examine;

  • The business case for mindful leadership
  • Who is using mindfulness at work
  • 5 How to be a Mindful Leader Hacks.

What is Mindful Leadership?

Let’s start by asking, what is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being in the moment. It’s awareness, being present, noticing what is happening as it happens rather than thinking about your workload, the project that’s late or what’s next up.

For leaders, that comes down to laser like focus, improved decision making and increased resilience. Mindful leaders recognise that multi tasking is the death of optimum performance. Mindfulness at work offers an alternative to the dysfunctional fizz and froth of chaotic, attention deficit cultures.

It’s counter intuitive to slow down and create space but the frenetic pace that we’ve all become accustomed to only serves to increase errors, lead to burnout and create a fixed mindset. If you recognise this as your leadership working style, you can bet you’re training your people to do the same. Mindful leaders are self aware, they’re able to self regulate, to take a step back.

The Business case for Mindful Leadership

With stress related absenteeism on the increase for the last 10 years. and unprecedented change across the corporate landscape, it’s no surprise that leadership resilience is at a premium. Mindful leaders recognise the need to rehabilitate multi tasking workplace cultures. They see the benefits of being fully focused and present.

Mindful leaders also identify the importance of leadership renewal. They shun the counter productive, illness inducing sacrifice of long hours, emailing late into the night and running of fumes. They’ve truly learned how to be a mindful leader. Mindfulness at work research from international workplace mindfulness programmes demonstrates that regular mindfulness practice impacts positively on leadership by;

  • Improving decision making
  • Increasing resilience
  • Developing emotional intelligence
  • Increasing productivity
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving listening skills
  • Increasing self awareness
  • Developing self regulation
  • Compassion

Who is Using Mindfulness at work?

Recognising these multiple benefits, the corporate world has embraced mindfulness at work. Some of the world’s leading brands have implemented mindfulness at work programmes, teaching their CEOs, directors and execs how to be more mindful leaders.

  • Google
  • Intel
  • Nike
  • SAP
  • Aetna
  • General Mills
  • UK Parliament
  • US Congress
  • Apple
  • Starbucks
  • NHS
  • Honda
  • Goldman Sachs

5 How to be a Mindful Leader Hacks

Develop your leadership presence by incorporating these how to be a mindful leader hacks into your day.

1.Communicate with intention.

Before you speak, set an intention for your communication.

What do you want to say? How do you want to be perceived?

Consider content & body language. When you communicate with intention you’re able to remain focused, be clearer and quicker in what you want to convey becoming more readily understood.

2. Make mindful decisions.

Mindfulness will help you to identify previously unseen unconscious bias or emotional reaction in your decision making.

Regular mindfulness practice will help you to take a step back, become less reactive, to reflect upon your thinking. Known as metacognition, this will improve the quality of your decision making. When you need to make a decision, create space to check in with your thoughts, emotions & physical sensations. Pause and reflect, ask yourself “What’s here?” before moving on the make your decision.

Building your mindful awareness in this way will help you to avoid knee jerk responses, consider all of the data available, notice previously unseen blind spots and develop more effective decision making.

3. Recognise the importance renewal.

Leaders experience power stress because of the increasing demands placed upon them. It’s tempting to plough through.

That’s sacrifice syndrome & it bleeds into the rest of your organisation, resulting in stress, burnout, decreased productivity and demotivation. Constant leader sacrifice habits create a culture that encourages employees to to do the same.

Make time for renewal & lead by example. Take regular breaks, create tech free time, have a cut off time for emailing at night, schedule in true downtime & make sure to get adequate sleep.

4. Prioritise mindfulness.

A regular mindfulness practice will help you to manage the pressures of leadership. The benefits are huge and will impact on those around you as you model mindful working practices. You can read about mindfulness but in the end, you just have to get down and practice it to reap the benefits.

As little of 10 minutes a day will help you to train your brain for optimum performance.

5. Lead with humility.

“Humility doesn’t mean to think less of yourself, it means to think of yourself less.” Ken Blanchard.

It’s a huge misnomer that larger than life, command and control leaders are ahead of the game. Great leaders lead with their head and their heart. Leaders with self awareness, able to recognise their strengths as well as their own areas for development are more effective.

Organisations require robust feedback loops to remain flexible & competitive. That means that everyone is open to feedback, including leaders. Adopt a growth mindset to your individual and organisational learning and watch performance and productivity jump.


Want to discover more about mindful leadership? Come on over and visit us at to access our free mindfulness at work resources. Find out about our mindful leadership training, mindfulness at work courses and mindfulness in leadership development and coaching.

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