Today let’s put aside your employees’ engagement and consider your own engagement instead. This is important to do on a frequent basis because it’s almost impossible for your team to be engaged if you yourself are disengaged. Without doubt, your employees will emulate your mood and disposition in some way.
A new study published last month in the ‘Human Relations’ journal shed some light on how you can reinvigorate your self-engagement. In particular, the study looked at the concept of mindfulness. This is the first time any empirical research has been conducted on the degree to which mindfulness can impact work performance.
The results were clear. The more mindfully you work, the more highly you perform. And the effect wasn’t minor; it was significant. This is because mindfulness enables you to take greater control of your behaviour, language, emotions, thoughts and feelings.
To begin with, let’s examine whether you’ve been experiencing the opposite of mindfulness lately: mindlessness. Listed below are ten statements. Of those, count how many have applied to you at some stage over the past week.
– You have felt emotionally exhausted
– You have found it difficult to make decisions
– You have been stressed out
– You have struggled to focus
– You have been easily distracted
– You have found it tough to be creative
– You have felt as though your brain was switched off
– You have made mistakes
– You haven’t handled challenging situations well
– You haven’t been proactive enough
If five or more of those were true for you, it’s more than likely that mindlessness has been an issue for you at work, and that it’s consequently a major inhibitor to your personal engagement. Here are six suggestions on how you can turn it around.
Abandon Multitasking: It’s a myth. Research has proven we think we multitask well, but we rarely ever do. Instead, concentrate on just one task at a time.
Stay Connected: Rather than merely ‘being there’, choose instead to ‘be present’. This means listening carefully not only to what people say but also to what they don’t say.
Practice Gratitude: Keep a notebook in your drawer. Daily before going home, write down three things that happened at work that day for which you’re thankful.
Observe: Notice your surroundings. Don’t judge them; just notice them. Awareness is an essential precursor to mindfulness. Too many of us work mindlessly on auto-pilot.
Meditate: This can be done in as little as five minutes. Simply pause and feel your breath go through your nose, filling and expanding your lungs. Then exhale and repeat.
Slow Down: Don’t speak so fast, don’t walk so rapidly, and don’t be so rushed. Use the diminished level of frantic activity to breathe consciously and to reflect with greater clarity.
Some of the above might sound like it’s nuts. But sometimes when you’re feeling stale, lethargic or unproductive, something a little nutty might be exactly what you need.