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Mindful Teams are More Productive: The How & The Why

Article by: Percy Bharucha
Written on 2020-10-14T07:45:33+00:00

Achieving higher productivity through a corporate culture of mindfulness

It can sometimes get really hard to work as part of a team. When you have a group of smart, opinionated people in the same room there is going to be a difference of opinion. This more often than not escalates to a conflict.

There are usually two levels of conflict when you work in a team. The first level is internal. How much do you go along with the team’s vision and their way of doing things versus your own? The second level is external. It’s about disagreeing with teammates, irrespective of what they say. When teams work together longer, conflicts about tasks turn into grudges. It gets personal and that’s when productivity takes a big hit. Colleagues begin to undermine and undercut one another. Far from being functional such teams end up turning toxic and seriously harm the entire workplace environment.

There has been a body of research including that of Professor Mary Zellmer-Bruhn that zeroes in on the impact of mindfulness on business teams. Most of these studies have concluded that mindful teams work together more cohesively, have greater focus, and are more open to hearing each other out.

Team mindfulness varies from individual mindfulness as it applies to the entire group as a whole. It works to mend the interactions between its members instead of individual emotions and thoughts. It ensures the collective team is in complete awareness of the moment without judging each other at an individual level.

The significant contribution of mindfulness within a team setting is the massive reduction in relationship conflict and the elimination of personal attacks. Mindfulness prevents colleagues from turning task-based differences into a personal rivalry.

Team mindfulness prioritizes two aspects: present moment focus and putting aside past biases. This forces team members to live in the now and not carrying any baggage they might have towards each other. Just these two simple features ensure that they recognize each other’s creativity, unique perspectives, and opinions.

The benefits of mindfulness for teams are fewer misunderstandings and emotionally charged events. When a team is mindful its members are less likely to have negative emotional reactions to their ideas not being chosen or passed on. They communicate with each other using compassionate directness. Non-judgmental employees also foster a spirit of compassion and openness in the team. This leads to stronger bonding with each other and higher morale all around.

Higher morale and fewer conflicts help boost productivity passively. Higher productivity is a byproduct of these two. But mindfulness also boosts productivity actively. It improves all three aspects of attention: stability, control, and efficiency. Mindful teams can focus better, for longer, and are less distracted.

It also leads to several physical health benefits including a reduction in emotional exhaustion, better sleep, and more overall job satisfaction. This means mindful teams are always working at their peak physical condition leading to optimum efficiency.

Here’s how you can bring mindfulness to your team:

Mindfulness is often confused with meditation. Begin by explaining the practice and the core doctrines of mindfulness to your team members. Before you have a session ensure that they are aware and comfortable with its practice. Explain its many benefits to them.

Create a time and place where employees can be mindful together in the workplace. Guided mindfulness sessions can help lead them to present moment awareness. This helps the team bonds together in the practice of mindfulness itself. Encourage mindful breaks or unstructured intervals where employees can unplug and take a walk or sit quietly.

Transform meetings into mindfulness exercises. Lay clear ground rules in the beginning. Rules that suspend judgment of each other, encourage active listening and respectful communication. The goal is not to shun disagreement but to prevent it from turning into an ugly fight.

Creating a mindful team requires more than practicing mindful sessions. It requires a culture and workspace where members feel safe and supported by each other. Where they can build healthy collaborations and have positive, motivational communication tools. This might seem like a lot to accomplish but your employees’ motivation and efficiency might depend on it. Especially right now during the global pandemic when emotions run high and everyone’s working remotely.

blog

Mindful Teams are More Productive: The How & The Why

Article by
Written on 2020-10-14T07:45:33+00:00

Achieving higher productivity through a corporate culture of mindfulness

It can sometimes get really hard to work as part of a team. When you have a group of smart, opinionated people in the same room there is going to be a difference of opinion. This more often than not escalates to a conflict.

There are usually two levels of conflict when you work in a team. The first level is internal. How much do you go along with the team’s vision and their way of doing things versus your own? The second level is external. It’s about disagreeing with teammates, irrespective of what they say. When teams work together longer, conflicts about tasks turn into grudges. It gets personal and that’s when productivity takes a big hit. Colleagues begin to undermine and undercut one another. Far from being functional such teams end up turning toxic and seriously harm the entire workplace environment.

There has been a body of research including that of Professor Mary Zellmer-Bruhn that zeroes in on the impact of mindfulness on business teams. Most of these studies have concluded that mindful teams work together more cohesively, have greater focus, and are more open to hearing each other out.

Team mindfulness varies from individual mindfulness as it applies to the entire group as a whole. It works to mend the interactions between its members instead of individual emotions and thoughts. It ensures the collective team is in complete awareness of the moment without judging each other at an individual level.

The significant contribution of mindfulness within a team setting is the massive reduction in relationship conflict and the elimination of personal attacks. Mindfulness prevents colleagues from turning task-based differences into a personal rivalry.

Team mindfulness prioritizes two aspects: present moment focus and putting aside past biases. This forces team members to live in the now and not carrying any baggage they might have towards each other. Just these two simple features ensure that they recognize each other’s creativity, unique perspectives, and opinions.

The benefits of mindfulness for teams are fewer misunderstandings and emotionally charged events. When a team is mindful its members are less likely to have negative emotional reactions to their ideas not being chosen or passed on. They communicate with each other using compassionate directness. Non-judgmental employees also foster a spirit of compassion and openness in the team. This leads to stronger bonding with each other and higher morale all around.

Higher morale and fewer conflicts help boost productivity passively. Higher productivity is a byproduct of these two. But mindfulness also boosts productivity actively. It improves all three aspects of attention: stability, control, and efficiency. Mindful teams can focus better, for longer, and are less distracted.

It also leads to several physical health benefits including a reduction in emotional exhaustion, better sleep, and more overall job satisfaction. This means mindful teams are always working at their peak physical condition leading to optimum efficiency.

Here’s how you can bring mindfulness to your team:

Mindfulness is often confused with meditation. Begin by explaining the practice and the core doctrines of mindfulness to your team members. Before you have a session ensure that they are aware and comfortable with its practice. Explain its many benefits to them.

Create a time and place where employees can be mindful together in the workplace. Guided mindfulness sessions can help lead them to present moment awareness. This helps the team bonds together in the practice of mindfulness itself. Encourage mindful breaks or unstructured intervals where employees can unplug and take a walk or sit quietly.

Transform meetings into mindfulness exercises. Lay clear ground rules in the beginning. Rules that suspend judgment of each other, encourage active listening and respectful communication. The goal is not to shun disagreement but to prevent it from turning into an ugly fight.

Creating a mindful team requires more than practicing mindful sessions. It requires a culture and workspace where members feel safe and supported by each other. Where they can build healthy collaborations and have positive, motivational communication tools. This might seem like a lot to accomplish but your employees’ motivation and efficiency might depend on it. Especially right now during the global pandemic when emotions run high and everyone’s working remotely.

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