As a customer experience expert I have become a keen observer of people.
One of the skills I have developed, over time, is being able to notice leaders in the service sector who are working mindfully.
What does that look like?
- asking questions throughout the interaction
- paraphrasing important points that others make
- listening with gusto
- orienting your body and eyes toward the person that is speaking
- avoiding judgment or rushing to advise
It totally makes sense from the list above, to think that any level of leader in a business that displays these qualities will have a far greater connection with colleagues and customers. So why don’t more people sharpen up these skills and use them to their advantage?
Recent research provides strong evidence that practicing non-judgmental, present – moment awareness (mindfulness) changes the brain, and it does so in ways that anyone working in today’s complex business environment will benefit from and take advantage of.
In a world where there is information and data coming at us more than ever, mindfulness becomes more important for navigating the chaos – but the chaos makes it a lot harder to be mindful.
For me, who practices daily meditation and yoga, you would think being mindful would come naturally. It doesn’t. It’s a daily practice, and one I am now acutely aware of, particularly in terms of the positive impact it has on the people I converse with.
Last night I experienced my own patch of chaos. I struggled to hold a decent conversation with a dinner guest and continue to cook dinner, whilst keeping out the noise of my own thoughts from the back of a very full day.
All I had to do when our guests left was to take one look at the kitchen (which looked like disaster zone) to see that I was not at all focused or aware throughout that 3 hour period, but rather quite erratic and functioning on autopilot.
From a recent Harvard Business Review article called Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity I have summarised 4 tips for us to take away , to assist us getting back on the road of being more mindful in the day to day chaos;
Tip 1: Imagine your thoughts are totally transparent – this will help train you to take moment before speaking and commit to trying to understand other people’s perspectives.
Tip 2: Be open and attentive to things you’re doing but not single-minded, because then you’re missing other opportunities and that would be mindless.
Tip 3: Notice new things, good and bad. Really notice them.
Tip 4: Breathe. Sometimes taking a few seconds to pause, breathe and then speak is the best tactic of all.
Some of you who know me well will laugh at this next comment.
If you want to go faster you have to slow down.
Being mindful and taking a pause in the service industry may at times feel like we are going slowly – particularly when there are volumes of customers to get through. However mindfulness is what brings focus and awareness to a person that will feel a connection instead of a transaction.
Developing strong social intelligence and emotional intelligence in our work environments is taking a step forward. Being a mindful leader you must want to be living the life you most want to live.
Want to know more?
Go to what jaq does to reserve a seat at our next Social Intelligence for Service Leaders program in August.
‘Why serve when you can inspire’