When you think of your mentor or a manager figure you respect, what are some of the traits that jump out? A critical thinker? Business-minded? Creative? A word that you may not have considered is mindful, though we bet that person harnesses that quality as well. Mindfulness, or the quality of being conscious or aware of something, is crucial to being an effective manager. Managers are responsible for their tasks, as well as the success of everyone underneath them on the flow chart. With so much going on and so many duties to manage, it can keep anyone from being as mindful as they’d like to be.
A mindful manager is vital to keeping the business running smoothly. If the head of the business isn’t conscious of all the goings-on, problems can arise and work flow can be hindered. In a world where we are bombarded by emails, to-do lists and notifications, it’s time we slowed down and took the time to focus on the tasks at hand. This may mean breaking out of your fast-paced life style and expanding your comfort zone. Read on and take the next steps to being a more mindful version of you!
Be Mindful of the Atmosphere
- The attitude of your employees can drastically improve or destroy the atmosphere of your business. If they are stressed and overworked, their negative emotions may rub off on other employees, decreasing morale and overall productivity. Make sure you take time every month or every two weeks to sit down with your employees and get a gauge of the office attitude. What is motivating them to work? What is hindering them? What are their frustrations and pain points? Is there a way a process can improve to be more efficient? Your employees are in the trenches every day and may have a better perspective of the real underlying problems. They can be the most valuable resource when it comes to the pulse of your company. Be mindful of it and how it can improve.
- Does the vibe of your office space reflect the atmosphere you want associated with your business? If you want your employees to uncover fresh ideas or encourage new concepts, a cubicle space without windows may not be the best setup. You may not be able to decorate your office or store with swanky furniture or elaborate artwork, but you can still improve the flow of your office with what you already have. Make sure that the floor plan of your store makes it easy for your customers to navigate the products available — if the aisles are too packed and it’s a struggle to get through, the likelihood they will continue to browse is slim. If you have an office space and encourage collaboration, make sure there is a space where people can meet and engage with each other rather than chat back and forth through messaging software. You want to make it easy for your employees and customers to do what’s best. Be mindful of both their experiences within the space you’ve created.
Be Mindful of Relationships
- Be careful how you phrase your words and be mindful of the impression you are making. When there is an issue that needs to be addressed and you are speaking to employee or customer, the first thing you need to consider is your audience. Who is this person? How do they take feedback? Approach them in the way you think they would want to be approached. Show them respect and listen intently. While you can’t always gauge a customer’s personality, ask them questions to better understand what they want and get to know their experience with your product or service. That way, you can better address their concerns. With an employee, consider their work style, how they’ve reacted to feedback in the past, how this conversation can be a stepping stone for your professional relationship to grow and how you can help them move out of their comfort zone and grow as an employee.
- Encourage collaboration in an open matter. This will encourage fresh ideas and build trust amongst you and your employees by removing judgment. By creating an open discussion space, you aren’t breaking down the hierarchy but opening the channels of communication that might otherwise be muted. This way, your employees feel comfortable coming to you about big issues or smaller problems that could turn into bigger ones. Preventative problem solving can help save you a lot of headaches in the future.
- Focus on the talents of your staff and capitalize on them. As a leader, you want to be aware of the strengths of your staff and challenge them to grow in their weaker areas and potentially mentor others in their stronger areas. This not only allows for personal growth, but encourages a sense of self-leadership and a confidence in their skill set. Consider your role as a leader and mentor and how you can better set up your employees for professional success. They’ll grow and your business can also benefit — it’s a win-win.
Be Mindful of Legacy
- Reflect on the processes of your business — are they as efficient as they need to be? Oftentimes, the original methods of doing things that worked well in the past, no longer work for your business. Be aware of legacy-based decisions and reassess their value for your business now as it currently runs. Set a framework so there is continuity, but don’t be afraid to change it to improve the process overall.