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WIL Recap: Mindful Leadership

Are you currently practicing mindfulness? Last Wednesday, at our Women in Leadership Group Meeting, Sarah Engstrom, CISO and Vice President of IT Security, Productivity and Privacy at CHS Inc., and Beth Singer, Data Protection Manager at CHS Inc., led an intriguing conversation on the topic, Mindful Leadership 

Sarah and Beth kicked off the meeting asking the group, what does mindfulness mean to you? The group quickly shouted out: present, engaged, aware, in the moment, and open-minded. A mindful leader is defined as someone who embodies leadership presence by cultivating focus, clarity, creativity, and compassion in the service of others. Leadership presence is a tangible quality. It requires full and complete nonjudgmental attention in the present moment. Those around a mindful leader see and feel that presence.  

Why does mindful leadership matter? Most of us are experiencing high levels of stress, which is exactly why mindfulness is so important. According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month, and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.  You cannot prevent stressful situations from arising, but you can control how you enter the situation. Mindful leadership is how you show up every day and how it affects you and others around you. 

What does successful mindful leadership look like? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are evaluating your mindfulness:  

  • Are you aware of your biases and triggers?
  • Do you know what your values are?
  • Are you living your vision?
  • Are you creating a space to live your values?

Morning rituals are a great way to start the day off on the right foot! Something as simple as waking up 20 minutes earlier to read a book or get a short workout in will help clear your mind for the day. Other suggestions from the group included scheduled “brain breaks” throughout the day, journaling, going on walks, yoga, music and of course training. If you are interested in checking out the book Sarah and Beth recommended, click here. If you are interested in learning more about what was discussed, check out the slide deck here. 

What mindfulness practice will you start doing today?