Benefits of Mindfulness for Teamwork & Team Building

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Any corporation looking to enhance teamwork should consider the benefits of mindfulness for team building.

Inevitably, when you take a group of individuals from different backgrounds, all with their own views and perspectives, there are times when conflict will occur. And oftentimes that conflict can have a detrimental effect on productivity.   

We know from research [1] that teams comprised of contrasting personalities usually perform better. The reason is that each personality type brings something different to the mix. This leads to more ideas and expertise in a wider range of areas. However, for a team to work effectively it also has to operate harmoniously. For while diversity is great, productivity can suffer if the team is rife with conflicts.

No wonder so many businesses spend time and money reducing conflicts. Unfortunately, many of the strategies that businesses employ are unproven and often ineffective. And many businesses still struggle with chronic conflict that reduces employee satisfaction, damages workplace retention, and leads to a loss of profit.

So, where should businesses turn? What is the best strategy for enhancing team building and reducing conflicts?

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One excellent solution is mindfulness. For team building, the simple concept of being mindful can work wonders. And there are many experts who can help, such as MDMindfulness.

The Link Between Mindfulness And Teamwork / Team Building

Mindfulness is a concept that derives from Buddhism and is closely related to Zen. The core concept of mindfulness is being non-judgmentally aware of the present moment. This includes awareness of our thoughts and feelings.

Scientific research shows that mindfulness reduces reactivity [2]. For instance, if an employee feels frustrated, they are less likely to react by making criticisms. Naturally this reduces conflicts at work and can help to maintain good rapport among teammates.  

Not only does mindfulness build team rapport, but it also helps improve work performance. It has been shown to help us focus and stay on task, as well as increasing problem-solving abilities [3]. No wonder then, that companies like Google, Aetna, and LinedIn have started incorporating corporate meditation classes. And many executives take personal meditation sessions with private teachers.  

What Is “Team Mindfulness”

Usually when we discuss mindfulness, we are talking about an individual’s mindfulness practice. Team mindfulness takes the same core concept (non-judgmental awareness of the present moment) and applies it across the entire team. It involves mindful communication and mindful interactions between all members of the team.

Research published in Harvard Business Review [4] shows that mindfulness helps teams to reduce conflicts in teams, ultimately making teams more productive.  

  

   How To Develop Team Mindfulness

The following are some of the most effective ways of developing team mindfulness.

1: Adopt the attitude of acceptance

The core concept of mindfulness sis entirely about acceptance, and this attitude of acceptance can be brought o the workplace. This doesn’t mean “accepting” in the sense of giving in. Rather, it means not fighting to ignore or repress certain things at work. It’s about accepting the way that things currently are while still working to make things better.  

Team mindfulness should be brought to interpersonal relationships. For instance, if there are differing views among the team, each member of team should make the effort to accept one another’s differences.

2: Be Open

With the attitude of acceptance it will be easier for team members to be open with one another. And this should encourage open communication. Members of the team should be encouraged to share their voices openly, and their voices should be accepted.

This means reducing the critical mindset. If one member of the team happens to speak in a criticizing manner, they should be invited to restate their thoughts in a mindful, non-judgmental fashion.

 3: Ask these questions

Members of the team should be invited to ask the following questions:

How can we be compassionate in any given situation?

How can we encourage open communication?

How can we look after our fellow team members?

How can we show acceptance for the differences among the team?

 

4: Inquire

In order to encourage open dialogue, teams should take moments to enquire about one another’s thoughts and feelings. This could be done in a brief 15 minute team meeting.  

The entire nature of this enquiry should be about inviting open communication and accepting differences. The team leader should develop an environment that will be conducive to sharing. And the team leader should monitor all communication, so as to eliminate any judgmental comments or criticisms.

 

Conclusion

There are significant benefits of mindfulness for team building. It begins with attitude. When the team operates with an attitude of non-judgmental awareness, every member of the team feels more confident in expressing their thoughts and feelings. And this open dialogue provides insight that team leaders can use to their advantage.

Beyond that, mindfulness increases employee satisfaction and reduces turnover rates. This naturally strengthens the team as a whole and also improves the bottom line.

By simply adopting a mindful attitude, teams can enjoy better relationships and increased successes.

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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