Meditation For Managers: How You Can Become A Mindful Boss [TUTORIAL]
- Discover the best type of meditation for managers.
- Learn how and why smart managers use meditation to stop stress both inside and outside of work.
- Boost your productivity and team morale, as well as your own happiness. Meditation really is a managerial wonder.
Empathetic bosses produce happy employees. And mindfulness helps both.
Life would be better for everyone if relationships at work were more peaceful and harmonious. Bosses would see improved results. Employees would enjoy more relaxed work environments. And families would be happier because stress at work would no longer be causing problems at home.
Sadly, this is not the case in today’s society
Glare in disgust at these facts about work:
- 80% of workers experience stress at work (read: stop stress)
- Half of all employees have chronic health conditions according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Sleep deprivation costs employees around 1.2 million lost work days a year according to the RAND Corporation. Those lost work days cost the economy $411 billion a year.
- For many, those hours are unpaid, making it harder to pay the bills and to fulfill our roles as family members.
- Most importantly, stress at work creates unhappiness for individuals and families.
Meditation can change all this.
Companies including Google, Disney, and the Pentagon have started using mindfulness, inspired by the continual scientific research that is proving the myriad benefits of meditation.
And of all the ways meditation helps at work, the single most important is: compassion.
Why lack of compassion at work turns bosses into bullies
Every week, thousands of people Google search “Why is my boss so mean”?
In a survey by Zogby Analytics [source]:
- 9 percent of respondents said they had been bullied at work in the last year
- 10 percent said they’d been bullied at work but not in the last year
- In total, 30 million employees in the US experience bullying.
- 70% of the bullies are men
- 65% of the victims are women
But why are some bosses and colleagues so mean?
Buddhism teaches that what exists within the mind radiates outwards into the world. Negative energy towards ourselves translates to negative energy towards others. And this is the case for many bosses (or “leaders”, as they like to term themselves).
Bosses have their own bosses who put pressure on them. And even the head of a company has the pressure of meeting shareholder expectations.
So right from the beginning, at the peak of the pyramid, there is stress and pressure.
That stress and pressure filters down through the pyramid, because if the person below doesn’t do their job the person above sees the results.
Your boss is told they have to sell $2 million this year. Otherwise their job will be in jeopardy. They know that for this to happen they need their employees to be productive [read: Boost Productivity]. Anytime they see an employee being unproductive they worry they won’t hit the target and that they will lose their jobs. They then transfer that pressure to their employees. It’s a fountain of stress.
This is bad for business, as this article explains. But far more importantly, it has a huge impact on the mental health and happiness of both employees and bosses.
Bully-bosses wrongly believe that they will get more done through bullying than through kindness.
But at Buddhist master Tulku Ugyen Rinpoche says:“Being aggressive, you can accomplish some things, but with gentleness, you can accomplish all things.” Click To Tweet
Signs your boss is a bully
- You’ll know your boss is a bully because they:
- are verbally abusive
- are intimidating
- use gaslighting tactics on you
- do not respect your privacy
- spread rumors about you
- isolates you at work
Bully-bosses are destroying health and happiness for families around the world
For years, society has dictated that tough bosses get better results.
It’s simply not true.
Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, says that the energy of bosses has never been more negative than it is today.
Ego is largely to blame.
It’s the Donald Trump mentality, the mentality that is keener to trash-mouth competitors and shame employees than to actually encourage and motivate them.
According to a survey Taylor conducted:
- 86% of employees feel their boss is a negative influence and a source of stress.
Those bad bosses are causing serious problems for the health and happiness of employees and their families.
Science shows that employees with inconsiderate, impolite, or incompetent bosses are 60% more likely to have a heart attack.
How many mothers and fathers have been lost solely because of a bad boss?
It’s time bosses stop bullying and start meditating.
Meditation Creates Compassionate Workplaces
Compassionate leaders create happier employees and better results.
One of the primary reasons human beings have become the dominant species on planet Earth is because of our compassion and kindness.
This was an argument first put forward by Darwin 130 years ago and proven scientifically today mostly through the work of the esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy.
De Waal says that society wrongly dictates that man is dominant because we are stronger at the more violent aspects of nature: namely, killing and being predators. But this, de Wall says, is not true. Nature is equally if not more about compassion and empathy than about violence, and it is compassion and empathy that has gotten mankind where it is today.
This is the essential Buddhist mindset too. Compassion is better. Period.
Empathy was vital to evolution. And empathetic leaders are vital for corporate success.
- In their book Resonant Leadership, Annie McKee and Richard Boyatzis say that empathy and compassion “have a decidedly constructive effect on neurological functioning, psychological well-being, physical health and personal relationships.”
- A study conducted by the Australian School of Business showed that empathy and compassion in leadership are two of the most important factors to profitability and productivity.
- A study conducted at the University of southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, which showed that empathy is the most important leadership skill for bosses to possess.
But you don’t need a masters degree in psychology to understand why empathy is important.
Highly empathic people understand others. And understanding others means being able to guide them through problems.
Where bully-bosses cause their employees to close-off and to keep quiet about problems, empathetic leaders make employees feel comfortable discussing issues.
That can save many workplace complications, from a business perspective.
Far more importantly, it saves both employees and bosses from stress that can cause serious health complications. And all it takes is a little compassion.
4 Best Meditations For Work
- For complete guides to all these techniques read my tutorial on 31 Meditations
1. Loving Kindness
Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta) is the best meditation techniques for creating compassion. This is a Buddhist meditation in which we focus on giving and receiving love compassion and kindness.
This simple technique heightens empathy and compassion in as little as twenty minutes. The result is increased understanding and healthier communication. It’s a technique all leaders and managers should use at least once a week.
Another fantastic exercise for compassion is mindfulness.
This is a simple technique that is about being aware of the way we are feeling.
Too much stress at work is caused by mindlessness.
When one employee or boss feels pressured and isn’t aware of how their feelings are influencing their behaviour, the result is headaches and stress for everyone. This can be remedied easily enough. By simply being mindful of the emotion and saying to ourselves “I’m feeling stressed and it’s affecting me” we can take control of the situation.
This is essential for bosses who let their stress effect their employees. All it takes is one moment to say,
“I feel stressed. I’m not going to let this effect my workers”. And this simple strategy can remove a lot of the stress from the workplace for everyone.
Zen meditation has helped many managers to stay relaxed while being on top of their game. Among them is Peter Ng, manager of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.
Ng is responsible for investing billions of dollars. And he invests money while thinking of nothing.
Or, rather, he invests while practicing zen meditation techniques.
4. Compassion meditation
Lack of self compassion in leaders or bosses causes them to put unfair pressure on employees.
Employees then feel the need to live up to unreasonable expectations. They, in turn, lack self compassion themselves when they miss the mark. Hence why many employees are just as hard on themselves as their bosses are hard on them.
The too obvious solution is to increase compassion.
- Practice self compassion
- Be compassionate to other people at work
- Accept mistakes
- Be gentle in criticism
- Control your own mind.
- Don’t let your emotions effect others at work
- Above all, aim for empathy, understanding, and compassion.
Meditation can increase workplace compassion. The best technique for this is the Buddhist Karuna method.
5. And don’t forget about yoga
There is no doubt that when employees and managers meditate at work only good can come of it.
And we can compliment meditation with yoga.
Many enlightened managers have started using yoga at work. Research shows this increases productivity and creativity, as well as helping us all to stay fit and healthy.
It’s time we all started meditating at work. Share this with your manager.
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Paul Martin Harrison
Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book Journey To The Buddha Within You.