Written by: Dena Samuels, PhD
A few days ago, I saw an ad for a keychain that allows you to open doors hands-free. I saw another ad for antibacterial gloves that wick away moisture. Designer facemasks. UV Light sanitizers. The list goes on. Who would have thought, just a few months back, that there would be a market for items like these? How many people had an awareness of how much toilet paper they had in storage? What was seemingly important in our pre-COVID world has shifted almost overnight.
We are in a moment of global evolution. And the changes that are happening are not limited to the rise of new products. The ways we interact with each other have also changed. I am not only referring to the socially responsible 6’ distance between us, but also to the now common videoconference connections used both for work meetings and to interact with family and friends around the globe.
What will our lives be like in our post-pandemic world? More importantly, what new knowledge, foresight, and skills will an organizational leader need in order to be most effective?
The 3 P’s
Pre-COVID leaders who focused solely on the bottom line of their company will likely fare worse than those who have considered or plan to consider the 3 P’s: Profit, Person, and Planet. That is not to say that Profit will be less important, but rather that in the pre-COVID world, focusing on Profit alone tended to prize money over humanity and the planet. Post-pandemic leaders will have a broader and more holistic definition of Profit and will know that including the 3 P’s will increase their financial standing in the market.
More corporations and organizations are choosing to operate more consciously, to look at the triple-bottom line. They identify as “conscious businesses” and are rated and given a seal of approval from B Lab (a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that rates for-profit businesses on social, organizational, and environmental criteria).
Beyond focusing only on the company’s revenue (profit), these corporations pay attention to each employee’s needs and even desires (person). They care about the health and wellbeing of each employee, and help them to achieve their personal and professional goals through leadership development training. Studies have found this increases morale, productivity, and in fact, lowers sick days, which saves these companies millions of dollars every year.
Attention to one’s employees means paying fair salaries, ensuring flexible schedules, hearing feedback, and encouraging participation in decision-making processes. Additionally, every employee should feel like they belong in the workplace. Leaders can build a strong work community by recognizing that diversity in race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and other social identities can strengthen an organization. Research shows that organizations that include diversity and cultural inclusion in their policies and plans fare much better than those that do not.
The third bottom-line is a focus on our connection to the earth (planet). Conscious companies research and develop sustainable practices because they take into account their impact on the earth for future generations.
Where Does Mindfulness Come In?
Conscious companies often use Mindfulness, or the ancient practice of present moment awareness, as a tool for conscious growth. Mindfulness allows us to remain calm in challenging situations, reduces stress, and provides long-term benefits to our health and wellness. It teaches us to pause, breathe, and carefully respond to a situation rather than to mindlessly react to it. These are great leadership skills to have in a fast-paced, demanding global marketplace.
Mindfulness training has been incorporated into professional development at countless corporations and organizations around the world. And with good reason. Mindfulness practices have been linked to:
• an increase in health and wellness;
• better, more inclusive decision-making;
• an increase in attention span;
• a decrease in implicit/unconscious bias;
• fewer sick days;
• more workforce loyalty; and
• a greater bottom-line, among others.
The Mindful Inclusive Leader
The post-pandemic leader will need to incorporate mindful communication skills and address their own reactions and biases, in order to prevent a hostile work environment. When we mindfully notice our reactions, our goal is not to judge ourselves harshly, but rather to pause and compassionately move forward in a different direction: one that is more inclusive.
Our new post-pandemic frontier will require mindful leaders:
• who know to respond rather than to react to any given situation;
• who incorporate mindful communication skills to hear and appreciate new and different voices than have been traditionally allowed to speak;
• and who operate in mindful awareness of our impact on the earth.
Creating mindful inclusive leaders is easier said than done. Businesses that haven’t been thinking about this are behind the curve. Good leadership does not happen on its own. It requires being open to and learning about what we don’t know.
How might you or your organization use mindfulness to better serve your employees and build a more robust, loyal workforce? How might that translate to better leadership? How about diversity consulting?
Find out more about our new 100% online mindful inclusive leadership development training program. It will require reflection, learning, and skill-building to develop the most impactful leaders in our new post-pandemic world. Is your organization prepared?