Mindfulness Works but Only If You Work at It

From Harvard Business Review:

The Mindful Leader: Research Findings

Developing the capacity for resilience and collaboration in complex times through mindfulness practice

“Mindfulness — a way of paying attention with care and discernment to yourself, others, and the world around you — has been much researched. But although evidence from clinical contexts suggests that mindfulness provides many benefits, few studies have been conducted with business leaders. This means that basic questions have remained unanswered. For example, does mindfulness training actually improve leadership capacities? If it does, how? And how much effort do you need to make to achieve results?

Trying to answer these and other important questions, we conducted the world’s first study of a multisession mindful leader program, which included a wait-list control group. Half of the participants received their training immediately and the other half received it later, but we measured key characteristics in both groups at the same times. By comparing the two groups’ results, we were able to discover what the effect of training really was.

Leaders can rarely develop a new habit, including practicing mindfulness, without help and support from others. Some leaders in our research received generous encouragement from their partners and work colleagues. In moments when they might have given up, this support sustained them. Others were met with cynicism and in a few cases were even teased.



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