Have you noticed your team’s stress levels rising over the past couple of years?
If so, you’re not alone.
Last year’s Gallup Report stated that stress levels in the workplace are at an all time high. This isn’t surprising, given that modern business environments are commonly described as “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous” (VUCA).
This is especially true in the aftermath of Covid, with financial pressures and restructures seemingly around every corner.
Last year, stress reduction was one of the most common topics that my clients requested keynotes and workshops for. In times like these, our ability to minimise stress is needed more than ever before.
So what can we as leaders do to help our teams?
Ultimately, stress isn’t just determined by our circumstances. It’s also determined by how we respond internally.
As Shakespeare said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
That’s why some people manage to stay remarkably relaxed and focused no matter what happens.
Using the practical techniques of mindfulness, almost anyone can cultivate deep calm amidst the storm.
Today I’m sharing with you one of the most powerful mindfulness techniques for reducing stress (and one of my favourite tools in life).
I call it “Master Your Mind.”
One of my clients (let’s call him “Sam”) recently applied this technique during a high-stakes negotiation. He was in the final stages of selling his business, but at the 11th hour, the acquiring company demanded a major change to a critical part of the deal.
Prior to working with me, Sam would have become angry and risked losing the deal.
However, equipped with mindfulness techniques, he was able to do two vital things.
First, he recognised his increased heart rate and constricted breathing. These are classic physiological signs of the fight/flight response, and noticing them alerted Sam to the fact that he was reacting to something.
Having noticed this, Sam was then able to pause and examine his thinking. He quickly discovered that he was running the story that the acquiring company’s actions were “disrespectful” and that he “needed to fight”.
Maybe they were being disrespectful and maybe they weren’t.
But Sam knew that getting caught up in a conflict wasn’t going to help him win one of the biggest deals of his life.
Instead of responding hastily, Sam chose to take a few deep breaths, drop the story, soften his stress response and focus on what really mattered.
Now calm and collected, Sam found an elegant pathway through the negotiations. Days later, he signed a huge deal that set himself and his family up for the rest of their lives.
Using mindfulness techniques, Sam won the real battle – closing the deal.
Plus, Sam now comes home to his family each night without carrying the burden of all that unnecessary stress. He is more present and available for connection, regardless of what happens at work.
The Step By Step Guide
This simple 13 minute video and worksheet will provide you and your team with the tools to follow Sam’s example:
- Recognise when your fight/flight circuits get triggered
- Cultivate metacognition (the ability to step back and observe your thoughts)
- Change your stories to minimise stress.
The end result is that you’ll be able to stay calm and focused and navigate more skilfully through any challenge.
It’s one of my favourite tools from The Mindful Leaders MBA, my online program for high performing leaders.
You can check out the video here.
And you can click here to download the worksheet.
Mindfulness goes far beyond stress reduction. Thousands of studies have shown that mindfulness improves overall wellbeing, increases performance, and promotes a more positive workplace culture.
All the best,
Dr Richard Chambers.
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