Companies and their teams face growing pressures every day to “think outside the box”. Often this involves trying to “do more with less”, whether it’s less resources, less direction, or less data. It could also mean tending to an increasing number of stakeholders, more competition, or entering uncharted territory. Simple mindfulness exercises can have a profound effect on your team’s ability to grow with these evolving challenges.
Creativity Spurs Innovation
Creative problem solving is at the root of all innovation — which is why more and more companies, like Google and Viacom, are implementing mindfulness in the workplace. Studies have shown that even just 10 to 12 minutes of meditation can increase your creativity.
Specifically, mindfulness practice enhances 3 important skills that benefit your creative problem-solving abilities:
Opens your mind to generate novel ideas
Increases attention and reception to new ideas
Inspires courage and resilience in times of doubts and setbacks
When you bring mindfulness practice to a team setting, members will experience a free flow of ideas and collaboration. You can read more about team-based mindfulness exercises here.
Set the Stage for Collaboration
Building open concept workspaces is only one component for improving collaboration and creative brainstorming in the office. However, the most important component is you — the team leader. A mindful leader who knows how to properly facilitate group problem-solving sessions will help your team tap into new levels of creativity.
How to Be A Mindful Leader
“The new leader is a facilitator, not an order giver.”
– John Naisbitt
It’s important for team leaders to rethink their roles in group settings. Mindful leaders recognize their role is to foster collaboration among the team, rather than making decisions about the direction of the project.
“The facilitator’s job is to support everyone to do their best thinking. To do this, the facilitator encourages full participation, promotes mutual understanding, and cultivates shared responsibility.”
– Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making
This mindset is a complete shift in perspective that will help you and other team leaders fully tap into a team’s wealth of creativity.
Embrace Your New Role
Leadership styles vary from person to person. Some of us are actively involved in every decision, while others take a more hands-off, laissez-faire approach. Depending on your preferred style, embracing the role of the facilitator will be different for everyone. For some, it will come naturally, while others will need to make an intentional effort to take a step back as the decision maker.
The good news is your team will begin emerging with new ideas, perspectives, and workflows as you grow into your role as the facilitator. A greater sense of trust often develops when leaders become facilitators. By taking a step back, you are placing your confidence and trust in your team. This unspoken gesture will surely be noticed by your team.