08 Mar 2017 16:58 IST

On being mindful

Leadership skills involved in managing people are very effective when done with mindfulness

Of late, organisations are acting on enhancing the mindfulness of the people at work so that they give their best to customers and their deliverables. Today, more than ever in the past, the number of distractions at work and off work are on the increase. Presentee-ism, and not absenteeism which occupied the attention for many decades, is the most talked about problem today.

Mindfulness, simply stated, means being attentive to and aware of what is happening in the present moment. Take the following self-assessment exercise to measure your mindfulness. This scale was prepared by LE Carlson and KW Brown.

1 represents “Almost Always”, 2 represents “Very Frequently”, 3 represents “Somewhat Frequently”, 4 represents “Somewhat Infrequently”, 5 represents “Very Infrequently” and 6 represents “Almost Never”


To know your score, simply compute the mean of your scores for all 15 items. Higher scores reflect higher levels of mindfulness.

Studies have shown that mindfulness increases positive mental states, self-regulates behaviour, and heightens self-knowledge. Self-awareness, in turn, enhances understanding of one’s choices. Mindfulness protects us from being lost and unfocused. Leadership skills involved in managing people such as active listening, positive feedback, influencing, coaching, reviews and the like are very effective when done with mindfulness. Emotional intelligence improves with our mindfulness as well.

Google’s corporate university reportedly offers a course on “search inside yourself” to its employees. Stress levels in today’s organisations actually demand paying intentional attention to cultivating the domain of being, so as not to be overwhelmed by doing and performance. It is both a pity and an irony that we spend more time maintaining our car, our clothes and our hair than we do our mind!

Reflection, yoga, music, meditation, conscious breathing, prayer, singing, Tai Chi, and many other mindfulness exercises can help us to enhance our impact on our work and life.