How do we define Power?
The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events.
Or, relating to electricity as the form of energy:
The source or means of supplying energy
In a corporate environment, how close a link is there between these two definitions?
Naturally, the level of anxiety and stress amongst leaders within the Finance and Investment sector is likely to be pretty high. The pressure that comes from the recent, negative press and media coverage of their profession, the pressure from regulators and the pressure from their Organisation to perform and deliver profits and results all have an impact. These leaders need to harness and direct their position power through efficient management of their own energy.
The 20th Century was all about conquering body health – good food, gym and exercise became almost cult-like due to their impacts and the benefits of health on working and personal lifestyle. You may have harnessed the power of exercise.
The 21st Century is all about understanding your brain and your mind through the practice of yoga and meditation. Ground breaking neuroscience research supports and validates evidence of the benefits. Have you tried it, yet?
Just as you exercise to expand your muscles, you can meditate to change the size of your brain. Sounds crazy? Consider this:
- A 2000 study conducted by researchers at Harvard University found that meditation increases the size of the brain regions that are associated with focused attention, deep thought and memory, the pre frontal cortex.
- The study says meditation can also help alleviate anxiety, depression, fear and anger.
A helicopter approach
Meditation opens the mind – freedom, focus and creativity flows. Much like the view from a helicopter, you can step back and see things from a higher level. Mindfulness is paying attention to your breath, thoughts, feelings in your body; in other words being fully focused and aware of this moment here and now.
Executives are responsible for setting the tone for those who work alongside them. So if we consider workplace performance, which creates behaviour in the organisation, and consider the impact of Mindful Decision Making vs Mindless Repetition… This can have a significant impact on a working environment and output.
How can leaders practice Mindful Decision Making?
Well, take just a minute of silence every hour or every 3 hours to avoid the
‘Amygdala hijack!’ (Excellently explained by Daniel Goleman here)
For example: You have a deadline to meet and are anxious to meet it, you may approach it from a fear of missing this deadline, in this instance the “Fight or Flight” is triggered and the body is flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. All cognitive rational decision making from your pre frontal cortex is overtaken by the automatic trigger of your survival mechanism. Brain imaging evidences that regular meditation calms this down.
Also, with just a few minutes of meditation a day, it has been shown again using brain imaging, that the pre frontal cortex of the brain is enlarged/activated.
Now faced with the same deadline, you will cam down and make decisions based on rational thinking taking into account other perspectives.
Meditation is a form of relaxation coaching. As with any sporting activity the success and glory of the team or individual is the result of many hours of practice with an experienced coach to encourage, motivate and challenge the individual to be at their very best. So it is with the meditation.
What if leaders within an organisation can harness their executive power to make more mindful decisions and set mindful goals. What would the result be?
Much like electricity, which pulsates throughout the world via wires and now even wirelessly provides positive electrical energy to perform a variety of outputs which have led to the growth and development of the Human Race. So it could be with leaders and professionals who have the power to influence the performance and engagement of employees whilst managing their own energy resource so that it is freely flowing – enabling decision making with consideration, clarity, focus and awareness, in other words, with Mindfulness!
Our next thought provoking article will be: Pressure and Performance. What is the tipping point?