In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing work environment, effective teamwork is essential for achieving success. However, working in teams can be challenging, especially when team members have different backgrounds, perspectives, and personalities. When team culture is not right, it can even invoke our primitive survival instincts, as we try to avoid being cast out of the troop or moved down the hierarchy. One way to overcome these challenges and improve team performance is to incorporate mindfulness into team dynamics.
A mindful approach can help team members develop greater empathy and understanding towards each other, leading to more effective communication and a stronger sense of team cohesion. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which can lead to better decision-making and more creative problem-solving.
Here are some ideas for incorporating mindfulness into your team.
Encourage team members to practice active listening, which involves paying full attention to the speaker and avoiding distractions. Agree to communicate clearly and respectfully, which can help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
Begin team meetings with a brief mindfulness practice, such as a breathing exercise or a body scan. This can help team members focus and prepare for the meeting, which can lead to more productive discussions. Some of the team may not be comfortable taking part and that’s ok. Let them enjoy the quiet time however they like, and then ask them how they found it. This makes them part of the discussion, which is sometimes the best you can hope for. In time, as mindfulness becomes more embedded in your team culture, and you start to see positive results, it will just become a way of doing things.
Just the phrase “can I give you some feedback” sends many of us into fight-or-flight mode. We immediately feel under threat, and this is probably due to experiences we’ve had with line managers or performance reviews in the past. Encourage team members to provide feedback in a constructive and respectful manner. And clarify that feedback doesn’t have to be negative. Positive feedback and recognition should also be encouraged on a regular basis This can help build trust and respect among team members, leading to better collaboration and performance.
Create a workspace that promotes mindfulness. For example providing a quiet area for focused tasks or strategic thinking. Or even visible prompts, reminding people why it’s beneficial to take a break and manage their energy levels. This can help team members manage their stress levels and improve focus, leading to better performance.
Building and maintaining effective teams can be tricky, especially in a competitive corporate environment. But with a mindful approach, it’s possible to create the conditions where your team can thrive. Here at My Trained Mind we love to support teams in achieving their full potential. You can contact us if you’d like to find out more.