Mindful Team Dynamics: Achieving Focus is as Simple as 1, 2, & 3

Have you ever found yourself in a meeting that seemed to have no clear direction? An hour of your life passes by, leaving you feeling like it was wasted. The only thing worse than such unproductive meetings is being in one you’ve been dreading due to anticipated tension or even conflicts. Hopefully, you were not the facilitator of such dysfunctional teams, but in my experience, they are a regular part of work life. Ugh. Teams come in various shapes and sizes. Task forces, standing committees, and even recreational teams are commonplace in nonprofits. While most envision a vertical structure, teams can be horizontal, cutting across hierarchies or even extending outside the organization into coalitions and associations. It is like a Venn diagram- some teams overlap, and some do not. As a mindful leader, your role involves steering at least one team, and as you ascend the organizational hierarchy, you’ll find yourself overseeing multiple teams or being invited to join them. Your primary responsibility is to ensure that teams have clear goals, collaborate effectively, and have access to necessary resources. Additionally, mentoring, evaluating, and providing constructive feedback are essential leadership tasks. To achieve these goals, mindful awareness can be an invaluable tool. A mindful team not only asks “what” – regarding goals but also “how.” How is the team functioning? How can processes be improved to enhance goal attainment? By practicing mindfulness, leaders can navigate the complexities of different teams, mediate power dynamics, and harness the diverse talents of team members to drive mission effectiveness. If you’re just beginning your journey into mindful leadership, here are three simple tips to help you develop a mindful team: Start with a Mindful Practice: Initiate each meeting with a brief meditation or a simple breathing exercise to center, calm, and focus team members. Have an Agenda: Ensure that each meeting has a well-structured agenda and stick to it. This helps maintain focus and ensures that the meeting stays on track. Put Away Cell Phones: Although it might be challenging, discourage the use of cell phones or other attention-zapping devices during meetings. Distractions and multitasking can diminish focus and attention, so encouraging present-moment awareness is vital and leads to more conducive conversations. Incorporating these mindful practices can transform your team dynamics, leading to greater focus, enhanced productivity, and a more harmonious work environment.