Positive Psychology has been gaining traction in management practices since the 1990s, and its impact continues to grow. Prioritising the mental health and wellness of both individuals and teams is crucial, as it can significantly impact motivation and productivity.
Studies have shown a substantial correlation between psychological wellbeing and workplace productivity. As a result, contemporary management methods have given more importance to considering the mental wellness of personnel, emphasising this aspect.
Mindfulness has been a significant aspect of positive psychology research since its inception, with the aim of promoting human wellbeing. Essentially, it is the capability of individuals to focus on the present moment, being conscious of their surroundings, emotions, and actions, while being in charge of their reactions and behaviour.
Recognising the Importance of Mindfulness
Being aware of the present moment is an innate capacity of every human being. Nonetheless, mindfulness can be developed. Similar to any other expertise, with more practice, it becomes simpler to attain this state of mind.
Mindfulness education has been extensively studied in the psychology domain and is linked to various advantageous consequences, including decreased stress levels, improved productivity, heightened ingenuity, and increased self-awareness and social acuity. This is not a momentary fad but an established practice, backed by research and evidence.
Breathing exercises and various types of meditation are commonly included in the structure of many mindfulness training programmes. This is not surprising, as the roots of mindfulness are grounded in Eastern traditions like Buddhism.
The beneficial aspect of mindfulness is that one need not be a Sannyasin to practice it. Incorporating some of the most valuable teachings from there to project management can be advantageous.
Foster a Positive Atmosphere in the Workplace
To be clear, a good work atmosphere is one that facilitates personal growth of staff, promotes collaboration, and encourages wellbeing and satisfaction.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to establishing a gratifying work environment, as requirements vary depending on the project and team. In the capacity of a project manager, it is important to be attentive to the team’s interpersonal dynamics and display empathy to ensure a thriving work atmosphere.
Empathetic individuals possess the ability to grasp and empathise with other people’s emotions. Assertive communication skills have a significant connection with this emotional intelligence aspect. Developing an understanding of one’s and others’ emotions can notably boost empathetic capabilities.
For instance, it is commonly acknowledged that working towards a strict deadline can be an incredibly stressful experience for a team. The strain of working on a project can significantly affect developers and engineers, both mentally and physically. The situation could be compared to a time bomb ticking away.
It is advisable to be attentive and address the situation before it spirals out of control. Communicate with the individual and determine if you can assist them in dealing with the situation. Foster an environment where people can candidly express their emotions.
Encourage Staff to Establish a Routine
Individuals adopt cultural norms and standards that may or may not align with their personal convictions, commonly known as introjects. One of the most critical hurdles we must overcome is recognising that not all introjects need to conform to our values and principles.
It is evident that every individual possesses unique abilities that distinguish them. For instance, some individuals may find it more conducive to concentrate while listening to music, while others prefer to converse while working, and some favour a noiseless workspace. It is apparent that uniformity is unfeasible.
Encouraging a work environment where developers can foster their distinct style can promote the team’s long-term contentment and productivity.
The current post-pandemic scenario is an example of this. While some individuals thrive when working remotely, others look forward to returning to traditional work arrangements. Your role, similar to that of an orchestra conductor, is to ensure all members harmoniously work together.
Show Flexibility and Open-mindedness
Practising mindfulness can enhance an individual’s presence and acceptance in the present moment. This can enable one to respond more positively to the external surroundings, even when they cannot be altered.
Even when following a methodical approach like the Waterfall methodology, project managers affirm that variations from the original plan are expected at some point. Hence, it is crucial to remain flexible enough to address any challenges that may arise.
Empathy is another form of flexibility. To avert impulsive decisions, it is advisable to envision oneself in the other person’s situation.
It is crucial to establish a workplace culture in which your team feels at ease owning up to their mistakes and being accountable for their actions. Everyone makes choices or errors they rue, and it is necessary to create a secure space to confront these obstacles. Even though it may be uncomfortable, these moments are when we are most vulnerable and should receive support to progress.
Instead of fixating on past failures, contemplate on how they can be used to educate others and aid in their development as developers.
Be attentive and model attentive behaviour
By investing time in being present, one will soon recognise that their own thoughts can act as a barrier. Our contemporary society places a premium on continuous stimulation, rendering it challenging to cultivate calmness.
Mindfulness practices can bolster focus and attentiveness. In virtual meetings, it is crucial to stay engaged in the discussion and refrain from being sidetracked by checking emails.
Prioritise the welfare of others and demonstrate kindness. Encourage the entire team to put aside their mobile phones and relax collectively.
Additionally, employ technology to assist in keeping your project on schedule. However, juggling too many tasks at once is not recommended. Focusing exclusively on one task heightens the probability of accomplishing it successfully. Imagine that the present task is the sole component that matters.
It is crucial to recognise the significant responsibility of a project manager in providing a holistic view of the project. It is indispensable to cultivate the required competencies to enable smooth transitions between tasks.
Strike a balance between frustration and alleviation.
Lastly, mindfulness is a valuable practice, but it should not be exercised in isolation. In a world fraught with stress and obstacles, we strive to nurture mindfulness. Discontentment is just as integral to our advancement as happiness.
Experiencing an impulse to persist when confronted with a deadline is normal. Nevertheless, it is vital to resist this inclination and ensure your team takes essential breaks.
Maintaining favourable levels of energy is crucial to avoid facing burnout. However, an imbalanced feeling of discontentment can result in boredom. Hence, we should strive to determine a suitable equilibrium by consulting our team members about their perception of the situation.
Although mindfulness is essentially an individual pursuit, the insights learned from it are universal and can be utilised in all aspects of life.