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How to Be a Mindful Leader With Limited Time

articles Sep 21, 2022
how to be mindful

Many people are wondering how to be mindful at work when there just isn’t enough time. 

Boston Consulting Group, a leading research consulting firm, found that work has become six times more complex than 60 years ago. This complexity not only impacts us at work, but also in our personal lives with greater demands on our time and attention. This leads to the experience of “time scarcity”.

Time scarcity is the perception that there are time limitations on whatever we are doing. Research is showing that this state may have negative implications on our lives, and our potential to be mindful. 

When we experience time scarcity, we lose attentional focus and we fast track conversations, which leads to missed opportunities to connect deeply with what we are doing and who we are with.

So, how can we be mindful when work is more complex, and we’re pressed for time like never before? 

We can change our approach to mindfulness from something passive, to one where we engage in intentional actions that embody mindful presence and attitudes that support others. 

To help get you started, we’ve brought together a “Being a Mindful Leader” guide with science-based actions to support colleagues and their benefits.

Download the "Being a Mindful Leader Team Strategies" guide by clicking here.

Everyone has the ability to be mindful; to focus on what matters most in the moment, to manage their emotions, and to manage the emotions of those around them.

Your presence at work and in life will determine the quality of connections you have with others and how well those around you cope in challenging situations. Use these strategies daily to help ensure you’re creating an optimal environment at work and at home.

  • Provide a warm and responsive presence: show care and compassion.
    • Be a soothing presence: during meetings, slow down the pace of your speech and movements and lower the tone of your voice.
    • Create a sense of safety: express your commitment to providing caring support in times of stress.
    • Let your team know you are present: connect with and take the time to fully pay attention to your team and acknowledge their experience.
  • Promote self-care: through modeling and coaching.
    • Share your experience: Practice coping skills and tell your team what you are doing.
    • Reinforce the importance of self-care: At meetings and in communications, talk about the importance of wellbeing and encourage your team to use the resources available to them.
    • Provide opportunities to practice: make self-care a part of the day, promote and support mindful breaks, use mindful practices with your team whenever possible.
  • Create a sense of security: provide consistent, predictable routines and expectations.
    • Communicate regularly with your team: foster respectful openness to discuss mental health challenges and share resources that may be helpful.
    • Regular face-time: Check in with your team; provide acknowledgement of their presence with a smile; ask “How are you today? How are you managing today?”.
    • Express gratitude and kindness: “Thank you for….”. “I really appreciate that you….” “I’m grateful for/that….”.



 Michael Apollo MHSc RP is the founder of the Mindful Society Global Institute. Prior to founding MSGI in 2014, he was the Program Director of Mindfulness at the University of Toronto. He is an educator, licensed mental health clinician and certified facilitator in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.


The effects of time scarcity and time abundance on group performance quality and interaction process | Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Operating In A Complex World Does Not Have To Be Complicated | Forbes

How busyness leads to bad decisions | BBC

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