Holiday time is here and we are all pressing to close key deals, fight for budget, and finish on a strong note. Add to the mix all the perfect presents we must get family members, suddenly the stress knot your masseuse got out last week starts creeping back.
There is a fix.
Focusing on small things that make up big things is what being mindful is all about — great managers know about the small things. Being mindful is first keeping priorities in perspective. On the continuum of being a Scrooge vs. a pushover, every manager must find their degree of balance around being mindful.
Do you really care what your direct report got their Uncle for Christmas? Possibly. Most likely not.
What about when a direct report confides in you about their child’s learning disability? Sure. Why not?
Do you want to go into depth about a potential marital problem with a direct report? Maybe. Maybe not.
Will you be there for your direct report to confide about their ailing parent? Hopefully.
All of these, on the outside, have nothing to do with the company, but arguably impact the business more than we can quantify. We’ve all had the moment where we’re sitting at our desk and can’t focus on anything except what is distracting us.
Each manager has a certain boundary they will go with each direct report, but it’s our #1 job to make sure everyone is operating at superior levels.
Find that boundary and provoke a constant state of mindfulness through one-on-one meetings. The following are 3 ways to be mindful in one-on-one meetings.
1. Be Vulnerable First
Communicate with your direct reports on what is important outside of work through the degree of mindfulness you exhibit. The one on one meeting is about building a real relationship. Now is a good time to tell an anecdotal story about something meaningful outside of work. Let each direct report know you’re not just the boss in the Ivory tower expecting nothing but a number from them. Share stories about what you’re reading, struggles with shopping, or even the occasional complaint about the in-law’s cousin who took the last slice of pumpkin pie over Thanksgiving (that spoiled punk).
2. Challenge Each Direct Report To Be Mindful
Mindful managers produce mindful direct reports. They ask each direct report about their personal life, at least to the extent where the direct report always knows they can bring professionally personal topics to them as a trusted sounding board.
When was the last time you asked a direct report “what has been the best thing you read lately?” or “Is there anything outside of work that gets you excited to wake up?”
Listen to these and understand them.
3. Follow Up on Being Mindful
The ease to B.S. a few weeks before the holiday is easy. If you’re going to be serious about prioritizing being mindful then follow up on the conversation. The holidays are not the only time to be mindful. Set the tone that you are open to discuss multiple topics around work and personal life. Keep challenging them on spending time around their personal mission. When you constantly follow up on mindful topics at the right time (most likely one-on-one meetings), it shows you care.
Direct reports will feel greater trust and stronger alignment to the company and their job if you consistently communicate how you are a mindful person and that you prioritize mindfulness on your team.