Practicing Mindfulness Leads To Better Decision Making, Less Stress
Decision-making is a fundamental aspect of our professional and personal lives. Every day we make hundreds, even thousands, of decisions. Unfortunately, stress and other factors often lead good leaders to make bad decisions.
Our brains process 400 billion bits of information per second, but we are only aware of about 2,000 of these according to Dr. Joseph Dispenza, author of Evolve Your Brain. And, according to numerous reports, the average number of remotely conscious decisions an adult makes each day is roughly 35,000!Decision-making is a fundamental aspect of our professional and personal lives. Every day we make hundreds, even thousands, of decisions. Unfortunately, stress and other factors often lead good leaders to make bad decisions.
No wonder so many leaders operate in a “mind full” mode. This is not good. A more effective method is to make decisions in a “mindful” mode. Fortunately, this is a skill that can be learned, ingrained, and practiced.
In an article titled Beware the Busy Manager in the February 2002 issue of Harvard Business Review, Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal wrote, “Very few managers use their time as effectively as they could. They think they’re attending to pressing matters, but they’re really just spinning their wheels.” In fact, the authors conclude from their ten–year study that “fully 90% of managers squander their time in all sorts of ineffective activities” and only “a mere 10% of managers spend their time in a committed, purposeful, and reflective manner.”
The daily juggling of data, reports, email, meetings, decisions, and way too much information makes it difficult to cope and results in leaders running on autopilot. We see these zoned out and inattentive leaders struggling to lead their teams and team members, as well as themselves. Many are so consumed with firefighting activities that few realize these fires have been caused by the bad decisions and choices they have made. Thus the cycle of stress-induced poor decision making is perpetuated by the stress of correcting unanticipated results from previous poor decisions.
Leaders need to take a collective deep breath, pause, and regain control of their reactionary minds.
To read more on this important leadership topic, please download our free article Better Decision-Making: From a Mind Full to a Mindful Leader.