Mindfulness in the Workplace

A Commentary from  Professor Michael West, Head of Thought Leadership at the King’s Fund and Professor of Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University Management School

Mindful organisation involves identifying the key problems facing the organisation and attending to them.  This them enables the generation of new and improved ways of responding.  In this way organisations adapts to its environment successfully.

Mindful organising is about interconnection.  His research over the last 25 years shows how mindful teams, especially in pressured situations, are much more effective than other teams.  Teams that take time out to reflect on what they are trying to achieve and how they are going about it and then making changes are far more productive and innovative than other teams.  The power of such ‘team reflexivity’ or ‘team mindfulness’ has been demonstrated in teams around the world.

Mindfulness practice in organisations should not simply be an add on because it is unlikely this will change organisational cultures.  We must aspire to create organisations that are themselves mindful so that organisations become communities that support the underlying principles on which the mindfulness movement is based – openness, authenticity, attention to difficulty, supportiveness and presence.  And in this way, ensuring their effectiveness and the flourishing of those who work within them and are served by them.

“Teams are more effective and  innovative to the extent that they routinely take time out to reflect upon their objectives, strategies, processes  and environments and make changes  accordingly”

(Schippers, West & Dawson, 2012, Journal of Management; Tannembaum & Cerasoli, 2013, Human Factors)