Sadly, the leaders of many organizations act as if employee stress is just a natural byproduct of their production process. Some managers believe that if they don't keep extreme pressure on their employees, they won't get good results. Some managers actively create a culture of fear and distrust. Many in leadership positions can't imagine their employees might have some valuable insights...or they just don't encourage listening. And very few organizations incorporate periods of reflection into their way of doing business.
Of course, some organizations do have stress management programs, because their leadership realizes stress is a major cost—in the form of illness, lower productivity, employee burnout and high turnover. However, these programs would be far more effective if they weren't just about helping employees cope with stress, but also about helping the organization create less of it.
I believe that if organizations were healthier and happier, then their employees would be healthier and happier as well. I also believe healthier and happier organizations would be more effective in fulfilling their goals—and less likely to do harm in the world.
Today, I would like you to consider introducing to your workplace a bit of what we have been doing here. You could ask your friends at work to do a Portable Minute with you on your lunch hour, you could talk to your boss about starting each meeting with a Minute, or you could even consider leading an occasional team Minute yourself.
When a team does a Minute together, not only does it give you a good excuse to do a Minute, but it seems also to intensify that Minute. Even better, it creates a culture in which taking a minute is considered a truly valuable way for employees to spend time.
You might think this is a radical (even revolutionary!) step for your workplace, but I have taught One-Moment Meditation® to many people in their professional roles—physicians, nurses, lawyers, corporate executives, teachers and police officers—all of whom were keenly aware of its benefits to their jobs. It's not just for stress reduction...it's also for productivity.
Meditation can also be considered a key leadership skill. It can help leaders remain calm under pressure, and to listen better, make fewer mistakes, solve problems more efficiently, build better teams and make decisions with greater insight.
Introducing a Minute to your workplace could itself be considered an act of leadership. You would be changing the culture of your workplace in a very positive direction—and helping many other people reduce stress, listen better and work better too.
Even though bringing a moment of meditation into the workplace might seem revolutionary, this revolution will be a very quiet one.
Martin Boroson is a playful, practical new voice in the next wave of meditation teachers. Author of One-Moment Meditation: Stillness for People on the Go, he lectures on the benefits of a meditative mind for decision-making and leadership. Marty studied philosophy at Yale, earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and is a formal student of Zen. Visit his website for One-Moment Meditation® help and resources, tweet him at @takeamoment or find him on Facebook.
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Did you try doing a Minute at work? How did it go? Let us know—leave your comments and questions below!