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url 2014-04-19 02:47
The Shearin Group Outstanding Leaders on 3 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness in a Multitasking Workplace

Neurologist Dr. Romie Mushtaq says that there’s science that supports the benefits of being focused and “in the moment.”





Employers such as Google, eBay, Intel and General Mills offer classes on it. So do Harvard Business School, Ross School of Business and Claremont Graduate University, among other campuses. Mindfulness is not just a social media buzzword or a corporate trend, but a proven method for success, according to neurologist Dr. Romie Mushtaq.

Mindfulness – being focused and fully present in the here and now – is good for individuals and good for a business’s bottom line, according to her. How can people practice it in a workplace where multitasking is the norm, and concerns for future profits can add to workplace stress? (More than 80 percent of employees report being stressed at work.)

“Even if a company doesn’t make it part of the culture, employees and managers can substitute their multitasking habits with mindfulness in order to reduce stress and increase productivity,” says Mushtaq. “The result that you and your colleagues will notice is that you’re sharper, more efficient and more creative.”

Mushtaq, who is a mind-body medicine physician and neurologist at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine in Orlando, Fla., did her medical education and training at the Medical University of South Carolina, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and University of Michigan, where she won numerous teaching and research awards. She says the physiological benefits of clearing away distractions and living in the moment have been documented in many scientific and medical studies.

“Practicing mindfulness, whether it’s simply taking deep breaths, or actually meditating or doing yoga, has been shown to alter the structure and function of the brain, which is what allows us to learn, acquire new abilities, and improve memory,” she says. “Advances in neuroimaging techniques have taught us how these mindfulness-based techniques affect neuroplasticity.”

Multitasking, on the other hand, depresses the brain’s memory and analytical functions, says Mushtaq, and it reduces blood flow to the part of the right temporal lobe, which contributes to creative thinking. In today’s marketplace, she adds, creativity is key for innovation, sustainability and leadership.

Mushtaq offers these tips for practicing mindfulness in a multitasking business:

Focus on a single task for an allotted amount of time. You might say, “For 15 minutes, I’m going to read through my emails, and then for one hour, I’m going to make my phone calls,” suggests Mushtaq.

If your job comes with constant interruptions that demand your attention, take several deep breaths and then prioritize them. Resist the urge to answer the phone every time it rings (unless it’s your boss). If someone asks you to drop what you’re doing to help with a problem, it’s OK to tell them, “I’ll be finished with what I’m doing in 10 minutes, then I’m all yours.”

When you get “stuck” in a task, change your physical environment to stimulate your senses. Sometimes we bounce from one task to another because we just don’t have the words to begin writing that strategic plan, or we’re staring at a problem and have no ideas for solutions.

“That’s the time to get up, take a walk outside and look at the flowers and the birds – change what you’re seeing,” Mushtaq says. “Or turn on some relaxing music that makes you feel happy.”

Offering your senses pleasant and different stimulation rewires your brain for relaxation, and reduces the effects of stress hormones, which helps to unfreeze your creativity center.

Delegate! We often have little control over the external stresses in our lives, particularly on the job. How can you not multitask when five people want five different things from you at the same time?

“Have compassion for yourself, and reach out for help,” advises Mushtaq. “If you can assign a task to somebody else who’s capable of handling it, do so. If you need to ask a colleague to help you out, ask!”

This will not only allow you to focus on the tasks that most need your attention, it will reduce your stress, she says. “And who knows? The colleague you’re asking for help may want to feel appreciated and part of your team!"

While it is possible to practice mindfulness in a hectic workplace, Mushtaq says she encourages business leaders to make it part of the company culture. Stress-related illnesses are the No. 1 cause of missed employee workdays.

“Offering mindfulness training and yoga classes or giving people time and a place to meditate is an excellent investment,” she says. “Your company’s performance will improve, you’ll see a reduction in stress-related illnesses and you’ll be a more successful businessperson.”

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url 2014-04-18 03:20
The Shearin Group Outstanding Leaders on 3 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness in a Multitasking Workplace

Neurologist Dr. Romie Mushtaq says that there’s science that supports the benefits of being focused and “in the moment.”





Employers such as Google, eBay, Intel and General Mills offer classes on it. So do Harvard Business School, Ross School of Business and Claremont Graduate University, among other campuses. Mindfulness is not just a social media buzzword or a corporate trend, but a proven method for success, according to neurologist Dr. Romie Mushtaq.

Mindfulness – being focused and fully present in the here and now – is good for individuals and good for a business’s bottom line, according to her.

How can people practice it in a workplace where multitasking is the norm, and concerns for future profits can add to workplace stress? (More than 80 percent of employees report being stressed at work.)

“Even if a company doesn’t make it part of the culture, employees and managers can substitute their multitasking habits with mindfulness in order to reduce stress and increase productivity,” says Mushtaq. “The result that you and your colleagues will notice is that you’re sharper, more efficient and more creative.”

Mushtaq, who is a mind-body medicine physician and neurologist at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine in Orlando, Fla., did her medical education and training at the Medical University of South Carolina, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and University of Michigan, where she won numerous teaching and research awards. She says the physiological benefits of clearing away distractions and living in the moment have been documented in many scientific and medical studies.

“Practicing mindfulness, whether it’s simply taking deep breaths, or actually meditating or doing yoga, has been shown to alter the structure and function of the brain, which is what allows us to learn, acquire new abilities, and improve memory,” she says. “Advances in neuroimaging techniques have taught us how these mindfulness-based techniques affect neuroplasticity.”

Multitasking, on the other hand, depresses the brain’s memory and analytical functions, says Mushtaq, and it reduces blood flow to the part of the right temporal lobe, which contributes to creative thinking. In today’s marketplace, she adds, creativity is key for innovation, sustainability and leadership.

Mushtaq offers these tips for practicing mindfulness in a multitasking business:

Focus on a single task for an allotted amount of time. You might say, “For 15 minutes, I’m going to read through my emails, and then for one hour, I’m going to make my phone calls,” suggests Mushtaq.

If your job comes with constant interruptions that demand your attention, take several deep breaths and then prioritize them. Resist the urge to answer the phone every time it rings (unless it’s your boss). If someone asks you to drop what you’re doing to help with a problem, it’s OK to tell them, “I’ll be finished with what I’m doing in 10 minutes, then I’m all yours.”

When you get “stuck” in a task, change your physical environment to stimulate your senses. Sometimes we bounce from one task to another because we just don’t have the words to begin writing that strategic plan, or we’re staring at a problem and have no ideas for solutions.

“That’s the time to get up, take a walk outside and look at the flowers and the birds – change what you’re seeing,” Mushtaq says. “Or turn on some relaxing music that makes you feel happy.”

Offering your senses pleasant and different stimulation rewires your brain for relaxation, and reduces the effects of stress hormones, which helps to unfreeze your creativity center.

Delegate! We often have little control over the external stresses in our lives, particularly on the job. How can you not multitask when five people want five different things from you at the same time?

“Have compassion for yourself, and reach out for help,” advises Mushtaq. “If you can assign a task to somebody else who’s capable of handling it, do so. If you need to ask a colleague to help you out, ask!”

This will not only allow you to focus on the tasks that most need your attention, it will reduce your stress, she says. “And who knows? The colleague you’re asking for help may want to feel appreciated and part of your team!"

While it is possible to practice mindfulness in a hectic workplace, Mushtaq says she encourages business leaders to make it part of the company culture. Stress-related illnesses are the No. 1 cause of missed employee workdays.

“Offering mindfulness training and yoga classes or giving people time and a place to meditate is an excellent investment,” she says. “Your company’s performance will improve, you’ll see a reduction in stress-related illnesses and you’ll be a more successful businessperson.”

Source: ehstoday.com/safety-leadership/3-tips-practicing-mindfulness-multitasking-workplace
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text 2014-04-17 03:07
The Shearin Group Outstanding Leaders tips on Universities to value their staff

1) Communicate a clear vision

 

"A lot depends on where your university is and what you want the vice-chancellor to do. Do you need more student recruitment? Do you need more research grant money? So often the university strategic plan says things like, ' Be the best world-leading university at, er, everything. ' Well, sorry, but we don't believe you. Some universities – I am thinking De Montfort, Coventry, or Sheffield – have strategic plans you can actually believe, and at least one of those universities have linked the vice-chancellor's pay explicitly to whether that job got done. "(officeslob, commenter)

 

2) Trust your staff

 

"It is an essential quality of any leader that they should develop and empower their staff. This means trusting them to innovate and get on with things without always looking over their shoulder or filling a form to say they've done something. " (Sue Shepherd, higher education management consultant, University of Kent)

 

3) Be fair

 

"Academics are slightly strange animals and difficult to lead (and we all know they are difficult to manage!) – very individualistic and therefore many may not be considered team players. However all academics want to work in organisations where they are treated fairly e.g. don't bully someone for not being REFable when their admin/teaching workload is enormous etc. " (Paula Nicolson, emeritus professor, Royal Holloway, University of London)

 

4) Appoint good people

 

"I see ' leaderful ' practices in classrooms, research teams and student-led activity throughout the HE sector. Sometimes this is found despite prevailing managerial cultures in institutions; sometimes it is purposefully engendered by leaders dispersed through universities whose activity seems clearly-defined by enacting their values and their belief in the potential of higher education to engage and transform. " (Paul Gentle, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education)

 

5) Value all staff

 

"Universities need to value their staff – permanent and casual. Many casual staff are the academics and administrative managers of the future and need to be engaged by the leaders because both have a future together. " (Paula Nicolson)

 

"I would like people to reflect on whom exactly is being led by these visionary leaders; from my experience, an army of casual, underpaid and underprotected temporary staff, tasked with delivering teaching, marking and support to students. It suits management and sadly, it suits the permanent members of staff, relieved of their boring teaching duties and more able to work on their research and seek external funding. This is the model, let's not forget it in this fog of management-speak and emotional intelligence talk. " (Enheduanna, commenter).

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url 2014-04-16 05:20
The Shearin Group Outstanding Leaders: Want to Be a Good Leader?

Want to Be a Good Leader? Step One: Know Thyself

 

What is the most important characteristic of a leader? Some might say it's integrity. Others may say that it's being a good motivator. But psychologist and author Sherrie Campbell believes that self-awareness — the ability to monitor one's own emotions and reactions — is the key factor in leadership success.

 

"Self-awareness keeps us grounded, attuned and focused," said Campbell, author of "Loving Yourself: The Master of Being Your Own Person" (AuthorHouse, 2012). "When leaders are grounded, they are able to be efficient and deliberate in staying on task, and being attuned to those around them. Leaders who have the ability to control their minds and emotions help to guide those around them to develop their own self-knowledge and success."

 

Learning to be aware of yourself isn't always easy, but mastering this skill can help you become a much more effective leader. Campbell shared these seven tips for improving self-awareness. [4 Tips For Teaching Leadership Skills]

 

  • Keep an open mind. When you have the ability to regulate your own emotional world, you can be attuned the emotions of others. To be a successful leader, you have to be curious about new people and all they have to offer. This shows that you can be a team player, and don't need to be No. 1. The more open you are to others, the more creative you become.

 

  • Be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses. Self-aware individuals know their own strengths and weaknesses and are able to work from that space. Being mindful of this means that you know when to reach out for assistance, and when you are good on your own.

 

  • Stay focused. Making connections with those around you is important as a leader. But you can't make those connections if you're distracted. Train yourself to focus for long periods of time without getting sucked into social media, emails and other small distractions.

 

  • Set boundaries. A leader needs to have strong boundaries in place. Be warm toward others, but say no when you need to say no. Be serious about your work and your passions, and keep your boundaries firm to maintain the integrity of your goals and the work you put into them.

 

  • Know your emotional triggers. Self-aware individuals are able to identify their emotions as they are happening. Don't repress your emotions or deny their causes; instead, be able to bend and flex with them, and fully process them before communicating with others.

 

  • Embrace your intuition. Successful people trust their gut instincts and take the risks associated with them. Your instincts are based on the survival of the fittest and the need to succeed. They tell us what to do next.  Learn to trust these and use them.
  • ·

Practice self-discipline. Good leaders tend to be disciplined at work and in every area of their life. It is a character trait that provides them with the enduring focus necessary for strong leadership.

 

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url 2014-04-15 07:24
The Shearin Group Outstanding Leaders about 8 Leadership Tips from the Rank and File

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It is easy to focus on leadership from a top down perspective, especially in a paramilitary organization like a fire department. Yet, good fire chiefs know that their ability to lead is as much due to the power vested in them from those holding lesser rank as it is from those higher up.

 

In his blog, “Learning from Subordinates” leadership expert and founder of Partners in Excellence Dave Brock writes that listening to subordinates is an excellent way for leaders to learn what’s going on in the world and within the organization.

 

And just as important to the fire chief or chief officer, is the ability to learn what others know and don’t know. Brock writes that a seemingly naïve question is a wake up call that not everyone knows what you know. This assumption of knowledge is an easy mistake to make.

 

The questions can also show that the leader is blind to what’s going on, a very human condition, Broke writes.

 

The importance of getting information from the bottom up cannot be overstated. Leadership Coach Dan Rockwell goes so far as to recommend subordinates be given the power to conduct formal job appraisals for their supervisors. For Rockwell, the goal is to flatten the organization by converting subordinates to colleagues.

 

To get quality communication flowing up the org chart, fire chiefs can implement processes like one-on-one meetings and anonymous suggestion boxes. Most importantly, the chief needs to create a culture where firefighters can speak truth to power without fear of retribution.

 

To further this discussion and give fire chiefs insight into what the rank and file need from a leader, we posed the question to them on Facebook. We also conducted an unscientific poll asking readers: “What level of confidence do you have in your fire chief.” Here are the results:

 

  • 75 to 100 percent confidence: 45 percent
  • 50 to 75 percent confidence: 16 percent
  • 25 to 50 percent confidence: 16 percent
  • 0 to 25 percent confidence: 23 percent

 

Many of our Facebook responders said they want a fire chief to lead by example. Here’s a look at eight of the more insightful and representative comments.

 

“Knowledgeable at their trade but still actively learning, a good communicator and better listener. Knows how to delegate, is firm but fair. Puts the safety of his crew first.” — Jesse Clifton

 

“Someone that isn’t afraid to change some things in the department for the better.” — Adam Gannaway

 

“Remember where you came from. Don’t lose touch with the guys in the field. Lead by example and don’t ask someone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.” — Michael Frost

 

“Don’t hire friends and don’t allow bullies to run your station. Stand up for your underlings or you will have dysfunction breeding dysfunction.” — Tam Johnson Ganci

 

“Ability to balance service to the community and what’s best for your troops. It’s an art form.” — Jeff Armstrong

 

“Lead by example and be trustworthy.” — Dann Gracia

 

“A great chief will help and watch his personnel surpass his knowledge and abilities.” — Lee Martin

 

“Being able to talk to someone, listen and understand.” — Tom Hayman

 

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