Being mindful can improve your interactions with co-workers, new study finds
Although mindfulness originates with a person, a researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University has found that the benefits don’t stop with this person. The real payoffs come out when a person’s mindfulness is translated into mindful interactions and relationships. Such interactions—infused with intentionality, compassion, and presence—can lead to more harmonious and healthy organizations.
“Understanding how individuals bring mindfulness into their work, and how these practices can contribute to interaction and relationship quality, is especially relevant as work landscapes are ever-changing and interdependence is increasingly becoming the norm,” said Christopher S. Reina, Ph. .D., associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the VCU School of Business.
In a study published in organizational science, Reina, and management professors Glen E. Kreiner, Ph.D., of the University of Utah; Alexandra Rheinhardt, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut; and Christine A. Mihelcic of the University of Richmond examine how individuals bring mindfulness to work and how it permeates their interactions at work.
These practices can be formal, such as taking a conscious break before a meeting begins, or informal, such as listening to someone intently.
The qualitative research uses the experiences of real leaders to explain how they bring mindfulness into the workplace. Primary data sources included interviews and participant observation on the ground. The researchers conducted 30 formal interviews with managers, professionals and consultants who practice mindfulness in the workplace, and more than 50 informal interviews with a wide variety of individuals who apply mindfulness principles in the workplace.
“Interestingly, the interviewees noted how other people around them had noticed the emotional effects of their conscious behavior on interactions and relationships,” Reina said. “We found the first evidence that our interviewees’ efforts to bring their mindfulness into the workplace were seen by their colleagues as having a positive effect.”
High-quality connections have been shown to improve individual functioning and positively influence group outcomes, such as psychological safety and trust.
In addition to establishing mindfulness within an interaction, the research also found that mindfulness practices can be used to prepare individuals for success in future interactions, such as preparing for a difficult or important conversation.
“Mindfulness reminds us that our thoughts and emotions are complex,” Reina said. “They are contextualized by past events experienced in a social setting, and within this social setting, individuals must be aware of their own as well as the thoughts and emotions of others in order to navigate these complexities with skill and compassion.”
Christopher S. Reina et al, Your presence is requested: Mindfulness Infusion in Workplace Interactions and Relationships, organizational science (2022). DOI: 10.1287/orsc.2022.1596
QuoteMindfulness: Being Mindful Can Improve Your Interactions With Coworkers, Found New Study (June 2022, June 29) retrieved June 29, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-mindful-interactions-co-workers.html
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