The best HR professionals I know have an aurora of calm around them and a super power like ability to glide through even the most stressful or complex situations. So what do they do differently?
In a word, they are mindful.
I personally went into HR as I wanted to help people. In 2012, I became a yoga teacher. Since then I have been able to add a lot more skills to my professional HR career. I have found that increased self awareness, removing my ego from professional situations and being more present in my role has led to better performance and better business relationships.
As a HR professional, I know how hard it is to be mindful all the time. Most of the time it feels like you are caught between a rock and a hard place. The increase in work intensity and rising pressures of modern life have made me think about the importance of mindfulness in HR and how now more than ever, we need to bring mindfulness in our lives and corporate lives as much as possible. I have found the mindfulness is a super power for HR professionals and can easily by adopted by anyone at any level in their HR journey.
So what's in it for you?
Mindfulness has helped me further develop core HR skills; I have more self-confidence, better time management, better judgement and decision making skills, a more balanced and fair view of situations, I am more resilient, I am more productive, I have better business relationships and I have the ability to block out outside noise so that I can purely focus on my role and what I need to achieve.
I talk about mindfulness, yoga and meditation everyday both in my personal and professional lives. The best way I can explain the benefits is to list the benefits that I have experienced first hand. These include:
- More self-confidence, you value yourself more and are clearer on your strengths
- Better focus and clarity
- Better productivity
- Better decision making skills
- More resilience, you are able to persevere without getting too attached or drained from the situation you are managing
- Ability to observe, pause than react. I have learnt to observe and listen more and react less.
- Better judgement and non-judgement (while judgement is a critical skill for HR, I have found that sometimes it's HR's role not to judge)
- Know when to get involved and when not to get involved
- Understand yourself better and know what makes you happy. You make better choices that meet your needs
- Ability to be yourself and bring your whole self to work. The lines have blurred between personal and professional, so it is really engaging to be able to bring your authentic self to work, this helps in building self-respect
- You stress less. I feel I need to repeat this one. You stress less as you are more present and worry less about the past or the future.
What are three things you can do to be more mindful?
I have to admit that there are moments when I do get stressed in HR and I am a yoga teacher. Being aware of stress and the impact it has on me really helps me in my HR roles and I thank my focus on mindfulness for keeping me sane some days. Here are some tips to get you started:
Put yourself first.
You are important too! As HR professionals you do put others first and it can be easily drain your energy when dealing with others. So you do need to put yourself first and ensure you are spending enough time reenergising yourself. The key point to remember is that you can't pour from an empty cup, so putting your needs first will help you deliver better to others. Saying 'no' (without feeling guilty) and setting clear boundaries are two ways to put yourself first, high performers do this really well so follow their lead and put your needs first.
HR doesn't get a lot of positive recognition, like IT you will normally only receive feedback if something goes wrong. Therefore take the initiative to self-promote and self-recognise all the work that you do and the value that you add. Right now think about 3 things you have done really well recently and give yourself the recognition you deserve. In addition, make sure you make the effort to recognise your hard working colleagues and celebrate when you can. What goes around comes around!
Set up a mindfulness practice.
This maybe an obvious one, but to be more mindful it helps to have your own mindfulness practice. This means to have some quiet time everyday where you can reflect and take your attention inwards. Being mindful helps anchor you in the present so that you are more calm and balanced and ultimately stress less. Take a yoga class, write in a journal, meditate or simply close your eyes for 10 minutes a day and see the difference it makes to balancing your mind.
Your wellbeing and mental health is so important, don’t forget that. In HR we are so busy looking after everyone else's needs that we often neglect our own. I urge you to put yourself first and ensure that your wellbeing is a priority.
If you want to be a more mindful HR professional, check out my other blogs on ‘The Habits of Highly Mindful People at Work’ or ‘5 Ways to Start Meditating’.