Mindfulness and Self-Leadership Training on Stress Management and Work Performance: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Intervention Study of Middle-Hierarchy Managers

back to overview

Type and Duration

FFF-Förderprojekt, January 2021 until December 2022

Coordinator

Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Main Research

Growth and Complexity

Description

Today's complex business environment is characterised by rapid technological changes, global-isation, diminishing resources and increasing costs. The sole way to lead a business that can both survive and thrive in such an environment is by applying flexible, strategic solutions. However, such trends also increase pressures and demands on management. Although most employees experience some kind of work-related stress, business leaders bear the brunt as they are responsible for the changes. Recently, self-leadership and mindfulness have been increasingly adopted to equip leaders with the attributes and attitudes necessary to carry both internal and external stimuli.
Mindfulness offers a multitude of benefits to any organisation. Increased work performance, work satisfaction, organisational commitment, well-being, high resilience, better stress man-agement along with improved social skills, emotional intelligence and improved social behav-iour are all attributes that can be gained. Through effective self-leadership, leaders can gain greater control over self-efficiency, coping strategies and the self-motivation required to en-hance personal and organisational performance. This is also related to greater job satisfaction, decreased absenteeism and lower levels of perceived stress and performance-related anxie-ty.
The initial aim of the study is to determine whether there is any positive impact from self-leadership and/or mindfulness training on the stress levels and performance of middle-hierarchy managers. The study will also examine the spill over effects associated with leaders' immediate practice of self-leadership and mindfulness strategies on their respective subordi-nates. The subordinates will, in this regard, be in a position to enhance their degree of resili-ence (better coping with stress, physical health problems, depression and burnout) and their work performance. The research is conducted using longitudinal cohort study data. The con-text of the study will be Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Practical Application

COVID-19 has no doubt disrupted the manner in which people live within society and operate in
workplaces globally. Preserving the status quo will certainly be challenging and this explains why
a number of establishments have moved from long-term priorities to short-term objectives in
the attempt to survive COVID-19. The emotions of employees, too, have been under duress
with the uncertainty about how long the pandemic will last. The greatest challenge that the
management of different establishments face is being able to strike a balance between being
authoritative and empathetic (Baron et al., 2018). Training managers and employees in selfleadership and mindfulness will enable them to develop the right mechanisms for dealing with
teams that operate remotely. Furthermore, such managers will be in a position provide a positive influence and working environment for their employees. This will enable them to both determine and put into practice the implementation of a business continuity plan that will enable
them overcome the challenges that business is dealing with as a result of the pandemic.
Training employees in mindfulness and meditation will provide them with the skills that they require to manage their circumstances and concerns. Managers and employees will subsequently
exhibit calmness (Hafeez, 2019). Being calm will enable employees and managers to deal with
all stakeholders, including customers and suppliers, effectively. Stakeholders will be confident to
overcome the uncertain times in which the business environment is currently operating. By subjecting their employees to self-leadership and mindfulness training, company administration will
be connecting the operations of the firm to the future. Failing to train the employees accordingly may pose long-term challenges that could enable employees to disconnect with each
other.

Reference to Liechtenstein

The pandemic has affected the community of Liechtenstein in several ways. For instance, businesses have closed down their operations after thriving for several years, learning has been affected by the implementation of social distancing measures, healthcare services have been
stretched and lives have been lost. Training managers and employees of an organisation in
mindfulness and self-leadership will have spillover effects across the community (Collins & Jackson, 2015). For instance, various stakeholders across the community are likely to collaborate
with each other by facilitating the rolling out of resources aimed at fighting the pandemic. With
the organisation operating across the community, it will act as an example for other institutions,
such as universities, that will further develop the right training approaches for their employees to enable them to cope with the pandemic. Mindfulness is likely to contribute to the development of compassion across the community. This is because employees and managers will
demonstrate concern towards vulnerable members of the community, which will make it possible for their needs and problems to be solved (Collins & Jackson, 2015). Evidence from studies
that have been carried out across different societies have determined that COVID-19 has made
people register loss of control, while others become vulnerable because of overwhelming emotions such as guilt, grief and fear. Mindfulness and self-leadership training will have a wider effect on the community because people will learn to appreciate present experiences instead of
fighting them. This will have the effect of providing the majority of people across the community with the capability to face challenges in the most positive and productive way, using the resources at their disposal. The community will benefit in the long-term through a positive cognitive and emotional effect throughout the majority of the public.

Keywords

Self-leadership, Mindfulness

Project Manager