What Mindfulness Can Do for a Team
Conflicts can arise when a team of people from a range of backgrounds are asked to complete a challenging project on a tight deadline. But sometimes conflicts can actually be productive. When teams are tossing around ideas and reaching to find the most effective route to a shared goal, people will inevitably offer differing perspectives. Even if not everyone agrees, this process can lead to stronger outcomes and a sense of shared accomplishment. However, it is important to not let conflict regarding how to complete a task turn personal and undermine the team.

Defined as "a receptive attention to and awareness of present events and experience," mindfulness has been shown to help individual team members stay on task, approach problems with an open mind, and avoid taking disagreements personally. Leadership teams that are more mindful will fare the best in achieving the organization's objectives, argues the article’s authors. Team mindfulness is distinct from individual mindfulness in that it applies to the group as a whole and to the interaction between its members. It's the collective awareness of what a team is experiencing at any given moment, without the prejudgments that come at the individual level.
The most important steps organizations can take to increase team mindfulness is to encourage present-focused attention, non-judgmental processing, and respectful communication. The article’s authors also say it’s important for teams to understand information before processing it. This reduces emotional or reflexive responses and helps teams with diverse knowledge to reach a greater potential.
Harvard Business Review (05/31/19) Yu, Lingtao; Zellmer-Bruhn, Mary
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