Decision-making is an important element in our lives that determines the course of our future actions and experiences. All of us have to make decisions every day, whether we have to decide what kind of breakfast to have in the morning or to take the stairs on your way to work. These small decisions do not require a lot of thought and are easily determined by our previous choices and intuitive processing. However, there are situations in which we have to make important decisions like choosing our career path or moving to another country. In these situations, a decision requires a more complex rationalization.
Within organizations, leaders have to make important decisions more frequently, and their decisions can affect the strategy of the organization, its direction and structure. In this way, rather than having an intuitive approach based on prototypes and ignorance of probabilities, a leader has to have the ability to make rational-strategic decisions. Emotions play an important role in decision-making and affect the way an individual responds to a certain situation. Likewise, the degree to which we are emotionally involved in a decision may affect our response. The adaptive interaction between emotions and cognition, including the ability to understand and to handle one’s emotions and the capacity to interpret the emotions of others is known as emotional intelligence.
Considering emotional intelligence as a determinant factor in decision-making, I have focused my attention on mindfulness, as its practice improves attention, focus and regulates emotional processing. Although mindfulness can be increased through meditation practice, it is also conceptualized as a psychological trait present in all of us to a certain degree. With this in mind, I have conducted my research in Spain, where I have investigated trait mindfulness in leaders and managers without any prior exposure to mindfulness practice. Having divided my participants into two groups, I have explored their differences in trait mindfulness, emotional intelligence and decision-making styles using The Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire Short Form, The Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test and The General Decision-Making Styles.
The results indicated significant differences between and within the two groups at all levels of measurement. The leadership group had a significant higher level of mindfulness as well as emotional intelligence and a rational approach to decision-making. On the other hand, the managerial group scored lower on both mindfulness and emotional intelligence and were more likely to have a dependent, avoidant approach to decision-making. Exploring further the leadership group, I have found that mindfulness and emotional intelligence were directly correlated with their length of work experience. Hence, the higher the experience the higher their scores on both psychological constructs.
Both trait mindfulness and emotional intelligence increase over time, as a leader acquires more experience, skills and knowledge. Mindfulness meditation facilitates a fast track leadership development as it cultivates the necessary skills and aptitudes required for transformational leadership. Mindfulness practice adds flexibility and clarity in the face of continuous change and helps leaders to navigate ambiguous situations with confidence and focus.
Vladut Anton is a mindfulness consultant and life coach. He graduated Psychology at University of Westminster, London where he developed an interest for the study of consciousness and human behaviour. Being a mindfulness practitioner, he was keen on better understanding organizational behaviour and how mindfulness meditation can facilitate effective change; this led him to complete a Master degree in Occupational Psychology at University of London. He is currently located in Spain, where he helps companies to tackle work engagement and productivity.
You can contact Vlad at: email@example.com
His LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/vladut-anton-89459291/