The Power of Mindfulness

Report
Developing Engagement, Wellbeing
and Performance of Leaders and
People at Work
Paul Atkins & Robert Styles
Centre for Career Development ANU
Aims for Today
• Briefly discuss current context for ANU
developing a unique approach to staff
development.
• Discuss the nature of psychological
flexibility and why it is increasingly being
seen as critical.
• Present research method and results.
A unique approach to staff
development
• Centred on developing a bigger, more
flexible repertoire of chosen responses to
all situations.
• Targeting the following core capabilities:
– self-awareness
– self-regulatory capability
– perspective taking capability, and
– dialogue skills.
This is unique because ...
• Psychological flexibility (PF) is at the core of all our work.
• How can we respond flexibly and more effectively to life
situations?
• Answer:
– a) by being aware of our own automatic sense-making and
emotional reactivity,
– b) being able to self-regulate to choose from a range of possible
responses, and
– c) choosing to act in the direction of that which is most helpful in
the moment to realise chosen values.
We emphasise the importance of
qualities of receptivity, not just agency
• BEING – not only DOING
– (although DOING is still important).
open
aware
engaged
Psychological Flexibility is ...
• the capacity to be aware of one’s own
automatic reactions to the present moment
(whether positive, negative or neutral) and
being able to act in a way that will bring
about what is good for you in the long run.
values directed action
open
aware
mindfulness
engaged
Some examples ...
• Decision Making - Choosing what to do each
moment of each day.
• Conflict – stepping back from assumptions and
perspective to listen to the other.
• Persistence on Difficult Tasks – writing a paper
even when judgmental.
• Leading with courage, presence and authenticity
rather than defensively and reactively.
Evidence that psychological flexibility is
important ...
There is considerable evidence for the positive impacts of
psychological flexibility upon work-related dependent
variables such as:
mental health (Flaxman & Bond, 2010a, 2010b; Kashdan &
Rottenberg, 2010),
performance (Bond & Bunce, 2003),
physical well-being (Donaldson-Feilder & Bond, 2004),
a propensity to innovate (Bond & Bunce, 2000),
social and emotional functioning (McCracken & Yang,
2008), and
a capacity to thrive under conditions of greater autonomy
(Bond et al., 2008).
... mindfulness is important ...
There is also strong evidence that mindfulness interventions can have positive
consequences for individuals, including:
increased empathy (Block-Lerner, Adair, Plumb, Rhatigan, & Orsillo, 2007;
Shapiro, Schwartz, & Bonner, 1998),
reduced burnout and increased life satisfaction (Mackenzie, Poulin, &
Seidman-Carlson, 2006),
improved mental health (Williams, 2006),
greater attentional performance and cognitive flexibility (Moore &
Malinowski, 2009),
improved performance (Shao & Skarlicki, 2009), and
higher autonomous motivation and vitality (Brown & Ryan, 2003).
There has also been increasing research demonstrating that mindfulness improves:
decision making, reduces likelihood of errors, enhances resilience to stress
at work and improves concentration and attention (Brown, Ryan, & Creswell,
2007; Glomb, Duffy, Bono, & Yang, 2012; Ortner, 2007; Shapiro, Astin, Bishop,
& Cordova, 2005; Shapiro et al., 1998; Walach et al., 2007).
The benefits of mindfulness include...
•
•
•
•
•
•
Improved physical health
Reduced psychological illness
Enhanced well-being
Changed brain structures
Changed brain activity, and …
Improved Cognition and Motivation
– Creativity, Performance and Engagement
and identifying and acting in line with
values is important ...
• The entire empowerment movement within management
is based upon the idea of helping people act in a way
that is self-determining.
• There is a huge and growing literature showing the
power of intrinsic motivation for improving performance
in workplaces requiring discretionary effort.
• And there is a huge and growing literature on the power
of goal setting for enhancing direction, effort and
persistence.
Now psychological flexibility does not
develop by talking about it ...
• It needs practice!
• Noticing one’s own meaning making and
cognitive/emotional reactivity.
• Practicing suspending reactivity and more
consciously choosing.
• Identifying, prioritising and repeatedly
asking “What is most important here?”
Our programs emphasise practice in
different ways...
• Mindfulness: emphasises core capabilities of
awareness and openness (non-defensive
curiosity) situated in the person’s whole of life,
without an explicit work outcome.
• CDP’s: emphasise improving performance
through values clarification and skill building.
• Leadership: emphasise improving leadership
through self-regulatory capability and
relationship skills.
So what are we researching ...
Managerial
Autonomy
Support
Self-Determination/
Intrinsic Motivation
Wellbeing
Psychological
Flexibility
Work
Engagement
Work
Performance
Managerial autonomy support assesses the
degree to which a person feels empowered by
their line manager.
Psychological flexibility consists of scales
designed to measure aspects of mindfulness,
values clarity and capacity to act in a valued
direction.
“Self-determination” is the degree to which people
endorse their actions as freely chosen. It is
equivalent to being ‘intrinsically motivated’.
For work engagement - Vigour reflects high levels
of energy. Dedication reflects a strong sense of
involvement, meaning, enthusiasm and pride.
Absorption reflects a state of concentration, and
positive preoccupation with the task.
Wellbeing can be either about ...
• Positive or negative emotions (hedonic)
• Meaningfulness and life satisfaction
(eudaimonic)
• We measure both
Performance measurement ...
• At the moment we only assess self-ratings
of performance in different work domains
(research, teaching etc) and overall.
RESULTS SO FAR
These are the people starting the
research...
Program
N
Career Development
42
Program
Mindfulness for Living 63
and Working Well
Leadership
12
Age
% Female
%
Doctorate
% Academic
Mean
39.0
SD
8.0
48%
88%
100%
44.5
11.6
77%
15%
27%
44.2
10.8
58%
50%
58%
We frequently have up to a 50% dropout rate by time 3.
There are two main ways to analyse
the data ...
• Cross-sectionally at time 1 to look at
existing relationships between variables.
• Longitudinally to look at effects of
programs.
Recall the overall model ...
Managerial
Autonomy
Support
Self-Determination/
Intrinsic Motivation
Wellbeing
Psychological
Flexibility
Work
Engagement
Work
Performance
For academics, these are significant relationships
Managerial
Autonomy
Support
IMI: Teaching Only
SWLS
IMI: Research Only
IMI:ALL
PANAS: Overall
PANAS: Negative
FFMQ:
Awareness
FFMQ: NonReact
FFMQ: NonJudge
AAQ: Experiential
Acceptance
UWES: All
PANAS: Positive
UWES: Vigour
UWES: Dedication
UWES: Absorption
Self-rated
Performance
And for professional staff...
Managerial
Autonomy
Support
IMI: Primary Role
SWLS
IMI: Overall
PANAS: Overall
FFMQ:
Awareness
FFMQ: NonReact
FFMQ: NonJudge
AAQ: Experiential
Acceptance
PANAS: Negative
UWES: Overall
UWES: Vigour
PANAS: Positive
UWES: Dedication
UWES: Absorption
Self-rated
Performance
So what?
•
The overall model receives broad support!
–
–
–
–
•
Within that, the model demonstrates that there are two very different populations with
different drivers.
–
–
•
•
This provides justification for this as a training strategy
Building work engagement and overall wellbeing does affect at least self-rated performance
And if we improve management, self-awareness and self-regulatory capability we are likely
to positive impact work engagement, intrinsic motivation, wellbeing and performance.
And we are most likely the only university in the world to have shown this.
Perhaps our training needs to take those drivers more into account.
Where should resources be targeted?
Managerial autonomy support appears not to be important for academics. Why?
Should it be important?
Flexible responding in the face of difficulties is an important determinant of work
engagement for academics, again providing strong support for our approach.
However ...
• Analysis is ongoing
• Data collection is ongoing – we are
restricted in the forms of analysis we can
do at the moment due to inadequate
sample size.
• We need better measures of performance.
Now lets look at the effects of the
programs ...
We appear to be impacting that which
we want to impact ... e.g. mindfulness
'Often true' 4
3.8
3.6
Mindfulness Score
3.4
3.2
Career Development
Program
3
Mindfulness
2.8
Leadership
2.6
2.4
2.2
'Rarely true' 2
T1
T2
Time
T3
And not that which we might not expect
to be impacted ...
Managerial Autonomy Support
6.0
5.5
Career developmnent program
5.0
Mindfulness
Leadership
4.5
4.0
T1
T2
Time
T3
We are positively impacting work engagement,
particularly vigour and dedication ...
'Very often' 6
5.8
Work Engagement - Vigour
5.6
5.4
5.2
Career Development Program
5
Mindfulness
4.8
Leadership
4.6
4.4
4.2
Sometimes' 4
T1
T2
Time
T3
And our programs are helping people to
have more positive emotions and fewer
negative emotions ... Long term!
4
Affect (Pos - Neg)
3.8
3.6
Career development program
Mindfulness
3.4
Leadership
3.2
3
T1
T2
Time
T3
As well as being more satisfied with
their lives ...
'Strongly agree' 6
5.8
Satisfaction With Life
5.6
5.4
5.2
Career development
program
5
Mindfulness
4.8
Leadership
4.6
4.4
4.2
'Agree slightly' 4
T1
T2
Time
T3
But the impact upon how well staff feel
they are performing is mixed ...
8
Overall Self-rated Performance
7.8
7.6
Career developmnent
program
Mindfulness
7.4
Leadership
7.2
7
T1
T2
Time
T3
So what?
• Mindfulness program is situated in the
participants own life. It involves continuous
contextually relevant practice.
• This may well be an important part of
ongoing practice.
• There is room to increase the impacts of
all the programs. We now have baseline
data that allows us to do that.
Thank you
Paul Atkins and Robert Styles
Centre for Career Development ANU

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