7 Questions Leaders Can Ask to Promote Mindfulness in Times of Crisis

Oftentimes our ability to think creatively, foster resilience, and lead through a crisis can be influenced by how we monitor our state of mind.

However, shifting mindsets and gaining a greater sense of control of our responses during a crisis can be challenging. To help you, ExecOnline partnered with Michael Chavez, CEO, Duke Corporate Education. In a live webinar event, Leading in Crisis: Building Resilience in Challenging Times, Michael drew from research in his recently released book, Rehumanizing Leadership, as well as insights derived from working with global clients, to introduce leaders to strategies to shift their mindsets and emerge from today’s challenges as a stronger, more resilient organization.

Being Creative in the Face of Crisis

Many leaders have probably been feeling overwhelmed and exhausted recently, and being able to think creatively may be especially challenging. Michael goes into detail describing how this is a result of our evolutionary biology and the way our brains work. He explains, “It becomes much more difficult to think and be creative when we’re threatened. In other words, in the very time when we need creativity to deal with big challenges that are new, this is the time when it’s hardest to activate.”

According to Michael’s colleague, Sudhanshu Palsule, PhD., co-author of Rehumanizing Leadership, there are three mindsets that you must navigate. Mindsets are things that you can choose, and you have to be aware of how you are feeling to reach the creative mindset.

  • Mindset 1: The Reactive Mindset. This mindset is survival oriented. 
  • Mindset 2: The Logical Mindset. This mindset is control and stability oriented.
  • Mindset 3: The Mindful Mindset. This mindset is learning and change-oriented. This is where your creativity lives and where you can imagine all possibilities. Leaders must spend more time getting themselves and the people in their organizations to spend more time in this mindset to boost creativity.

So what questions can leaders ask their teams to help them reach a mindful mindset and inspire creative thoughts? Michael asked webinar attendees this question, and together we identified 7 open-ended questions that are a good starting point:

Question 1: “How can we best serve our clients right now?”

This is one of the most powerful questions any of us can ask. It may seem like an obvious question, but leaders don’t ask this enough. This question helps reframe your problems in terms of serving other people and helps you better understand your purpose. 

Question 2: “What does that mean?”

This is a great question because it is asking for meaning. You’re inviting a meaningful conversation, and you are exploring how your actions fit into the organization’s outcomes and purpose. 

Other questions that are very simple and helpful, but leaders simply do not ask enough in crisis are: 

Question 3: “How can we leverage this as an opportunity?”

Question 4: “What are you thinking that you haven’t said?”

Question 5: “What have you learned about yourself during this time?”

Question 6: “How do we maintain our culture when our environment is changed?”

Question 7: “How can I help?”

Using the 7 questions above for guidance, feel free to develop more questions that you can ask your teams to promote mindfulness and spark creativity amid the crisis.

This is one of the many strategies that Michael explored in his recent webinar. You can watch Michael’s full webinar on-demand today in the ExecOnline® resource center. We understand that today’s crisis calls on leaders to step up on multiple fronts. To help guide you through this challenging time, we are continuing to update our resource center with new, relevant content, and events based on your evolving needs. Here you will find upcoming live webinars, webinars available on-demand, blogs, and much more!

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