Meditation is becoming one the competences of a modern leader, I was told by Małgorzata Romaniuk, Vice President of the Management Board at Bank BPH, when she started cooperation with My Mediatation Space – a new meditation space in Warsaw. Małgorzata knows well what she is talking about: for several years she has been using meditation and teaches active meditation (only online during the pandemic). She sees a need for this form of activity not only among her employees, but also at the top of the corporate hierarchy.
Meditation is not a new thing in companies. Mindfulness techniques have been part of executive trainings for years. Meditation itself is still associated mainly with spirituality – and with religion as a result – but not with business. It is generally agreed that the latter should be neutral when it comes to religion, politics, and ideology. The Polish market has been taking a big step forward in the recent years in the ideological aspect (an example comes from initiatives such as “pride month” or those promoting leadership among women), but we still prefer to leave religious or political aspects to ourselves. Nevertheless, gradually more leaders are making an exception for meditation. Not only do they practice meditation in their free time, but also promote it in their organizations, simultaneously emphasizing that it’s religiously neutral.
For years world business leaders have been openly admitting to use meditation techniques. It turns out Polish leaders are catching up with their global peers. And they are openly talking about it. Before the pandemic broke out, BPH employees in the main office were invited to take part in an active meditation session every week. The action was initiated by above mentioned Małgorzata Romaniuk and Monika Godzińska, the bank’s second Vice President. They both manage a large institution, taking on the burden of HR and financial decisions. They are also certified OSHO meditation coaches.
Another meditating person is Mikołaj Winiarski, the other My Meditation Space coach, who professionally deals with accounting and finances in the world’s largest corporations. The management board of Accenture, the company he works at, not only encourages employees to participate in programs supporting mental health, but is also open to any grassroots movements in that area.
Urszula Radzińska, CEO, Aude, promotes meditation among her employees, but also among managers of large corporations that she cooperates with. She even took one step further and opened a meditation space in Warsaw Mokotów called My Meditation Space, where not only businessmen but everyone who needs it can meditate. How exactly does meditation attract leaders?
Business people for years have been learning to deal with the dynamically changing world. There’s no doubt those who will survive are not necessarily the best ones, but ones with greatest mental immunity. The stressfulness of the business environment was discussed in an interview with Mikołaj Winiarski, who also emphasized: “I purposefully don’t say that my work is stressful, because it depends on me how I deal with the pression.” And that’s the power of contemporary leaders. By practicing the skill of “being here and now,” they are better listeners, know more, and make better decisions; for themselves, for their employees and their organizations. But it’s also about the ability to set priorities and to focus on them, and to let go when something does not serve us or the business. “I am very resilient to things in business I have no impact on,” says Małgorzata Romaniuk. And in the VUCA world, there are plenty such things.
So, are we about to see a mediation revolution? Małgorzata Romaniuk is carefully optimistic. But she does hope there is a new wave coming to make managers realize the advantages of introducing meditation techniques to organizations. More than a revolution, we are facing a slow but very systematic and effective evolution.