Being mindful, and communicating in a mindful manner, is an art.

Artistry takes dedicated practice. It takes listening and fine-tuning. It takes trial and error. And in the end, your efforts produce works of art – beautiful, unique, individualistic, breathtaking art.

What artists create is undeniably their own, but, to be fully appreciated, art must have an audience. Art that is most powerful is impactful. People walk away from exceptional art inspired in some way. Mindful communication is no different. When done well, it inspires replication by others. The end result of true mindfulness is not confined to you; it spreads to those around you and creates a united, mindful community.

Of course, there are scientific and psychological elements of mindfulness, as well, but, at its heart, being mindful is a state of awareness and benevolent action that is based on observation, impression, instinct, and communication. It is more than just being generally aware. Being mindful is being aware of the subtleties of human sensations and interactions. Mindful communication is an integral aspect of comprehensive mindfulness – the most obvious, fundamental way you convey your awareness of and concern for others.

As a business leader, there can be many things that distract from being mindful. Sales and revenue goals, hiring and firing decisions, rules and regulations, interpersonal conflicts, training requirements: these components of business can overwhelm leaders and cause them to forget about being aware of, and serving others, as distinct individuals. Personal lives can also contribute to a loss of mindfulness.

How can you be a mindful business leader, and why is it important that you do so?

The most successful and appreciated leaders, however, are those who can manage necessary tasks without losing sight of and caring for people: themselves, their families, their colleagues, their employees, their clients, their prospects, their communities, and everyone else with whom they interact.

At the most basic level, people need to feel loved and appreciated. This is universal. If you want happy, satisfied, loyal, long-term employees, the most important thing you can do is to be mindful of them – and to make sure they know that you are.

So, how can you be mindful of the people in your company, and how can you communicate in a mindful manner with them? The following suggestions are broad, because people are different, but working within these general guidelines is a great start toward becoming a truly mindful person and communicating in a mindful manner:

Become a mindful person, not just a mindful business leader.

Mindful business leaders are mindful people. You can’t be a mindful business leader and lack mindfulness in the other areas of your life. Don’t segment or silo your work persona from your non-work personality. Be consistently mindful in all areas of your life.

Remember: People are more than their jobs.

Know your employees as people first and employees second. If you lose sight of their individual humanity, they will become numbers or cogs in a system, and they will feel that emotional disconnect when you communicate. They will know you are aware of, but not mindful of, them.

Communicate with people.

Communication is a two-way street. Mindful communication requires talking with people – not merely at them – and listening first to understand, not to respond. It is a process of soliciting input and valuing that input enough to consider it carefully and consciously. It involves getting to know how and why people think and see and feel, not just what they think.

Understand and respect differences.

Differences make up the uniquely blended colors on the canvases of our lives. It is impossible to be fully mindful of others without understanding and respecting the things that make them unique. Consciously focus on creating a diverse employee base in as many ways as possible in your location.

Remember, however, that being mindful is not a result of completing a checklist or memorizing key words or phrases. Being mindful is not so much a process of just doing as it is a process of feeling and becoming. It is an art.

Your business can be a manifestation of your vision for the world around you. You might not be able to change the entire world, but you can change your own world. You can make your own amazing art and become a Master Mindful Artist along the way.