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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00667

Mindfulness and Leadership: Exploring the Role of Mindfulness in Leadership Communication and Follower Satisfaction

 Johannes F. Arendt1*,  Armin Pircher Verdorfer2 and Katharina G. Kugler1
  • 1Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
  • 2TUM School of Management, Technische Universität München, Germany

In recent years, the construct of mindfulness has gained growing attention in psychological research. However, little is known about the effects of mindfulness on interpersonal interactions and social relationships at work. Addressing this gap, the purpose of this study was to investigate the role of mindfulness in leader-follower-relationships. Building on prior research, we hypothesize that leaders’ mindfulness is reflected in a specific communication style (“mindfulness in communication”), which is positively related to followers’ satisfaction with their leaders.
We used nested survey data from 34 leaders and 98 followers from various organizations and tested mediation hypotheses using hierarchical linear modeling. Our hypotheses were confirmed by our data. Leaders’ self-reported mindfulness showed a positive relationship with several aspects of followers’ satisfaction. This relationship was fully mediated by leaders’ mindfulness in communication as perceived by their followers.
Our findings emphasize the potential value of mindfulness in workplace settings. They provide empirical evidence for a positive link between leaders’ dispositional mindfulness and the wellbeing of their followers, indicating that mindfulness is not solely an individual resource but also fosters interpersonal skills.
By examining leaders’ mindfulness in communication as an explanatory process, we created additional clarification about how leaders’ mindfulness relates to followers’ perceptions. Moreover, by suggesting mindfulness in communication as a behavioral correlate of mindfulness, we offered a promising starting point for indirect measures of mindfulness.

Keywords: Leadership, mindfulness, Communication, mindfulness in communication, listening, leader-follower-relationship

Received: 17 Jul 2018; Accepted: 11 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Susanne Braun, Business School, Durham University, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Iris K. Koch, University of Bamberg, Germany
Mai Vu, Durham University, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Arendt, Pircher Verdorfer and Kugler. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Johannes F. Arendt, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany, johannes.arendt@psy.lmu.de