Mindfulness as a tool to #PressForProgress

YOLANDA BEATTIE is an affiliate of Mercer




Society’s expectations on the rights of women to build thriving careers and be equally included and valued at work fundamentally shifted over the past 12 months. The new wave women’s movement that gained momentum after the election of President Trump and the #MeToo campaign created in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal have put employers on alert like never before. In this context, great leaders who can make a stand for women, challenge the status quo and bring out the best in their people have never been more in demand.


Indeed, Mercer’s Thriving in an Age of Disruption research finds inclusive leaders make or break an organisation’s ability to create a thriving workplace. For us, being inclusive is about being curious, non-judging and open to new ideas, being present and connected with people, holding themselves and others accountable for performance and behaviours, and empowering others to thrive. Acting in alignment with personal values and inspiring a vision for the team are also essential behaviours. All of this cultivates a culture of trust that is so important to unleashing organisations where women and men thrive.


Building great, inclusive leaders is about far more than perfecting skills and techniques – it’s about developing who you are. Being inclusive requires us to override our biological predisposition to run on autopilot and as a result subtly exclude or overlook people who are different, cling to the status quo, avoid conflict and preserve our own self-interest. All of which is amplified by stress. The reality is the cohort in our workplaces most negatively impacted by this predisposition is women.


The technical skills developed on the way to leadership will not be enough to transform good managers into great leaders. To get there, we need to understand how our thoughts and emotions influence our behaviour (for better and for worse), and then adapt our mindsets to alter our behaviours.


Neuroscience now shows the ancient tradition of mindfulness improves our cognitive function and helps us shift our mindset to manage our behaviours. While mindfulness in the workplace has been most commonly used to improve concentration, focus, and resilience, we’re seeing great results in integrating mindfulness as a tool to facilitate deep self-reflection and change the structure of our brain, and through this enable and build inclusive leadership behaviours from the inside out.


Our view is that inclusion is a hallmark of exemplary leadership – not an addition to it. Our biology of exclusion underpins the adaptive nature of the inclusive leadership challenge and the potential for mindfulness to unlock leadership potential and support everyone’s efforts to #PressForProgress.

Download our Mindful Leadership Point of View


Yolanda Beattieis a Principal in the Career Business and Practice Leader – Learning and Inclusion for the Pacific Market, based in Sydney.



In this role, Yolanda helps organisations create workplaces where their people thrive through high impact learning programs and inclusion solutions. By co-creating with clients, Mercer's subject matter experts, and strategic partners, we design and deliver transformational leadership and learning programs aimed at developing the mindsets, skills and behaviours required to succeed in the future, as well as inclusion solutions that tackle the barriers that stop underrepresented talent from reaching their potential.


Yolanda joined Mercer in February 2016 after spending three years with the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency. In this role, she was responsible for increasing the WGEA’s reach and influence through public campaigns, strategic partnerships, stakeholder engagement and innovative education programs. Her earlier career included several corporate affairs roles.


Mercer Australia
Workforce and Career
Mercer Australia
Workforce and Career

Mercer partners with leading organisations across the globe to help them grow their businesses through better talent solutions.
Drawing on the latest global research and insights, our specialists develop tailored, data-driven strategies that keep our clients ahead of the curve and leverage their strengths in increasingly competitive marketplaces.
From remuneration and benefits to organisation design and predictive modelling, we create solutions for building better workforces. Through our knowledge and guidance today, our clients have the tools they need to predict, define and build their best teams for tomorrow.

Speak with a Mercer Consultant

To learn how Mercer can assist with your organisations Workforce & Talent Strategy complete the form below and a Mercer Consultant will be in contact with you.

*Required Fields