Being the Change

Listening to Nikita Stampa, the famous saying of Gandhi comes to mind:

“Be the change you want to be in the world”

Nikita is a head of the e-procurement and economic analysis unit in the European Commission.

While some people believe that lasting change can only be achieved through organisational or huge structural change, Nikita has a different philosophy. He believes that, by embodying the values of mindfulness, he is effecting change in a simple and effective way via his daily interactions.

He is effecting change in a simple and effective way via his daily interactions

Nikita is a perfect example that one does not have to wait for organisational change to make a difference in the work environment. By choosing how we interact with others on a daily basis, by sharing our tools of self-reflection, by practicing compassion and empathy we can transform our workplaces for the better.

By choosing how we interact with others on a daily basis…we can transform our workplaces for the better.

For Nikita, one of the key values of self-awareness is pausing for self-reflection. As a means of bringing this into his workplace, he organises a weekly pause of 15 minutes of silence or the practice of finding one positive thing to have gratitude for each day. In addition, each fortnight on a Friday there is an informal gathering focussing on a single topic, which allows people to reflect on bigger topics like awareness and trust, thus creating an understanding of their relationship to concepts that underpin many of our daily responses. These discussions also tap into collective intelligence and lay the foundations for better team working and co-collaboration.

Empathy and compassion, two very important traits in building Emotional Intelligence, create stronger bonds and greater support between colleagues, thus resulting in greater internal and organisational resilience.

Nikita believes that an important part of mindful leadership is having an awareness of the needs of others (empathy) as well as the work environment. In practical terms this can be as diverse as delegation of responsibility, such as asking a staff member to lead a meeting, or letting some members to work from home under certain circumstances as well as others being offered external coaching to help them build certain skills.

He strives to provide an environment that radiates calmness, as he puts it, allowing himself to “experience the stress but not be the stress” while also creating space for staff to talk about how they feel. This is a key pillar of awareness practice, where one opens to experiencing emotions and feelings. Creating a space to talk about emotions allows one to clarify the emotion rather than have it affecting you in an unconscious way. It also facilitates the step away from “I am this emotion” towards “I am feeling this emotion” which gives us the ability to realise that we are not the sum total of an emotion but rather that they are temporary states of being which can make it easier to be more fluid with our emotional states.

For Nikita, happiness at work is one of his core aims. He further elaborates that in his view happiness is not about pleasure. He prefers using the French work épanouir, which means “to flourish”. He believes that creating this positive environment leads to his staff experiencing a deeper form of happiness which is more sustainable as it comes from within. He has seen the positive effect this has on their creativity and productivity.

Creating this positive environment leads to his staff experiencing a deeper form of happiness which is more sustainable as it comes from within

His advice to us was to be bold, be clear about your values, and dare to align your life to these core values.

The Pulzz programme teaches business leaders to embody the core values of mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence. To learn more, get in touch with us on imraan@pulzz.be or olivier@pulzz.be or go to www.pulzz.be