This week is International Leadership Week and offers a chance to reflect on the importance of leaders maintaining good mental health and wellbeing, considering the challenges faced by being in a leadership role, which have been exacerbated throughout the pandemic. Whilst there is considerable focus on how managers can enhance the wellbeing of their employees, we can’t forget about the leaders themselves. After all, they must be taking charge of their own wellbeing in order to continue to lead.
Challenges faced by leaders
For many leaders, the beginning of the pandemic posed significant challenges, including remote working and the requirement to make difficult decisions, such as placing employees on furlough or making redundancies. Now, employees are returning to the office and there is the new issue of the great resignation, meaning that leaders are having to constantly adapt and change their approach to ensure they continue to lead well and look after themselves and their employees. These differing challenges are likely to increase pressure on those at the top and create greater risk of burnout and poor mental health, so how can leaders ensure they look after themselves and why is it important?
Why leaders need to look after their wellbeing
It’s important that those in charge are managing their wellbeing for a number of reasons. In high pressure positions, stress and burnout are common and preventing these responses is vital to maintaining a healthy body and mind. Moreover, poor wellbeing at the top can trickle down to influence others and lead to low morale, less productivity and consequently result in more pressure on leaders.
How can leaders look after wellbeing?
Look after mental and physical health
Physical and mental wellbeing work in tandem and there must be a focus on both to ensure the maintenance of good health. This means that it’s important to be eating well, exercising on a regular basis, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. Wrkit’s POWR platform is a great way to monitor all of these factors and keep track of progress on each path.
Additionally, leaders need to be looking after their mind as well as their body. Practicing mindfulness is a good way to do this, or taking some time to relax through breathing exercises or release tension via yoga. Leaders are generally very busy people but it’s crucial to take some time to focus on the self and just five minutes a day can make a real difference to wellbeing.
Take a break
It’s often difficult to disconnect from work, particularly in the age of remote working, where the lines between working hours and leisure hours are often blurred. To avoid stress and burnout, it’s vital that leaders stick to their working hours as much as possible in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Whilst pressure may mean it’s tempting to carry on working late in the evenings or check emails at the weekend, this means that there is no break from work and is likely to worsen performance in the long run.
Talk or write down feelings
Although it’s reducing, there still remains some stigma around asking for help, this is especially prevalent with leaders through the idea that it shows weakness or inability to do the job well. However, it’s much more likely to set a good example of speaking up and prioritsing wellbeing that employees will really understand and appreciate. Everyone should be entitled to support, regardless of their status in a business.
Talking to friends or colleagues about mental health can often be a daunting and difficult task, so it may instead be beneficial to write down thoughts and feelings, through the practice of journaling. This helps with clearing the mind, setting priorities and problem solving.
Finally, it’s easy to remain focused on recognising and rewarding the hard work of employees, but leaders should remember to celebrate their own successes too. Keeping the team’s morale up is important but recognising personal achievements helps to boost self-esteem and feelings of appreciation.
To access resources to maintain great mental health and wellbeing visit https://wrkit.com/contact/request-a-demo to request a POWR demo.