Healthy organisations require healthy leaders – people who have the energy, optimism and care to support their team. But as data shows, executives are struggling to prioritise their mental well-being.
Around one in three executives are experiencing poor mental health. A 2022 Deloitte survey also found 40% of people in the C-Suite are overwhelmed, 41% feel stressed and 36% feel exhausted.
With these shocking figures, it comes as no surprise that employees are suffering high rates of burnout. 88% of UK employees have experienced burnout in the past two years, with nearly three in ten workers reporting that they are less productive due to a poor work-life balance.
To help leaders boost their well-being and in turn, their staff’s mental health, here are wellness tips for every leader to adopt.
Take time out to celebrate your success
Dr Claude Bertrand (Executive Vice President Research and Development, Chief Scientific Officer at Servier) and Dean Carter (former Corporate Officer at Patagonia) shared an interesting perspective on our podcast. They believe VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) is not the modern phenomenon we’re led to believe.
They argue that uncertainty and change is something leaders have always navigated. But many leaders use the excuse of busyness and the plight of society as an excuse not to pause.
According to Harvard Business Review, ‘highly task-focused leaders tend to have tunnel vision in their drive for results.’ Leaders that can balance tasks and people become better leaders because they prioritise effectiveness over efficiency.
Practise celebrating your successes and take time out to reflect and be with your people. Overcoming the tunnel of constantly performing one task after another can relieve stress and boost your well-being.
Delegate to employees
Delegation can be tough for leaders, particularly if they are used to having control over certain tasks. If your workload is full and you have staff members ready to step up and learn new skills, sharing your tasks can relieve pressure and increase trust with your team.
When you delegate, avoid handing over all your menial jobs that you would rather not waste time on. Try to share opportunities that encourage people to develop their skills. Studies show a large number of employees quit their jobs due to a lack of skills training.
Science proves that how we respond to our thoughts can influence our actions and behaviour. A sleep study, for instance, found that our bodies can physically respond differently based on how well we believe we have slept.
Motivate yourself and your team with a positive work culture that replaces fear and impossible targets with open communication. Continually check in, discuss mental health and pay attention to how you are emotionally responding to different situations.
Rather than trying to fake a sense of calm, work on creating a set of patterns that can shift negative thoughts over to optimism. You could introduce meetings that start with three positives, for example, or one thing to celebrate, or initiate a rewards programme.
Create a purpose outside of work
We have many articles explaining the importance of purpose at work, but this also extends to your life outside. Stress tends to exasperate and boil when we take it home and make work our overriding priority. Finding purpose outside creates a separation from the office and home life.
Humans have an intrinsic desire to connect to something greater. Our need to contribute and make a difference demonstrates why materialistic rewards cannot fulfil happiness. Find something outside of work that gives you a sense of value and purpose.
Use tools and resources available
Every type of athlete and entertainer regardless of their success relies on a coach to improve their performance. In the leadership space, some leaders try to go without one, which doesn’t make good sense – it most likely leads to blind spots in their capability and performance, including poor decision-making. We can only do so much, which is why connecting and working with a coach can be the best wellness investment you can make.
This September, our CEO Thom Dennis and Essence Business Mentor and Guide, Christina Courtright Jenkins are hosting an executive leadership retreat in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
For five days, leaders will renew and restore with a series of activities including experiential sessions, guided and open discussion as well as interactive exploration. In luxury accommodation with access to over 20 acres of land, we are inviting successful and aspiring leaders to explore themselves, their leadership skills and what drives them.