You don’t have to look far to find advice about how to be a better leader.
One squiz at the bestsellers list tells us that we have to “Dare To Lead”, “Start With Why” or even live by the motto that “Leaders Eat Last”.
But one of the most overlooked pieces of leadership advice is this: prioritising your own health and well-being is the secret to being a better boss. If you want to lead with empathy and show up as your best self, taking care of your well-being needs to be non-negotiable.
Ahead of National Boss Day (October 16th), we’re calling on leaders in our community to pledge to put their well-being first and embrace the benefits of optimal health and well-being at work. And here’s how.
Why being a better leader starts with taking care of yourself
As a manager or boss, you set the tone for your entire team. Whether you realise it or not, your employees are going to be influenced by the behaviours you role model.
If you’re firing off emails late at night, skipping lunch most days and regularly working on the weekends, you’re setting the example that poor work-life balance is the norm at your workplace.
But it goes further than that: not giving yourself the time and space to clear your mind, move your body and prioritise rest means you’ll be likely running on empty at work, too.
The latest stats tell us that a whopping 53% of Australians are feeling burnt out from work (managers included). If you’re frazzled, drained and exhausted, it’s easy to make poor decisions or not give our team the support they need to work at their best.
We know that you’ve got a lot on your plate as a manager and “self-care” can seem like a luxury. But the truth is that putting well-being on your radar doesn’t have to take a lot of time and can have massive benefits on your output, your productivity and your business’ bottom line.
Three benefits of prioritising your health and well-being as a boss
Your energy levels, mood, and even the way you communicate all have a direct link to how you take care of yourself.
If you’re consistently pulling late nights, chowing down on fast food and running on caffeine rather than sleep, it’s going to be a challenge to lead your team effectively.
There are stacks of benefits to making your wellbeing a priority as a leader, including:
- Acting with empathy: managers who lead with empathy are shown to foster teams that are more innovative, inclusive and engaged (the research even backs it up). By putting your wellbeing first, you can create a positive work environment that keeps your team around for the long term.
- Bringing your best self to work: fueling your body with the right foods, staying hydrated and keeping your stress levels at bay will help you lead your team in a supportive way and help you get the best out of your employees.
- Fostering a healthy work culture: plus, by setting an example of what work-life balance looks like you can lower the chance of burnout in your team, boost your overall productivity and safeguard again challenges like quiet quitting.
Simple ways to add wellbeing into your weekly routine as a manager
Ready to walk the talk of wellbeing at work? Remember: small, incremental changes are all it takes to start reaping the rewards.
Here are a few quick wins you can take action on today:
- Turn phone calls into walking meetings to boost your step count and get some fresh air.
- Switch off Slack and email notifications after hours to leave work at work.
- Eat lunch away from your desk to give yourself time to unwind during your workday.
- Taking leave? Set firm boundaries, turn on your OOO and enjoy a well-earned break.
- Schedule self-care into your week (such as booking an in-home massage or manicure during your WFH lunch break).
When it comes to being a better boss, putting your wellbeing first is essential. By prioritising your health, you’ll be able to show up as a better leader and foster a workplace culture that’s positive, empathetic and engaged.