What is wellbeing and why is it important for leadership? Wellbeing is health, or the ability to stay comfortable and happy. Why is this so important for leadership? Leaders are the guides in an organization and create the culture of which they are a part. It is critical for leaders to focus on their own health in order to stay grounded, focused, disciplined, and guiding others in the right direction. The more that leaders can stay centered in who they are the better they are then going to be able inspire and grow others in the organization.
Wellbeing is made up four different components: physical health, emotional health, mental health, and spiritual health. The first one we are going to focus on is the physical health as it is the basis of keeping the body strong, vital, and full of energy to handle all of the work needs in an organization. What can leaders to keep to keep their physical health in balance?
Exercise - working out for 30 minutes 4-5 times a week is a great way to relieve stress, get the endorphins going, and keep your energy levels high. Whether you walk the dog, go running, play tennis, or go to the gym physical activity is a great way to keep your wellbeing in balance.
Eat nutritionally - as a busy leader you are often on the go, eating out with clients, burning the hours on both ends which can lead to poor nutritional choices. In order to maintain or increase your physical wellbeing it is important to eat healthily getting plenty of vegetables and fruit, lean meats, and lots of water. There is an online app where you can now track all of your food intakes called MyFitnessPal and is a great way to know what you are putting into your body.
Sleep well - often when you are working hard you forsake sleep, but research is showing that getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night is critical in functioning as well as possible.
What is one physical health step that you can take to increase your wellbeing? What area can you focus on?
The people side of change (understanding how people are impacted) is typically undervalued in many change efforts. Many leaders believe it is the process, technology, or technical issues that most need to be focused on rather than the need for ensuring that the organization and its people buy in to the change.
In neuroscience experts say that as we go through change the brain is using much more of its brain functioning than if it was doing a routine sort activity or event. It is often in over drive, exhausted, tired, and uncomfortable. They also say that people often feel like they are losing something during a change. David Rock, a well known neuroscientist, says that people often feel like they are losing of the following things:
Status - the degree with which one is compared to another regarding role, position, and/or money
Certainty - the ability to be understand what is going on and when
Autonomy - the ability to work independently
Relatedness - how connected you are to others
Fairness - the feeling that you are being treated equally as others
In order to lead an effective change effort it is often necessary to add back in one or more of the elements above in order to have employees emotionally buy-in and/or shift with the change. What is one of the components of the SCARF model above that you can support your employees on? How can you increase Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, or Fairness for your employees?
Change in an organization can be hard for anyone. Emotionally employees often can face a difficult time managing through the transition (or the psychological changes associated with the external shift). As William Bridges says in Transitions, "It isn't the changes that do you in, it is the transitions." So in a organizational environment where we are not supposed to speak about emotions how do you as leaders deal with the transitions?
First understanding what the transition phases are is important as well as taking appropriate actions. According to Bridges the three phases are:
Letting Go phase - you are letting go of the comfort zone of the past and feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and confusion arise. Here leaders can communicate the Case for Change as well as listen to the concerns and feelings of their employees.
Neutral Zone - the past is gone, but the new is not quite established yet. Here there are feelings of confusion, doubt, caution but also a phase of creativity, innovation, and advancing new ways of doing things. Here leaders can ask for input and feedback, continue to communicate why the change is occurring and the benefits, as well as assist employees in prioritizing their tasks.
Beginning a New phase - the establishment of new processes and ways of thinking. Here employees are starting to see opportunities, get energized by the new ways of working, and begin to settle into new habits and behaviors. In this phase leaders can reward new behaviors, celebrate quick wins, and continue to support employees if they should regress.
What phase are you in with your change? How can you support your employees through the transitions that they are going through?
Are you initiating a change in your organization? Are you trying to figure out how to mobilize your organization to come along with you through the transition process? I always say the best way to initiate a transformation is to communicate the Case for Change. This case includes the following key elements:
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.