The pace of change in today’s modern workplace is accelerating, largely driven by rapid advances in technology, new innovations and an increased need for business transparency. The world of work presents very real challenges to effective leadership, including financial constraints (do more with less) and a perceived need to work extended hours as organisations expand globally.
Employees are also feeling the pressure from increasing workloads, blurring of work and home life and the reduced opportunity to switch off as we’re always accessible online.
So how can leaders ensure that both they and their team members thrive both at home and at work?
Redefining our roles as leaders
On a basic level, the role of a leader is to direct, inspire, support and guide his or her team, and ensure that team members are working towards a common goal. But to be a thriving leader requires more than just fulfilling a basic leadership role. There is much more to effective leadership than what takes place during business hours.
What happens away from the office is equally important in shaping how you act and perform as a leader. The impact of your overall mental, physical and social wellbeing is significant and contributes to the leader and the person that you are – at work and at home.
At Benestar, we believe that the most authentic and effective leaders, the ones that thrive, are those that have learnt how to lead themselves by asking questions such as “how and why do I want to lead?” They have a willingness to learn and grow in all areas of life and are not afraid to seek support.
So how do you work towards becoming a thriving leader that not only ensures optimum output from your team, but also demonstrates authenticity and empathy in your work with others?
1. Take care of your own wellbeing
Pay attention to both your physical and mental wellbeing. Set aside time for reflection, practicing gratitude, meditation or acts of kindness to ensure your mental wellbeing remains strong. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and setting aside time for rest and relaxation will improve your body’s capacity to better withstand physical stressors both at work and home and optimises your physical wellbeing.
2. Seek out support
To be a thriving leader you not only need to provide support to your team – it is just as important that you yourself have support both at work and at home. Everyone benefits from having someone they can trust and collaborate with to work through challenges in life. At home, this may be an understanding and caring partner. In the workplace, this could mean finding a mentor who can support and guide you. If your workplace has an Employee Assistance Program you may be able to access specific support services for people leaders. These services may help you to proactively work through any workplace issues or challenges you have with your team and get assistance on your journey to thrive in a leadership position.
3. Look ahead
Where do you anticipate a change to your business model or life? Who and what are you spending your time on? Is this time well spent? If you can prepare for discontinuities and be ready for change, you will lead and manage much better. Great leaders have the capacity to “see around the corner” and tend to shape their future rather than simply reacting to it.
4. Set clear objectives and goals…
…in both your work and in your personal life and guide your team in goal setting too! A shared sense of purpose and a common understanding of team objectives is vital to deliver as a leader.
5. Be courageous
Abandon the past. In a world going through rapid transformation, we need to be comfortable with change. It is easy to fall back on doing what has always been done in the past, following the path that feels familiar and safe. Yet great leaders dare to be different, they are willing to stick their necks out and take calculated risks. “Go along to get along” no longer ensures businesses thrive.
6. Embrace diversity…
…by ensuring you develop relationships with people that are different to you, be it socio-economically, culturally, or personality-wise. Developing strong working relationships with people that act and think differently to you can open your eyes to new ideas and how you approach business challenges.
7. Support your team
As a thriving leader you must enable your team members to perform better, to learn and to develop, and that means taking a holistic view of your colleagues, being attentive and considerate to what is going on in their lives outside of work.
So whether you are aspiring to be a leader, have just started your leadership journey or have lead others for many years the, key to thrive is to look at your leadership style holistically and realise the importance of caring for yourself and others both inside and outside of work. Learn from leaders you look up to and have strong mentors to support you through your journey.
Beate O’Neil has over 15 years’ experience working in the Health and Wellbeing sector. With a background as a physiotherapist, she now works as Head of Product and Partnerships for Benestar, enabling organisations across the world to develop tailored health and wellbeing programs.
Just like the Thriving Workplace Movement, Benestar help people be their best with a holistic approach and innovative spirit. In Australia, we have redefined the Employee Assistance Program category to pioneer an ecosystem of health services curated for the modern workplace to optimise organisational performance and employee wellbeing.