The pressure is increasing for leaders in the workplace. These are the reasons, according to the Institute for Leadership Coaching.
- Lean flat structures – today’s flat structures create pressure on leaders to still manage many administrative tasks. We have reduced support from functions such as HR, and complex processes and more people within their responsibility.
- The frenetic pace of change – change in our technology, political, economic and societal environments are continuous.
- Challenges in developing and keeping people – People move more quickly through work environments, and retention is challenging. Expectations of leaders have increased. Over 50% of people leave their role because of their leader – that’s potential pressure right there!
- Rapid promotion of leaders – leaders have less time in each role compared to years ago and have less experience which supports their resilience.
- Lonely at the top – it can be very lonely at the top as decision making, and a sense of responsibility are heavy burdens.
- Increased legal complexity – our compliance and legal environments continue to become more complex, and this adds to the expectations of getting it right in many areas within a leader’s responsibility.
We have two roles in managing wellbeing as a leader. One is maintaining our wellbeing, and the other is supporting our team and peers to achieve theirs.
Teams have expectations of leaders which create increased pressure to deliver. These include:
- External Support – access to external counselling or coaching to support individuals through tough times for themselves or their family.
- Coaching – internal coaching and support to manage resilience and challenges at work.
- Volunteering – time offsite to work for charitable organisations, reducing work pressure for the day and increasing the individual’s sense of wellbeing.
- Team Building – activities which improve team relationships and allow time for relaxation together, again providing a sense of wellbeing.
- Wellbeing Support – in the workplace such as massage, yoga and training.
I thought I was excellent at handling pressure and stress. After my health issues several years ago, I was aware I had experienced symptoms of anxiety, which I ignored. I had done positive things, but I realised I could have done more to manage my wellbeing and increase my resilience.
Ideally, we are managing our wellbeing through strategies to reduce stress, keep healthy through movement, what we eat, mindful practices, exercise and fresh air. We experience a sense of wellbeing, comfort and relaxation, our ideal place. We learn to understand when we move away from this. When we experience wellbeing, we act to restore ourselves.
However, we often ignore our intuition and override what is best for us. We are eating and drinking too much, not exercising or pushing ourselves when we have no energy. We listen to our desires to create instant comfort and are not willing to take the route of discomfort for the long term gain of protecting our health and lifestyle.
As I have a 2nd chance in life, I now trust my intuition when I am feeling pressured, tired or unhappy and manage my wellbeing daily. I say no more often and worry less about what I ‘should’ be doing. Most ‘shoulds’ come from me, so I chose to let them go. I have learnt the habits I need to keep healthy and how to make those habits stick to keep myself in my ‘happy place’. The experience to get here was painful, but it makes my life so much happier. I have no regrets as I learnt what I needed to learn and am stronger.
How’s your intuition for wellbeing? Have you responded and taken action today? Sorry to impersonate your conscience but for me, it’s a bit of a mission…