We know that leaders set tone and quality of the environment within which we work, and how they ‘hold’ this environment is what enables us (or not) to be the best we can at work.
One of the primary jobs of a leader is to ‘hold’ the environment steady – to be responsible for the environment – not necessarily practically or operationally but holding the organization steady whatever is going on. That includes being a role model for behaviours, feeling and ‘reading’ the environment so as to know where to ‘pull levers’ or unblock blockages, or put in some more energy or influence as needed. It is about behavioural and values based ways of being, and about making work all about people, and relationships. Holding the environment also means not doing things based on our own ego but doing it for the greater benefit of the organization – because that organization is on our ‘watch’ and because we care about the organization. In holding the organization a leader also sees the ‘oil’ in the wheels of the organization as people and relationships. Connecting with people, and making relationships a fundamental foundation is key to organizational health.
Leader health starts with their own self care, practically so, as if they are not feeling well, or feel over stretched, or are not taking care of even the most basic of physiological of needs then that will show in the way they work. More so, if leaders put pressure on themselves to be perfect, or are hard on themselves, this comes across in their relationships with others as we can then tend to be hard on others, or over critical of others. So the leader’s relationship with themselves is crucial as a foundation, as is their own health and wellbeing.
Holding an organisation steady, and acting consistently as a ‘steady statesman’ even when the going gets tough gives staff ‘anchors’ just like when a plane is rocky when we see the air staff stay steady we can be reassured by that steady presence. Leaders also hold the key to modeling behaviours, to inspiring others, and to showing us the way when we need. Transparency as a leader is key in this, they are the real deal, not perfect, but, clearly transparent in who they are – a true leader doesn’t morph into a different person each time they are in a different environment, a true leader is consistent in being themselves.
How would we know the state of leader health?
We could track or note sickness absence, turnover, grievances etc. of leaders, bullying allegations against leaders, and also the quality of their teams/services (e.g. do they have a lot of grievances, or disciplinary matters in their teams - if so why?). We could also note the quality of their work, the quality of meetings, the quality of relationships, the quality of decisions made (or if decisions were not being made), the level of consideration amongst leaders and by leaders, how much a leader has a lived expression of the values - are they walking the talk? How much a leader has a steadiness and consistency (without perfection), and a willingness to learn every day. More so you could look into the eye of leader's and see more (or less) vitality and shine.
Potentially we are all leaders. And whatever work we do we, whether we are a leader or not we are worth taking care of.
Leaders Health matters.
True Leadership starts with True Health