The Wellness-Leadership Connection
Steve Adubato's Lessons in Leadership with Laura Fredericks and Laurie Zaleski By Steve Adubato, PhD On Mar 1, 2023
In a very special edition of “Lessons in Leadership,” Steve and Mary talk about personal empowerment with Laura Fredricks, JD, CEO and Founder, THE ASK. Then, Steve and Mary are joined by Laurie Zaleski, Author, Owner & Founder, Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary, as she shares her powerful story of running one of the largest animal rescues in the Northeast as well as what we can all learn from hundreds of animals peacefully living together.
- When it comes to the wellness-leadership connection, as leaders, we have a responsibility to create an organization and team culture that promotes the wellbeing of every team member. It’s tough enough to focus on our own wellness, but the best leaders understand that while we can’t ensure the wellness of every colleague on our team, we can do things and make decisions that help our teammates prioritize their wellbeing. Some of the actions a great leader can take to promote a “culture of wellness” in the organization or team they are responsible for include the following:
- Flextime. Yes, flextime is about the wellness of every team member. While not possible in every organization, particularly those who work on tight deadlines and deliverables, for many of us as leaders we need to be focused more on the impact of people’s work versus the activity of making sure they are “working” a specific set of hours that is rigidly set in stone.
- If possible…work remotely. Allow team members to work remotely when they can “get their work done” effectively and efficiently without having to commute or deal with traffic. Just requiring people to come into the office for the sake of coming in is counterproductive, not to mention there are some downsides to physically being in the office which include distractions, lack of focus, or being pulled in different directions.
- Reduce the number and length of your meetings. As leaders, we need to stop calling so many meetings that go on forever. Do you want to do something as a leader to promote a culture of wellness on your team? Look at every meeting you are calling and ask yourself is this meeting necessary and is there is a simpler, less time-consuming way to achieve your objective?
- Family first. If team members need to deal with their own wellbeing or the wellbeing of family members, it is family first. If a team member is struggling with a family or personal issue, back off and make sure that team member knows that as a leader you understand that the priority in their life must always be to their family.
- Recognize team members for a “job well done.” Knowing that you are appreciated by the leader of your team feels good. As leaders, we must get in the habit of sending an e-mail, text message, calling on the phone, or saying it in front of other team members that a specific team member has stepped up and done an excellent job.
- Set time to exercise. This clearly means different things to different people as physical abilities and limitation to exercise are highly personal. Whether it is a vigorous run, a bike ride, a stroll outside, stretching, or yoga, find what works best for you and puts you in the best frame of mind to deal with the challenges of the day.
- Check in with team members. Make sure that you ask how a team member is doing and how you as a leader can be helpful without stepping over the line into someone’s personal privacy. Showing that you care is not a leadership technique. It is a way of being. Either you care or you don’t, but if you do, show it.
- Let it go. Simply say what needs to be done without harping on what went wrong, why it went wrong, who did what, etc. Yes, avoid the “blame game.” Not letting something go after the message has been sent is not only counterproductive, but only adds to unnecessary stress, frustration, and an environment that does not support a culture of wellness among team members.
The bottom line is that the best leaders know that wellness is all about a frame of mind and a value system that is established, revised, implemented, and reinforced every day. Let’s get well…together.