Why it’s important to maintain your wellbeing as a manager
As a manager or leader or any kind, often our focus is on making sure everyone in our team is OK. We’ll be the one asking team members how their day is going, how they are feeling and how their workload is going, but who is looking after your wellbeing?
As the leader, you have the ability to positively influence the environment of your direct reports – both emotionally and physically, so if they’re not travelling so well it’s within your power to do something about it. So it makes sense that the wellbeing of your direct reports is a responsibility that’s shared between the two of you.
Other people don’t have as much capacity to create change that could support you however, so the responsibility for your wellbeing as a leader rests with you alone.
Managers who neglect their own wellbeing are finding that it plays out in workplaces very badly, often with calamitous consequences, so today we’ll be looking at three reasons why it’s important to maintain your wellbeing as a manager.
1. The leader’s mood leads results
If you don’t do what it takes to maintain your own wellbeing, chances are you’ll be more than a bit stressed. Stress leaves us less able to do a whole lot of things well:
- exhibit predictable behavior
- be reliable
- exercise good judgement
- be technically competent
- be willing to protect and save face for someone
- be willing to share ideas and information freely
- be able to demonstrate integrity.
All of which are the building blocks of trust. The trouble with this is that with low levels of trust comes high levels of fear. And fear-led leadership increases mistake-making and reduces risk-taking, which then stifles creativity and innovation… all of which has bad-news outcomes for businesses.
Studies have shown that your mood as a leader determines the ‘feel’ of an organisation, and that a 1% positive increase in that ‘feel’ has a 2% increase in bottom line results. (Spencer. L, 2001. Improvements in service climate drives increase in revenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts:s.n.)
Research also shows that over 40% of employees in Australia would rather take a pay-cut in order to see their direct manager fired, than receive a pay increase and stay with the same manager.
Research also finds that the most common reason people leave jobs is the poor relationship they have with their direct manager. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a manager actively attending to their own wellbeing makes for a manager better able to build trust, maintain relationships, increase staff retention and enhance team performance leading to bottom line results.
2. Puppies will be happy
There’s a term used in psychological research to examine the impact of workplace wellbeing on home-life, called the Spillover-Crossover model. Essentially, Spillover is ‘you have a bad day at work and come home and kick the dog’. Crossover has a similar effect, but this time, those unmanaged emotions crossover to affect another person, so ‘you have a bad day at work, come home and your partner kicks the dog’. It’s not only dogs and partners that suffer.
According to a study done at Queens University, the parent’s wellbeing has a direct correlation to how a child is likely to perform at school the next day – both socially and academically. So your family’s welfare is another compelling reason to maintain your wellbeing as a manager.
3. Life is not meant to be a vale of tears
When we don’t cultivate our own wellbeing, it’s easy for life to lose its sweetness. Often managers put in a lot of time walking the edge of overwhelm. We can become very practiced at being stressed and can lose our ability to focus on resourceful psychological states instead.
We can also lose sight of the fact that work is meant to be ennobling – an opportunity to use your unique gifts and skills in ways that enable you to make your best contribution to the world. We can forget that it’s our ability to make progress in meaningful work that helps us build a life of purpose. And it’s this purpose-led living that lies at the heart of happiness.
So the next time you’re asking someone ‘Are you OK?’ you can also ask it of yourself
By taking the steps needed to support your own wellbeing, your family members will be happier. You will do better in life. Your team will be happier and do better, you will be happier and do better. And surely that’s what we all want for each other?