If a Leader doesn’t take care, who will? Lessons in Leadership self-care
The phrase ‘put your own oxygen mask on before helping others’ has never had more relevance than through the current pandemic and the ever-changing work environment.
Are you working remotely? Hybrid? Or in-person only? I’ve met with people in each, and this has pressed all employees, managers, and leaders to re-evaluate what work/life balance really means. Or as I now refer to it, life/work balance.
Employees at every level have displayed signs of anxiety, mental health needs, and the crushing responsibility of family needs. These are all linked to work and school environments that yo-yo between virtual or in-person, mask or not masked, and the need to juggle both while living under the same roof for many months at a time.
There are critical reasons to evaluate what you, as a leader, need as a person to remain sane, healthy, and in control of what you can control.
Molly Grisham, a leadership consultant, shares a surprising experience when her body forced her to recognize she needed some personal downtime while on a job and staying at a hotel. Complete exhaustion was robbing her of the ability to maintain focus, hold attention, and make decisions. She immediately forced herself to make room for a trip to heal. When this happens it’s disruptive and unlike Molly, most can’t afford to simply take a trip away.
More often, we play it down, rationalize it, and then pay the price.
Yes, we are human, and we have moments of being forced to listen to our bodies, especially when life is moving too fast. But seeing a leader fall apart has some interesting consequences that few of us consider before the moment occurs. One critical consequence is the loss of trust in the teams you lead.
When a leader succumbs to the mental and physical health risks that they have asked their own employees to be aware of and avoid, a level of trust is lost. This interesting consequence has come into focus more and more as organizations learn what mental health means to longevity and culture.
Seeing a leader walk the talk improves trust and sets an example others can emulate. Seeing a leader fall apart, in contrast, causes the entire team to pause, reflect, and re-evaluate. And while compassion is high and empathy present, it lowers trust in a team faster than walls closing in. It causes everyone to question who will step up, how will everyone function during moments of friction, and who might be next in experiencing a health issue.
Leadership self-care can limit this fall-out. Take the time to reflect, admit, and adapt what you, as an individual, need to be your best self. This is critical not only your longevity, but to what you have built in your team and organizational success. Because if you don’t - who will? To learn some of the top ways to do this you can read more here. If you need help applying that under all your obligations, connect with me here.
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