Why Leaders Need Self-Care
A greater need for focusing on effective employee wellbeing, as part of Corporate Wellness, has undeniably grown now. However, there is an equally strong and urgent case for business leaders to focus on their self-care, too, building on their Wellness quotient along with those of the people who work for them. Here are a few simple reasons justifying this compelling necessity:
Demands Of Leadership
In times of crisis, people look up to their leaders for reassurance and some semblance of certainty and control. However, COVID-19 has not only thrown open unexpected crises, but also a protracted, ongoing one. Exposure to such a long-drawn and heightened crisis, with no parallels in recent memory, has put leadership under severe duress of its own. The strain has been felt even by the most seasoned.
To cope, deliver and lead, leaders will, now more than ever, have to build their physical, emotional and psychological grit and fortitude because the challenges are going to continue to remain elevated, dynamic, and with little precedence of scale or protocols.
This is going to be exacting for leaders.
Dangers To Decision Making
Taking organizational and leadership decisions is challenging and taxing even in the best of times. Decisions come bearing pressures of accountability, acceptance, and risk. Faced with a prolonged period of crisis management and critical decision-making, it is not far-fetched to appreciate that this can induce fatigue – not just in the physical, mental and emotional states, but also in leadership decisions. In the absence of active coping strategies, tactical and rational thinking will bear the brunt of new, sustained, and heightened demands. Concentration, assessment, and judgment can suffer.
Leading By Example
The pandemic has left no one untouched by the volatile stress it has unleashed. It is far from over. For leaders to effectively show the way, self-care has become absolutely imperative. While encouraging employee wellness, the leader has to now lead by example. Not only will this be more effective for all, with greater people buy-in, but it will also pay dividends for leaders to share their own vulnerabilities in two vital ways; one, it will help them avoid getting burnt out fast; second, it will help establish a deeper, more humane connection with their people across ranks and file.
By putting self-care in focus, leaders will be sending out a personal, strong, and relatable message for all.
It will also perhaps help rationalize expectations of all from leaders by serving as a reminder that they are human after all, and not invincible. It gets lonely at the top, is often said. Leaders cannot be absolved completely of perpetuating this self-isolating truth and compounding alienating pressures. Why not make it less lonely, to the extent possible, by embracing self-care more openly? The pandemic didn’t spare anyone because of their management rank or designation!
The sensible and empowering behaviour for leaders going forward is for them to respect, prioritize and practice self-care. If leaders don’t develop and nurture their physical, mental, and emotional fitness and resilience, their leadership is in serious danger of getting compromised. Regular exercise, practicing mindfulness, proper nutrition, and adequate rest are, and should be, as important as other business parameters. These need to be set, pursued diligently, and guarded zealously from any encroachments in the name of busyness, responsibilities, or misplaced sense of leadership martyrdom.
Remember the saying, “You cannot pour from an empty vessel?”
As a leader, you are the vessel for your organization and all those who work in it. A depleted leader is no good.
About Vani Pahwa
Vani B. Pahwa is Health & Wellness Evangelist, and Founder, Body In Motion, who specializes in Functional-Fitness, and Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation. With almost 2 decades of experience, and certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally-recognized fitness institutions, Vani is the leading Wellness Expert for Multinational Corporations and is a recognized Speaker and Coach. An Indian Classical Dancer, Vani encompasses her learnings from dance to everyday movement making “exercise and training for life, not just events.” To know more about Vani and her premium wellness services, visit https://www.bodyinmotion.in