The convergent pressures of work and home may have squeezed out the bandwidth a busy senior leader has for their health and wellbeing and certainly time will be a very valuable asset. Most leaders do not have the time to research, prioritise and execute on their health and wellbeing. The body sends out health warnings, but they’ve become very used to ignoring them. Your leaders are the engine of your business, and therefore the level of energy and vitality that they bring to their roles will directly impact not only the performance of the business but also the culture of the business. Often a well-executed and successful wellbeing program starts at the top with the leadership team.
Leading by example
Vishen Lakhiani of MindValley, prioritises sleep, ensures his body is energised through a blend of exercise and movement, meditates every day and will not begin work until he has gone through his daily health habits. He does this because he believes he will be a better leader, entrepreneur, family man and all-round better human being if he looks after himself. Rupert Murdoch, Arianna Huffington, Padmasree Warrior, Russell Simmons and Marc Benioff are other highly successful businesspeople whose daily habits include meditation.
To be clear, I am not talking about coming into work at midday having had a long bath, a massage and a read by the pool. I am talking about looking after three basic elements of health that will not only prolong the healthspan of the person, but also make them a far more effective, productive, inspirational and empathetic leader.
Here are those three elements of health:
An oft-cited study found that a person who sleeps 4 to 5 hours a night performs tasks like someone who is legally drunk. Most leaders are sacrificing sleep in order to be competitive, but a lack of sleep profoundly affects their decision-making ability and cognitive performance.
According to research by Advanced, one in five leaders have admitted to feeling under pressure all the time, and 65% have said they either don’t switch off or struggle to switch off. Almost half (48%) blamed lack of time as a key source of their work pressure.
Closely connected with sleep and mental health, many leaders start to suffer from a lack of energy which affects their ability to make decisions and lead their teams effectively. According to the most recent report by Theresa Welbourne, founder of eePulse, 82% of business leaders aren’t working at their optimal energy level.
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