It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the past year and put resolutions together for the New Year. Like everyone, I have personal, family and professional goals that all need my attention, and still only 24 hours in a day. Some refer to this challenge as a work/life ‘balance’, others refer to it as a work/life ‘integration’ and I’m good with either label. For the coming year, I am keeping personal wellness on my list of resolutions to improve my impact as a leader. Here’s why you should too:
Stress is contagious
We’re all familiar with the litany of physical and mental woes that prolonged stress has on the body. But did you also know that your stress hurts more than just yourself? It hurts everyone around you too. The Max Plank Institute for Cognitive and Brain Studies confirmed that simply seeing or being near someone who is stressed, causes empathetic stress responses including increased cortisol.
In today’s open-space workplaces, it’s even easier for your stressed out appearance and behavior to add to the stress of everyone else around you. And it is the team members with whom you work most closely are the ones who will empathetically “catch” more of your stress — and these are the very people you want to keep healthy and productive.
Your team takes its cues from you
It’s no longer a badge of honor to walk around bleary-eyed and on-edge from stress and lack of sleep. In fact, you probably extol your team to take their vacation and stay home when they are sick. But if you aren’t leading by example, your words are falling on deaf ears.
Millennial workers, especially, place a very high premium on work life balance and a company culture which values it. They are attuned to situations where leaders aren’t walking the talk and will likely take their talent and contributions elsewhere.
In “Why Your Business Wellness Program Isn’t Working,” Gallup Business Journal asserts, “It takes great managers to engage employees. If workers feel that their manager truly cares about their well-being they are more likely to be top performers and to produce higher quality work.”
Top resolutions for leaders
Resolve to Exercise Regularly
Harvard Business Review’s “Regular Exercise is Part of Your Job” is a great reminder of all the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular exercise — including reduced stress and a greater resilience.
A study by Leeds Metropolitan University found that on days when you exercise, your experience at work changes for the better. You will find you will manage your time more effectively, have smoother interactions with coworkers. So if you think “I can’t afford to take the time to exercise,” really, you can’t afford not to.
And you don’t need hours at the gym or to run marathons. Even just 10 minutes of exercise, like a short walk outside, can help you get the endorphins flowing and better manage stress.
Resolve to Take Your Vacation
It’s been widely reported that US workers are not taking their vacation days and leaders may be contributing to this disturbing trend. Many employees fear taking a vacation because they fear “looking like a slacker”. Instead, employees are “defensively overworking” and this overwork leads to lower quality output and active disengagement.
Stress increases when you don’t take time to rest and recharge. And increased stress lowers your overall productivity and effectiveness as a leader. Entrepreneurs are especially at risk for debilitating burnout and taking time away is a necessary step. Taking time away allows you to return with fresh perspective and armed with new ideas. Plus it models the behavior you also want from your team. You, the leader, need to both actively encourage and model using accrued vacation time.
Leaders, I’m asking this on behalf of your teams. Please resolve to take better care of yourself this coming year. Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s necessary to be a good leader.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Why Every Leader Should Make a Wellness Resolution This Year (Hint: It’s For Your Team)
More Business & Finance articles from Business 2 Community: