Man on hilltop with arms wide

Be a healthy leader

It's a leadership obligation

Written by Dr Shaun Ridley FAIM
2 minute read
Man on hilltop with arms wide

Employee health and fitness initiatives are trendy. Blood tests, skin cancer checks, flu vaccines and yoga classes are common place.

These are all good activities that encourage staff to look after themselves and may build camaraderie. Yet the ultimate responsibility for your health lies with you.

There is ample evidence to support the notion that mentally and physically healthy people are more productive every day, week, month and year than those who are unhealthy.

This sustained productivity gives you a huge advantage when you are trying to achieve goals, build credibility within your team and cope with the inevitable stress of leading a team.

Being present with your team is difficult enough without having to cope with illness or self-imposed strain from an unhealthy lifestyle or fitness level.

Woody Allen is famous for saying “80 per cent of success is showing up”. We have to front up every day both physically and intellectually to achieve the goals and ambitions we set for ourselves and our teams.

Half turning-up sends a terrible message to the team who see their manager as unable or unwilling to commit fully to the task at hand. It is hard to recover from the confusing role model this sends to younger staff and from the unflattering comments from more experienced colleagues.

The leadership role you hold comes with a range of obligations, including presenting yourself fully to tackle the tasks day after day.

A variety of approaches to achieving physical health are well documented and well established. However, we seem to know less about the approaches that work best for maintaining or improving our mental health.

However, the evidence is slowly building to support the links between positive mental health and areas such as mindfulness, exercise, healthy weight, cognitive therapy and diet.

With the increasing pressures on everyone in the workplace, some attention to your mental health would be a wise investment.

 One small step in the next 24 hours

Book to see your doctor for a full health examination. If you are like most people it will have been a long time since you saw each other and certainly a long time since you went with the express purpose of enhancing your overall health rather than just addressing a specific issue.

Ask your doctor to help you implement a program that builds both your physical and mental health over the long term, with the objective of improving your performance at work.

Success in implementing this program will have positive impacts on every aspect of your life.