Being “well” means that you are contributing actively to all parts of your life, meeting the demands and being able to flourish (See Blog Q320/1). For those in leadership roles in organisations the ability to be “well” has an impact not only on their own performance but also those around them. From Supervisors, Managers to Executive Leaders the ability to manage the demands in the role is often part of the individuals’ development. It may be an expectation that they will develop approaches to cope and utilise the additional resources that often become available with increased seniority in Organisations.
However, it is a fine line to balance. Over 20 years of research has shown that the balance between resources and demands determines whether individuals are able to thrive in the work place or burnout. This ability to thrive in the workplace is described as “engagement” and is characterised by individuals bringing vigour (e.g. energy), dedication (e.g. sense of significance) and absorption (e.g. engrossed) in their roles. This is a type of wellbeing. It is a positive state linked to higher performance whereas the opposite, burnout, is correlated with low energy, reduced positive states and poorer performance.
Reducing demands is certainly an effective way to prevent burnout. Creating workplace-based resources that provide the individual with a sense of control and input support engagement. These can take the form of defined “ways of working” that support people physically, psychologically and socially. Organisational practices that provide support and development for employees certainly protect against burnout and create a healthy and adaptive organisation. Leaders play a direct role in workplace resources. Leaders who empower and are aware of their own wellbeing and interested in the wellbeing of others provide support, challenge and offer development to their teams. Taking a cultural perspective is also vital to the wellness and performance of the organisation. Reviewing the business practices, assumptions, values and the stories/metaphors that define how things are done internally and externally provide a framework for assessment and creating interventions.
All these elements are important for personal, executive and corporate wellness. On a personal level, developing individual resources to adapt to the stress and challenges provides not only a sense of achievement but valuable transferable skills. For Executives, understanding their role as a leader in the organisational system and how they impact directly the health and wellbeing of their employees is a key first step. Mental Health trainings often provide increased awareness of the impact of stress and mental health conditions. At Reciprocal Minds, we also highlight the importance of supporting executives develop an understanding of how they promote mental health and well-being (known as salutogenesis). We also help them develop the skills and confidence to bring these aspects into their development as Leader’s to transform their business impact.
On a Corporate level, wellness is all about the culture. Introducing good practice, for example work-place meditation and yoga programmes is helpful. Developing training programmes to improve health literacy of managers and leaders also makes a difference but developing a Corporate Wellness culture is the fundamental goal that drives performance. Developing useful narratives, assumptions and creating meaning at all levels of the organisation creates the culture and expectation of how things are done.
At Reciprocal Minds, we can support personal, executive and corporate wellness with our focus on counselling, coaching, wellness and business psychology.
Antonovsky A. Health promoting factors at work: the sense of coherence. In: Kalimo R, El-Batawi M, Cooper CL, editors. Psychosocial factors at work and their relation to health: World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland; 1987. p. 153-67.
Bakker, A.B. & de Vries, J.D. (2020). Anxiety, stress and coping doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2020.1797695
Bakker, A.B. & Demerouti, E. (2017). J. Occupational Health Psychology 22 (3), 273-285
Schein, E.H. (1996). Sloan Management Review, 38 (1), 9-20.
Schaufeli, W., Bakker, A.B. & Salanova, M. (2006). Educational & Psychological Measurement 66(4), 701-716.