Leader-led wellbeing - it’s the everyday behaviours that count
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Workplace Wellness Summit
When a leader is a strong advocate for wellbeing, the ripple effect can be profound. But how can you help leaders create a culture where prioritising wellbeing is not only accepted, but encouraged?
Whether they subscribe to the notion or not, leaders are now at the forefront of enabling individual and team performance, culture, engagement, employee advocacy, and wellbeing.
All people leaders in an organisation have a role to play in creating a culture of wellbeing, just as all employees have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership behaviours that encourage everyone in an organisation to prioritise their wellbeing.
In defining leader-led wellbeing, we’re not just referring to executives who run marathons or leaders who role-model flexible work policies and “leave loudly” to collect their children from school. Sure, healthy behaviours, self-care and positive role-modelling are all important, but truly advocating for better employee health means consistently demonstrating often seemingly insignificant acts of care, civility, inclusiveness and authenticity that make incremental positive change.
Everyone wants to feel that their leader has their back.
In workplaces today, leaders contribute to wellbeing through job design, effective management of resources, supporting teams and individuals to focus on top priorities, and importantly, creating a psychologically safe environment.
But there can be a real challenge to engage leaders in workplace wellbeing. Cultures are built over years, and standards are created and accepted by employees over time. The reality is that many leaders have not yet leaned into the discomfort of reflecting on their everyday behaviours and the impact they are having on the health and wellbeing of their teams. And it’s the everyday bit that really counts.
Emily Coppola, Medibank’s Health and Wellbeing lead, hosted a roundtable discussion on leader-led wellbeing at the Workplace Wellness Summit in Sydney. The event brought together more than 400 employers across a range of industries, providers of workplace health solutions, as well as researchers and academics.