Leaders’ priorities often reflect projects to accomplish, reports to complete, and goals to meet. While none of these activities is bad and in fact has its place within our priorities, there is something that is much more important. People are really the most important part of life and work. We are reminded of this when we lose someone we love, when we do not have support from others, or when we feel isolated.
When we do not keep a balanced perspective that attends to both people and productivity the result is evidenced by stress, health problems, lack of focus, and fatigue. Leaders are reporting a sharp increase in all of these areas due to issues team members are facing. In fact, research shows:
*66% of full-time employees say they don’t feel they have a work-life balance.
*Each year, more and more Americans report an increase in the amount of stress they feel.
*41% of adults say they do not have time to do all the things they want to do.
To attend to the needs of others, start by considering self-care and reducing stress for yourself. As leaders we need to model good self-care so our team members will follow our example. Self-care is evaluating our stress, work/life balance and physical or mental health. Identifying strategies that relieve stress for you and blocking time to accomplish those activities is a great start. One leader reports using longer work blocks such as two or three hours of project work and then taking a 30-minute break to renew and decompress before starting the next task. This sequence allows them to be more innovative and focused in the work they accomplish.
While we need to start with self-care, we must also prioritize the people on our team. If we have team members burning out, or feeling overwhelmed, we are not going to succeed. Key to a leader’s role is ensuring that they are caring for those on their team. Some suggestions on how to create a healthy environment: consider group walks at noon, standing desks, healthy snacks, stress balls, quiet space for people to reflect, gym memberships, and much more. Be creative in considering what will work for your team. Every situation is different but without establishing health as an ongoing priority our teams will struggle. Consider what is one thing you can do right away to create a healthy and balanced workplace for your team?