Five Ways To Be A Leader Who Prioritizes Self-Care
My most recent workshop was with a team who does the work of attending to the wellness of the global work community that they are a part of and serve. The leader of the team brought me in because he recognized that he and his team were giving a lot of themselves to others, but were also badly in need of care too. It was wonderful to help them experience two hours of… this is all about you and your care. The collective sighs of relief nourished the entire Zoom room.
This post sheltering in and mass return to work hands us some real opportunities to create new norms. In my new normal, I want to see leaders place self-care right up there with profits.
Here are 5 ways to do that:
- Make self-care a priority in your own life. Your team, bosses and co-workers can tell when you are overwhelmed and stressed. When you take care of yourself and make it clear that it is a priority, it starts to show. People start to know the times that you keep sacred for your self-care routines. Your changes become visible and your work and interactions are positively affected. You model it for everyone around you.
- Make workplace interactions stronger by taking the time to care beyond the usual “how are you?” You all know that I think that phrase is so hollow and fake when it comes out of most people’s mouths. Most of us don’t wait for the answer and why should we? We already know the answer, “I’m fine.” Be the leader who can be vulnerable and share what’s really underneath the “I’m fine.” It doesn’t have to be an every day full-length admission, some days the question is best met with “doing the best I can right now.” But your honesty encourages those you work with to say how they really are. That is true self-care.
- Establish an opening ritual at all meetings. An often neglected part of self-care is the fulfilling of the need to belong. Belonging at the workplace can and should go beyond job title and position. Opening up opportunities for team members to get to know each other beyond their work assignments nurtures their sense of belonging. Doing a go-around question like: one thing we don’t know about you or that would surprise us or that you are proud of outside of work can help people see another side of their teammates and you. Starting a break with a good breathing or stretching exercise assures that they used some part of that break time to take care of themselves.
- Impromptu celebrations are a wonderful way of boosting morale and self-esteem, both important elements of self-care. Whether there are big accomplishments like a huge project completed or small ones, Kianna made it to yoga class three times a week for the entire month, find ways to celebrate! Not everything has to be planned or a major event. Small gestures can still communicate the message of caring for your team. My client that arrived at our Zoom meeting and told his team members to go to their door at home because he had their favorite Starbucks treats delivered really touched the hearts of his team. Even I felt the care.
- Encourage setting self-care goals, small ones and do check-ins on them. Not all check-ins have to be formal, they are great conversation starters when you see people at work. There are teams that share information with each other about the different ways people are taking care of themselves. People share articles, tips, recipes, videos, quotes or just words of encouragement and motivation. Make sure that there is no judgement when people fall short or don’t even begin. As the leader, you set the tone for letting people know how self-care improves work productivity and relationships and then keep motivating them to get started or stick with it.
Leaders who understand the close connection between loving and taking care of themselves and work happiness and productivity will rise to the top during these times.
A leader who can access calm and reason quickly will always be at the forefront of leading well. Self-care can take you there.
Have you developed your self-care plan? As leaders we are needed, so let’s take care of ourselves and our teams.