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The nextleader leads healthy – himself and others

Can managers and their leadership behavior be the cause of increased sick days and conspicuous absenteeism? Can leadership actually make people sick? Yes, it can. Managers have a significant impact on maintaining and promoting the mental health of their employees. And mental health in turn affects physical health. A large number of studies prove the connection between leadership and employee health. Employees who receive little support from their supervisors suffer more from neck and shoulder complaints as well as cardiovascular diseases. Employees who receive support from their supervisors, on the other hand, are more stress-resistant and their mood is significantly less affected. Studies have also shown that social support from the next level up, increases job satisfaction. Irritability, work-related anxiety, and fatigue depression are less common among employees who feel socially supported. They have higher self-esteem and exhibit more significant life satisfaction. Accordingly, the nextleader should do one thing above all: lead healthily and, with his personal leadership style, make a contribution to keeping his own employees mentally and physically healthy.

To those managers who are now throwing up their hands because of their immense workload, let me tell you: healthy leadership does not mean more work! Healthy leadership means, above all, being a resource for the employee, and for this you as a manager do not have to work overtime. As a rule, healthy leadership is not associated with additional workload, but is characterized above all by an appreciative and interested basic attitude toward employees.

As a manager, I can only achieve this basic attitude if I respect and value myself. Only when I am good to myself can I be good to others. Self-care is the basic building block of healthy leadership. Here it is important for me as a manager to come to terms with my needs and deficits and to find answers to the following questions: “How am I doing? What do I need? What am I lacking? How can I make sure I’m doing well and enjoying my work?” A Spanish proverb sums up the matter: “A person who is too busy to take care of his health is like a craftsman who has no time to take care of his tools.” So if I neglect myself as a leader, I am also no longer able to fulfill my leadership task powerfully and conscientiously.

Only when I have a view for myself do I have the resources as a nextleader to care for my employees. The first step is to check your own stress levels in order to avoid a possible “stress infection” of your own employees. Many managers are not aware that they massively change their leadership behavior under pressure and thus spread an atmosphere of hecticness and pressure that makes it difficult for employees to concentrate on their work.

In cooperation and delegation, there are then further building blocks of healthy leadership to consider, which are linked here with recommendations for the nextleader:

  1. Offer support: As a leader, you can be both a burden and a resource. By providing emotional and social support, you act as a resource and alleviate the noticeable pressure on the employee. Your employee knows: even when things get heated, my boss is by my side.
  2. Show interest: Intensify contact and exchange with their employees. Personally greet your employees in the morning, congratulate each employee on their birthday, have welcome conversations after each illness. By doing so, you signal interest and show your employee “You are important to me!”.
  3. Maintain open communication: Show that you are open to criticism and conflicts and that open and honest communication is a key concern for you. Conduct regular employee reviews and actively address conflicts.
  4. Living transparency: Especially in times of change, honesty and transparency are important. Make sure that relevant information reaches your employees directly without delay. This is the best way to nip any boiling in the rumor mill in the bud.
  5. Recognize stress: Be sensitive to the stress symptoms of your employees. If you notice changes in appearance or behavior, address them. Ask what’s going on and offer your support. If you have the feeling that the entire team is under strain, but the causes remain vague, investigate these, e.g. through discussions or in workshops.
  6. Minimize stress: try to minimize strain by optimizing work processes, for example. It can be just as helpful to set up non-disruptive times, because many employees are prevented from concentrating on their work by permanent interruptions. Be creative when it comes to reducing stress. In yourself and in others.

As nextleader, you have more influence on your employees’ attendance than you previously realized. Healthy leadership is easier than you think. You do not need any special qualification for this, but a decent person self-care and philanthropy. Start implementing change tomorrow. Often it is the already small things that create a big impact! Good luck.

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