Kaya Consulting

Wellbeing, self-insight and success

Leaders: Improve the bottom line. Keep yourself top of mind.

Wellbeing. Did you just roll your eyes? You’re not alone. For many leaders ‘wellbeing’ brings to mind yoga and duvet days and trite clichés about work-life balance. But what about words like resilience, engagement, team performance, organisational effectiveness? Because, for the most successful leaders and organisations, that’s what wellbeing is all about. In the end, wellbeing is all about your organisation’s bottom line. But it starts with self-insight.

What do we mean when we talk about wellbeing?

There’s a reason 75{be38fd1e2c946a347db4d7316b241dce4b842100e7b38236661610f0dce6def9} of high-performing organisations regularly measure the health and wellbeing of their workforce as part of their overall risk management strategy.

These organisations understand that personal wellbeing directly affects individual performance and effectiveness, which directly affects team wellbeing, performance and effectiveness, which directly affects organisational wellbeing, performance and effectiveness.

In essence, the personal wellbeing of each employee affects your organisation’s bottom line.

Wellbeing is a journey, not a destination

Perhaps the most important concept to grasp when contemplating wellbeing is the idea that it isn’t a fixed state. Our lives, careers and organisations are constantly changing, presenting us with different and often more complex challenges and demands that affect and alter our sense of wellbeing.

Consequently, it’s your ability to assess and understand the changing demands you encounter and their effect on your physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing that dictates your ability to adapt, cope with new demands and maintain a high level of wellbeing, engagement and performance.

If you’re aware of your strengths, weaknesses, preferences and predispositions, then you can start asking and answering questions that will enable you to improve your wellbeing on an ongoing basis:

  • What situations and personalities stress me?
  • What causes conflict in my working relationships?
  • What demands and challenges affect me negatively?
  • What resources do I need to be able to cope with these demands and thrive?

In other words, self-insight is key to wellbeing. And it’s particularly important for leaders.

Why is self-insight important for leaders?

If we accept that the personal wellbeing of individual employees – physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual wellbeing – has a direct bearing on organisational capacity, performance and productivity, then the wellbeing of leaders within an organisation is clearly critical.

It’s almost impossible to lead a ‘well’ team – a team that’s engaged, collaborating, learning, growing, performing – unless you’re well yourself. If your wellbeing is in decline, you need to be able to recognise there’s a problem, understand why there’s a problem and then do something about it. If you don’t, your state of wellbeing is likely to continue to worsen and, ultimately, affect your team.

What’s more, by being more mindful and self-aware, you will be better placed to encourage the same mindfulness and self-insight in your team, which can actively improve:

  • Communication. Avoiding misunderstandings and building trust.
  • Collaboration. Working openly and productively together and with other teams.
  • Engagement. Getting more done and feeling a collective sense of purpose and achievement.

Leadership wellbeing impacting financial performance

I was recently called in to help a team where the senior leadership group was experiencing conflict and the division was significantly behind in all performance indicators. In fact, the two leaders in question hated being part of the team. They hated coming to work. All was not well. You could say that both had low levels of wellbeing at work.

Both leaders are highly experienced and technically proficient, but something was amiss. After speaking at length with both individuals it became clear the conflict was a symptom of something more fundamental, more deep-seated.

The closer we looked at the conflict, which was affecting the wellbeing of the individuals (and their teams), the clearer it became that the conflict was down to their personalities – their communication styles, their leadership styles. It was a dissonance that neither leader had consciously considered, and yet, when I discussed the idea with them, they both agreed that it made sense.

In short, a mutual lack of self-insight meant they hadn’t been able to identify the root cause of the conflict and find a solution. Their relationship and leadership performance had deteriorated in tandem with their individual wellbeing and the wellbeing and effectiveness of their teams. This, in turn, had a real impact upon the financial performance of the division.

Now, aware that their differing personalities and communication styles had brought them into conflict, they have been able to develop the resources they need to mitigate or eliminate the potential for conflict. Each has developed an empathy for the other, along with a deeper understanding of themselves, their drivers and their pressure points.

Instead of getting frustrated and heaping stress and pressure on themselves, each other and their teams, they have been able to find a solution that has enhanced the wellbeing, culture and performance of their teams – teams that are now exceeding KPIs and operating under budget.

Learn more about individual wellbeing, team wellbeing, organisational wellbeing and how all three are inextricably linked and impact on your bottom line. Contact us to arrange a no-obligation information and consultation session.

Drawing on his post graduate research background, Stephen Macdonald develops and delivers a range of leadership enhancement, work performance, team effectiveness, workplace wellbeing and organisational alignment solutions across an equally diverse range of industries. In addition to a strong focus on effective leadership and management practices, with an emphasis on improving the alignment of organisational culture, team effectiveness and the enhancement of employee mental health and wellbeing, he has a specialist interest in the public, not-for-profit and education sectors.