Investing in employee wellbeing returns many benefits for organisations and according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Wellbeing at work report 2020 it can result in increased resilience, reduced sickness absence and higher performance and productivity. However, wellbeing initiatives often fail to realise their full potential because they may be stand alone and are often isolated from the day to day business. To ensure real benefit, employee wellbeing priorities should be integrated throughout an organisation, embedded in its culture, and in particular through leadership and people management.
Leaders who focus on improving the wellbeing of their people are more likely to enjoy better relationships with them, which in turn leads to higher job-related wellbeing and satisfaction.
Here are some key leadership behaviours that have been shown to increase wellbeing:
Communicating with clarity
Whilst most employees accept that change is continuous and to be expected throughout their career, frequently navigating uncertainty may trigger stress. Whilst leaders may not in a position to pre-empt every event there are proactive practices that can be undertaken to help eliminate stress which arises from uncertainties that are common to many organisations. Providing role clarity as roles shift in the face of change as well as communicating clearly around future organisational expectations can eliminate any anxieties which may arising for example from unsubstantiated rumours.
Provide regular feedback
Employees who receive regular feedback on their performance are much more engaged and for most; knowing that they are meeting or exceeding standards required of their role can increase their confidence resulting in increased happiness levels as well as healthier relationships with managers.
Model healthy work practices
Employees who have negative experiences in the workplace which impact on their wellbeing regularly cite poor role modelling from leaders as one of the contributing factors. Leaders who “walk the talk” by consistently demonstrating fairness and drawing on proactive work practices create more positive environments for their people. Furthermore leaders who are vigilant around managing interpersonal difficulties, grievances/bullying issues at the early stages before they develop into more serious issues will gain trust amongst those they lead, particularly those who may be experiencing difficulty who because of their trust in leadership are more likely to seek help before things escalate.
Coach rather than tell
Leaders who pay attention to individual subordinate’s needs and employ a coaching style of leadership by helping employees to solution their challenges rather than deploying a more directive approach empowers those they lead resulting in increased confidence, competence and engagement levels which in turn impacts on their wellbeing in the workplace.
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