Guest blog: Leadership – a tool for wellbeing

Protect the positivity 

Disengaged and unhappy staff can be a very contagious issue. Before you know it, their negativity has rubbed off on the whole office! Negative staff have much more of an impact on the wellbeing of the working population than positive staff – this seems very unfair but it is the way of the world.

The key to wellbeing

I recently spoke to a group of friends who are in the education sector and they explained that in their workplace, many staff are demotivated and therefore very unproductive. We realised that in all cases, the schools they worked in lacked good leadership skills and they all described the line managers as unskilled.  The key to wellbeing is a balance between job demands and control and a bad leader simply won’t facilitate this balance.

Leadership styles

There are many styles of leadership including transformational, values-based, spiritual and transactional.  I posed the question “What is the best leadership style to promote wellbeing in the workplace” to a number of friends, clients and colleagues. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no one approach that fits all situations.

Leaders have to be able to adapt their style to suit the person they manage. Leadership is a many-tiered approach as it comes from the directors as well as the direct line managers. If the line of communication between directors and line managers is lacking, then this rubs off on the employee who is potentially directionless.  The feeling of commitment implies a need to feel that as an employee, you have some control not only over your job and working day/week but also on the business itself.

Why bother?

The most important leadership skill is a blend of compassion with a values-driven approach.  There’s no doubt that there is a correlation between the list of the Best 100 companies to work for and their profits. So, there is a business case for companies to take a good hard look at their wellbeing approach and in particular how they check, plan and deliver wellbeing interventions.

About Debbie

Debbie is Head of Workplace Wellbeing at PES. She has an MSc in Workplace Wellbeing and runs PES Wellbeing. She is also a qualified Stress Management and and Mental Health First Aid trainer.