What Does Healthy Leadership Look Like?

By Sean Stevenson – Latest Revision December 12th, 2020

Healthy leadership breeds a positive work environment.  However, upholding high standards is not always easy.

It’s little secret in today’s fast-paced business landscape that keeping employee morale high can prove a challenge. 

Leaders and managers have a direct responsibility to promote healthy productivity.  Not only to ensure that tasks get done quickly, but also to create sustainability.

Reducing stress by promoting open communication is integral to creating a safe space where productivity can thrive.

By learning about the members of your team and making yourself available, you will improve planning cycles.  This will allow you to achieve goals faster.

A healthy business environment has distinct advantages over toxic workplace cultures.  Increasing employee retention, fewer sick days, and heightened productivity are just a few of the staggering benefits of healthy leadership.

In this guide, we will define and explore the nature of healthy leadership.  We will also delve into some of the practical uses of exemplary leadership in business.

How to define Healthy Leadership

Today, a huge concern for everyone revolves around healthy influences in the workplace.

Understanding what constitutes healthy leadership is relatively simple.  It revolves around effectively enabling others to contribute to the success of the organization in which they work.

In such an environment, creativity and productivity can flow unperturbed.  Indeed, they can even thrive.

Effective leadership in this regard, will always use positive influences to motivate others.  Moreover, such a method veers towards minimizing stress points, communicating openly, and promoting safety in the workplace.  

It is the role of the healthy leader, to recognize the key areas that require their efforts.  By “padding” weaknesses with a framework, and helping others to achieve, they will be creating workflows that can build a powerful foundation for future  success within any organization.

Healthy Leadership

"Healthy leadership takes responsibility. Not only for its own affairs, but for the wellbeing of those it professes to guide."

-Anonymous

How to Create Clarity Around Important Projects

A healthy business is excellent at communication.  Whether this is verbal, written, or implied, there is always a focus on driving results through efforts rooted in positive reinforcement.  Remaining polite during your intercourse with others, and considering how you are speaking, are integral to coming across as an effective leader.

It is important to always convey your personal emotions, sentiments, and desires.  This transparency provides others with the means to understand your directions with greater clarity.  If they don’t understand who you are, or what it is you’re asking of them, they’re unlikely to be engaged with the process at hand.

Deliberately practicing a spirit of healthy communication requires patience.  Often, it can be helpful to write down objectives on a visual board as you explain them in turn.  This will give others both a verbal and visual cue as to the matters being discussed, further promoting the conversation at hand. 

This is important, because many people are either audio or visual learners.  Studies have shown that we tend to be one or the other (but not both!).  Most communicatory errors occur when messages are crossed or misinterpreted.  Keeping a clarity of both audio and visual information at hand for reference, is a huge asset to any organizational effort.

Moreover, communication should be regarded not only as what you are speaking, but also how you are listening.  In today’s hyper-sensitive world, many people are quick to seek offense, or to make judgements on others.  By setting an example of practicing open-mindedness, and carefully listening to the input of others, you will obtain the creative resources of your peers.

Make sure to ask if anyone has any questions after you’ve diffused each piece of information.  An added tidbit of clarity can certainly make the difference for someone teetering on the edge between clarity or confusion.

Healthy Leadership

It is a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.

-Steven Maraboli

Treat Everyone the Same

When everyone is treated equally and given fair opportunity, productive workflows can thrive.

Healthy leadership understands that enhanced performance comes from standardized practices.  Reducing entrenched attitudes and divisiveness can only come through promoting fairness amongst team members. 

If someone is frustrated or feels isolated, their productivity will falter.  This can have a ripple effect throughout an entire organization, causing untold harm.

Workplace cultures that fail to treat everyone equally are playing a dangerous game.  There simply is no reason to cause others undue duress, or to fail to understand their personal needs. 

By ensuring that you treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve, you will be promoting a precedent rooted in practicality.  From both a business standpoint, and a moral one, this should be considered an imperative to any modern leader.

Respect Off-Hours

An often-unsung virtue in today’s frantically paced world, is the idea of allowing others their rest.

Employees today are often driven by harsh deadlines, fierce competition, and relentless pursuits towards advancement.  It’s little wonder that this process can be incredibly draining.  The gains made can be of huge importance to an organization, but without period of rest, such a rate of growth cannot be sustainable.

Workers must have uninterrupted periods of time off that allow for them to fully rest.  This means no sudden texts, calls, or messaging of any kind that might interrupted their time off. 

It is a sum of equal parts that our efforts cost us our strength.  Endurance can only exist when we allow our nerves and bodies to rebuild themselves. 

This is not some theory; it is entirely based on imperative biological science.  Sleep alone is something that most people are not getting enough of today, yet it is an integral part of bodily rejuvenation.

Negatives attitudes toward rest will thwart the efforts of any organization in time.  Burnout will reach epidemic levels within a workforce, and employee engagement will disappear.

Therefore, healthy leadership will always respect the rest-periods of their team.

Unless there is something of critical importance that directly involves a particular individual, it is far more optimal to respect their time off.

Remove Clique Mentalities

A group of people in a workplace that create excessive gossiping and drama can be a huge liability within any organization.

Often, such a group will actively exclude “outside” individuals from work-related projects.  Moreover, they tend to further alienate people by organizing events together on company time.

This has a demoralizing effect on the workplace community.  Rather than pining for everyone’s interest, they are actively trying to create visible divisions.  This destroys any semblance of team building and presents huge obstacles to objective productivity.

Healthy leadership recognizes that gossip and the intentional alienation of others has no place within any organization. 

The ideal solution is to hold meetings where everyone is involved.  Creating a “townhall” format will allow everyone to speak together as part of the larger group.  A leader can make it clear through the meeting also, that passive-aggressiveness, gossip, and alienating others are not tolerated as part of company policy.

Further, outside of the meeting, the leadership may then promote interplay between people or groups that previously had little to do with one another.  Fostering relationships can only happen when everyone understands the importance of their unified efforts towards specific goals.

Understanding - Toxicity is the Enemy of Healthy Progress

Toxicity will only create social divisiveness and hamper productivity.  Even if it works in the short-term, there will always inevitably be significant issues that arise. 

Some managers swear by “playing employees off of each other,” yet this is correlated with significant disadvantages.  Higher rates of stress, reduced quality of sleep, higher turnover, and even significant health impacts are just a few of the hallmarks of a toxic workplace that embraces underhanded leadership tactics. 

Any pragmatist can easily see this type of stressful management is ultimately counterproductive. 

It’s little wonder that these negative conditions cause serious disruption in our everyday lives.  Toxicity will only follow you home, and add to existing stresses in your everyday life. 

For a workplace culture, this has a devastating effect.

Therefore, we must ensure healthy leadership in all facets of our organization.  Both for our own sakes, and that of our co-workers, there must be meticulous guidance that leads to better outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

Healthy Leadership

We see in order to move; we move in order to see.

-William Gibson

To Conclude – Healthy Leadership

Healthy leadership is readily obtainable to anyone who is willing to put in effort.  By forging emotional and mental connections with others, you will already be well on your way to achieving your goals.

Moreover, it is arguably even easier to foster healthy social interactions between others, simply by encouraging them to behave that way, and setting a positive example.

When everyone understands that personal dignity, honest productivity, and integrity are non-negotiable aspects of your workplace culture, a crucial paradigm can be established.  This ensures workflows remain productive, and that employees remain engaged.

Simply put, toxicity is entirely unnecessary.  Healthy leadership is anathema to its potentially devastating effect. 

Develop your personal fundamentals for healthy leadership, and you will reap huge rewards throughout your career.  Moreover, your organization will certainly come to thrive!

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