Employee wellbeing has become a critical focus for organisations aiming to enhance productivity, job satisfaction, and overall success however, wellbeing initiatives are commonly seen as the responsibility of the individual. A key component of successful workplace wellbeing is leadership with recent research indicating that despite the implementation of employee wellbeing initiatives, employees are still experiencing stress and unhappiness in the workplace due to inadequate leadership, specifically – micro-management, lack of recognition and poor empathy and psychological safety.

The Impact of Leadership on Employee Wellbeing 

Effective leadership is more than just managing tasks and ensuring deadlines are met; it entails creating a supportive work environment that nurtures employees’ mental, physical, and emotional health. Leaders who exhibited micro-management, lack of recognition, poor empathy and psychological safety were identified as key contributing factors to employee’s wellbeing.  

Over- and undermanaging were highlighted as significant pain points, with millennials reporting leaders micromanaged them 16% to 17% more than Generation Z and baby boomers (10% and 7%). 17% of surveyed workers aged 50 and above were found to value leaders who recognised their hard work and success. 

Empathy and psychological safety are the building blocks of trust, and vital for high-performing teams. A leader’s empathy was ranked as one of the most critical elements in fostering efficient working practices. A study conducted by Harvard Business Review revealed that employees who perceive their leaders as supportive and empathetic experience significantly higher levels of job satisfaction and overall wellbeing. Leaders who prioritise employee wellbeing inspire trust, encourage open communication, and foster a culture of support, which leads to improved engagement and reduced stress levels. 

Developing Resilience Through Leadership 

Resilience is an essential component of employee wellbeing, enabling individuals to cope with adversity and thrive in challenging situations. Leadership plays a fundamental role in fostering resilience among employees. Research published in the International Journal of Information and Decision Sciences highlighted that leaders who exhibit authentic leadership qualities, such as transparency, empathy, and optimism, significantly contribute to the development of employee resilience. Furthermore, leaders who prioritise their sleep, movement and nutrition are found to better deal with adversity and provide guidance during difficult times, modelling resilience for their employees.  

The Importance of Top-Down Wellbeing Programs 

While employee wellbeing programs typically focus on providing resources and support for individual employees, it is crucial to extend these initiatives to top management as well. Leaders who prioritise their own wellbeing set a positive example for employees and create a culture that values self-care and work-life balance.  

To create a comprehensive wellbeing program that incorporates leadership, organisations need to adopt a multifaceted approach. This entails promoting leadership training and development programs that emphasise the role of wellbeing in workplace performance. Our High Performance program focuses on the four pillars of performance – movement, mindset, nutrition and recovery – and is designed to elevate the health and fitness of business leaders and empower individuals with the knowledge and tools around wellbeing so they can positively impact others. 

By acknowledging that wellbeing is a shared responsibility, organisations can cultivate a thriving workforce that benefits both individuals and the overall organisation. Prioritising leadership as part of wellbeing programs is not only a strategic choice but a human-centric approach that sets the stage for a healthier and happier work environment. 

To find out more about the High Performance program, click here.  

Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?