Workplace Wellbeing And Positive Leadership: How Leaders Can Thrive

Written by
Ryan McGrory
August 4, 2022

If we feel good, we’re able to do our best. Seems straightforward, right?

Though, for the last few years, many people (myself included) have found it tough to be at their best. Why?

Well, the multiple social, political and health challenges have really tested our wellbeing.

At work, wellbeing or wellness is in huge demand. In fact, it’s a top-three demand for employees – and it’s the number one thing, according to Gartner research, that Australian employees are looking for in a new employer.

I spoke with Aaron Williams, CEO of Mindstar; an organisation that provides premium wellbeing support for Australian businesses. He’s noticed an increase in demand and action in this space in recent years -

“I think we’re recognising that it’s actually a business need. There are a whole lot of business drivers for this – it’s not just a ‘nice to have'. This is about being an employer of choice. This is about retaining your best people. This is about having success, and impact and, effectiveness.”

Of course, like all company focus areas, wellbeing requires leadership’s support. Part of the challenge, it seems, is that many leaders are struggling with their own wellbeing – which, makes new things difficult to embrace. Aaron empathises with this predicament -

“If you’re feeling under fire, you tend to close down - and what happens then, is your perspective shrinks and so, you don’t see things with clarity … you’re reactive and tend to get caught in the task-orientated day-to-day,” he says.

“But what we actually have to do is the opposite … and it’s really challenging to open up.”

Many leaders have been in hyperdrive since the pandemic – seemingly dealing with crisis after crisis. And, it shows.

Aaron has been working with many leading Australian businesses on the topic of wellbeing.

“So many leaders are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted … and let’s not sugarcoat it … we’re in a difficult time in history. Going from crisis to crisis – and, every time we feel we have a bit a certainty, we’re met with more uncertainty … it’s just unique."

Though, there are leaders who are navigating things well. They’re managing to not only survive but thrive. But, how are they doing this?

In the last six months, Aaron has visited 100 organisations – delivering 132 wellbeing workshops with leaders from all different industries.

In his interactions with over 1,000 leaders, he’s uncovered some common themes. For those navigating today’s challenges successfully, he notes three things they’re doing:

1.       They’re putting themselves first -

“They know the minimum they need get for themselves, every day, every week, to be their best; be the best mother, father, sister, brother, neighbour – whatever it is.”

2.       They’re brutal with their time –

“If we want to, we can answer every email that comes into our inbox. We can go to every meeting. It’s about learning how to say no in a nice way and being confident with that answer.”

3.       They’re leading with values

“The last one is people actually leading with their values. They know who they are, they know their way – why they get out of bed, why they do the job they're doing. They set the framework and structure for themselves.

Aaron Williams is full of amazing advice and brilliant bits of wisdom. He shares a little bit more in the Let’s Talk About EX podcast, which you can listen to right here!