The latest thing to blame your boss for – now Swedish researchers are claiming that poor management, or more specifically leadership increases the risk of serious heart disease and heart attacks among employees. How long before we see the first lawsuit?
Health and Safety, Stress, Performance, and Productivity are all areas that have been part of a manager’s responsibility for some time. Some managers will throw their hands up in despair that they now have to look after the health of their workers, but the better ones will know this has always been the case implicitly, if not explicitly. Stress is a good example of how awareness has increased in recent years and most leaders now realise that they need to understand its causes, symptoms and how to reduce it – for themselves and their teams. Unfortunately a large part of this increased awareness is due to the ever more litigous society we live in, not because managers have become more sensitive!
General health is just an extension of this – healthy workers are more productive and motivated, so we should be concerned about it. There is a business case as well as a humanistic one. There are many ways we can help people to be more healthy and wise. We can bring in life coaches, personal trainers and work-place massage therapists, all of whom are becoming more common in many organisations. Or we can learn to be better leaders and role models ourselves.
As with so much of leadership, this starts with how you manage yourself. As my old school motto put it – “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano” or a healthy mind in a healthy body. Look after yourself and then look after others. Or as Stephen Covey puts it in the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” – “Sharpen Your Saw“…..