The Intersection of Well-Being and Leadership

Aug. 28, 2023

An employee's well-being—defined as judging one's life positively and feeling good—is directly related to their job performance. When an employee is thriving, the company sees higher job performance, but when an employee is suffering, that affects the company’s performance. Therefore, understanding the different aspects of well-being, and how to cultivate them, is critical to becoming a great team leader.

The 5 common elements included when assessing well-being are:

  1. Career Well-being: An individual likes what they do in their professional arena.
  2. Social Well-being: An individual has meaningful and strong relationships in their life.
  3. Financial Well-being: An individual manages their money well.
  4. Physical Well-being: An individual has good health and energy to get things done.
  5. Community Well-being: An individual likes where they live and engages and supports their community.

A group of people exercising to promote well-being.
A group of people exercising to promote well-being.
Source: CDC Public Health Image Library
Last year, ASM conducted a workshop for postdoctoral women on well-being and leadership. The speaker from last year and this year’s upcoming program, Aleksandra Sikora, Ph.D., a professor from the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University, discussed the importance of well-being and how it's related to leadership. Well-being is tied into one's ability to motivate their team in either a positive or negative way, which can influence their leadership. Sikora recommended that leaders must first look at their own well-being before leading/encouraging their team to practice well-being approaches. “Just like on the plane where you have to apply your oxygen mask first, you must apply your well-being mask first. Practice self-care habits to manage your well-being. Leaders are the ripple effect for well-being,” Sikora said.

For those in leadership roles and managing people, Sikora recommended these tips to help promote a team’s well-being:

  • Communicate transparently, authentically and frequently with your team.
  • Check-in regularly with your team and ask/address their needs.
  • Encourage your team to plan and/or attend social events.
  • Support the creation of community groups to overcome feelings of isolation.
  • Address any concerns that your team might have on the company’s financials/state.
  • Share resources and employee benefits that help to reduce financial burden to employees.
  • Champion a culture of physical activities by promoting exercise breaks during the workday.
  • Promote healthy eating initiatives with your team by offering healthy options for lunch meetings.
  • Distribute information on events where employees can give back to the community.
  • Provide some time for your employees to give back to community events.

By incorporating some of these techniques into leadership practices, one can help build a thriving team.

Author: Shilpa Gadwal

Shilpa Gadwal
Shilpa Gadwal is the Career Resources Specialist at ASM.