How Prioritizing Self-Care Enables You To Better Lead and Invest in Others
Guest Post: Capri Fiello works to empower the online community through strategic outreach, advocating for people to take charge of their personal wellness in order to achieve their personal and professional goals. I’m pleased to have her share her thoughts about the value of self-care as a leader.
Leadership in the workplace is demanding. You’re expected to work long hours, always give your best effort, and show others how to get their jobs done in the best way possible. Leaders are natural go-getters, which makes it hard to turn off “work-mode” and make time for personal wellness and self-care.
“Self-care” as a term doesn’t sound like an aspect of good leadership. The common perception of a good leader tends to lean towards the self-less achiever who puts others’ needs before their own. The problem with this is that it encourages individuals to give all of themselves to the point of not having anything left to give. As a result, they become burned out or disenchanted with their work.
The key to long-lasting, sustainable leadership is knowing how to care for yourself first. Here are a few reasons prioritizing self-care enables you to lead more effectively and better invest in others.
Provides the energy to support others when they need you
Neglecting your own needs in favor of others’ puts you at risk of becoming unhappy, developing low self-esteem, and cultivating feelings of resentment. The burnout associated with giving too much of yourself is often referred to as “compassion fatigue” by psychotherapists. By not giving yourself time to rejuvenate and refocus, you’re depleting your mental and physical resources until all you have left is exhaustion. In a study on workplace burnout by the Harvard Business Review, psychologist Adam Grant says, “being an effective giver isn’t about dropping everything every time for every person. It’s about making sure that the benefits of helping others outweigh the costs to you.”
In order to have the energy needed to effectively support your team, you have to prioritize time for personal wellness to support yourself. Regular self-care helps to combat chronic stress, renew your energy resources, and keep your mind sharp, which translates to more effective and compassionate leadership.
Enables you to provide a positive role model
A team is only as good as the role model they’re following. If you’re noticeably letting yourself go, overworking yourself, and consequently not doing your best work, your team will either jump ship or follow your example. By setting aside time to take care of yourself, you’re not only subconsciously encouraging your team to do the same, but also setting an example for effective time management, maximizing productivity, and contributing to a more positive workplace culture overall.
Be conscious of the image you’re projecting at work and make an effort to always come in to the office looking - at the very least - well-kept. Keeping up with your self-care needs with a personalized grooming routine, such as finding a successful hair loss treatment for a potential receding hairline or an effective teeth whitener for an improved smile, is a great way to lead by example with your team members.
Helps others see their worth
Quality self-care is inherently linked to a higher self-esteem, as having a well-cared for body makes you feel good about yourself and conveys to others that you value your body, time, and appearance. This contributes to long-term emotional and mental well-being, as well as increased self-confidence.
Self-confidence can be a motivating factor to others on your team. A self-confident leader motivates their team and makes the work they do feel more significant. The team is more likely to live up to their responsibilities under someone who helps them understand their value and contributions. It goes back to the point on leading by a positive example. A leader who noticeably doubts themselves or their abilities will have a debilitating effect on the morale of the team as whole and cause them to doubt their value, while a leader who is noticeably confident and competent empowers the rest of the team and gives them a feeling of validation in the work they’re doing.