According to the Global Leadership Forecast 2021 conducted by the Development Dimensions International (DDI), 60% of leaders now indicate that they feel “used up” at the end of every workday, a strong indicator of burnout. And those numbers continue to rise!
Concerning is also the fact that only 18% of leaders felt confident in helping team members avoid burnout.
Today one of the key questions many leaders ask themselves is: “How can I help people in my organisation navigate uncertainty and perform well?" I would add a question: "How can I as a leader navigate with confidence in the world of chaos, rapid change, and uncertainty, and keep different areas of my life in balance?". There is a reason behind the instruction we hear when we get on the airplane to put on our mask first before assisting others, in case of emergency. We can't help others for very long if we don't take care of ourselves first. And the thing is that many of us know it and still do not do it...
A group of scientists from the United States* proved that stressors ranging in magnitude and duration impair healing. The effects of stress on healing have important implications in the context of surgery and naturally occurring wounds, particularly among at-risk and chronically ill populations. Multiple studies have demonstrated that there is a connection between chronic stress and significant immune dysregulation – the healing took 24% longer. Milder stress also impairs healing. The studies showed that every student healed 40% more slowly during exams than during vacation.
This evidence confirms a strong connection between our mind and body, and the influence on our mental and physical health. To summarise, an ability to stay grounded and maintain inner peace positively influences healing.
Executive leaders in particular are exposed to extremely high pressure and often are not aware of the stressors that trigger their stress reactions. Often they are not aware or are too busy to think about the consequences of cumulated stress in their body that can cause the implosion and serious health problems.
So what role does mental strength training play?
By leveraging neuroplasticity (brain plasticity), mental strength training can help leaders deepen their self-awareness and change their attitude to what is happening around them, how they interpret it, and react to it. As Daniel Kahnemann said, "Not all of us can turn off stress with a snap of our fingers, but we can all manage our lives so that stressors become less and less frequent." The key to success is the sum of small, daily steps leading to the desired outcome. Many scientifically backed techniques elevate an ability to stay focused, more grounded, and improve the quality of life holistically. Not only does it help leaders to improve their wellbeing and productivity but also has a positive impact on people in the organisation. Leaders can be role models by demonstrating what great looks like and inspire employees to implement strategies that enhance their ability to better cope with uncertainty and elevate their performance.
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