For more than a year now people across the globe have been focused on their health or at a minimum thinking about not getting sick. The COVID-19 pandemic made us all hyper-aware of every sniffle, sneeze, or cough which made allergy season tricky for a lot of folks. However, we expect that life will soon settle into a style of normal that feels a little more familiar even as we incorporate some of the pandemic lessons into that newer normal.
But, once the coronavirus isn’t at the top of mind and we begin to spend some form of structured time alongside team members, I think our attention may turn to those other wellness threats in our working lives.
Bob Chapman at the Aspen Ideas Festival brings his perspective on Truly Human Leadership in business. He says, “Organizations in this country are the direct cause of the healthcare crisis. The biggest cause of chronic illness in this country is stress, and the biggest cause of stress is work.”
Bob cites research from the Mayo Clinic showing that a person’s immediate supervisor at work has more impact on health than the same individual’s primary care physician. Monday mornings have a 20% increase in heart attacks as people go back to work.
That’s an eye opener. You can feel the joy get sucked right out of the people who work in places where they don’t feel valued and the toll that takes on their wellbeing.
The issue at its core is the difference between management and leadership. Management is focused on the coordination and administration of tasks to achieve a targeted goal. Did you see anything human-centric in that definition? When managers view their employees as chess pieces on a board, humanity is removed from the equation and with it, the motivation and heart of those very HUMAN resources.
Leadership on the other hand is an art form whereby people are motivated to act towards achieving a common goal. Leaders recognize the humanity of their team members, support their goals, and celebrate their successes even when their careers lead them away from us. Leaders are focused on the people.
Whatever thing or service your company produces, your core product is the people who work with you.