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What an industry on the frontline can teach us about leading wellbeing

All industries face upheaval, yet over these past few years perhaps none more than Health & Wellbeing. Try to put your arms around this industry, and you’ll find it is enormous. It comprises the vast array of products, technologies, and services that touch the quantity and quality of our lives, with as diverse of sectors as healthcare, mental wellness, physical activity, pharma, wellness real estate, workplace wellness, human potential, and more.

The Health & Wellbeing industry is on the frontline to assist with the one in three people worldwide—almost 2 billion individuals—who feel their lives are out of balance, a mental, physical, and emotional toll experienced in every corner of the world. We also expect this industry to help us experience good health and wellbeing today, plus evolve healthier, more peaceful, and prosperous futures for our communities and organizations, our planet, and our personal lives.


One of the most significant findings emerging from Wisdom Works recent study of leaders across the Health & Wellbeing industry is the strong correlation between leaders’ reports of their psychological wellbeing and leadership impact. Moreover, upon deeper analysis of the leaders who participated in the study, we discovered: Up to 34% of leaders stated abilities to energy people, maximize their talents and growth, and cultivate a positive work environment could be explained by the leaders’ sense of wellbeing personally.

Considering the innumerable variables, from a leader’s tenure to education level to personality, that can influence the perception of the impact they’re making, “34%” is noteworthy. It means that a leader’s sense of inner wellbeing—of experiencing themselves as internally well-resourced to handle their complexities and demands in life and work—is a key lever in how they lead.


The Health & Wellbeing industry teaches all of us that leading from wellbeing is a key lever for leading effectively. An excellent article recently published by McKinsey agrees. It highlights that, regardless of industry, a vital leadership shift required for sustainable, inclusive company growth is the ability for leaders to show up as whole people, bringing their best selves and a mindset of authenticity to how they lead.

I’d take that a step farther. I propose that when leaders lead from wellbeing, or what our team at Wisdom Works calls “high thriving,” they are better equipped to tap into tremendous resources within them, for example, their creativity, energy, flexibility, perspective-taking, and emotional regulation. These inner resources are foundational to activating the very capabilities—being a visionary, architect, catalyst, coach—required to lead in today’s era of disruption.

Today, everyone can be a leader, in management and non-management roles alike. In our contemporary work world where hierarchies and silos are often giving way to networks of collaboration that are more democratized, adaptive, and inclusive, we define leadership is the stance a person takes to actively steward the work conditions where all people can grow, build healthy relationships, perform well, and thrive. Teams and whole organization can demonstrate this kind of leadership, too. And as leaders from the Health & Wellbeing industry remind us, cultivating our wellbeing—that 34% lever inside each one of us—is at the very heart of what it means to effectively lead.


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