Can A Leader Really Improve The Wellbeing Of Their Team?

Updated: Sep 8

"Hold the door, say "please", say "thank you" Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie I know you got mountains to climb But always stay humble and kind When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you When the work you put in is realized Let yourself feel the pride But always stay humble and kind "

Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw (Click here for the song)





Photo by Elias Castillo on Unsplash



" Mental health and performance are mutually dependent and can be improved through effective leadership"

  Dr Niklas Steffens



Readers would be aware that the purpose of my executive coaching is to enhance my clients’  leadership capability and wellbeing,  so that they can create psychologically safe and healthy workplaces for their staff to flourish. (see my previous blog on mental health) It is very easy to locate the frightening statistics demonstrating the impact of poor leadership behaviour on employee wellbeing, however,  I was recently reminded that have not explicitly detailed why excellent  leadership is so critical for employee wellbeing. How exactly does excellent leadership improve employee wellbeing?

A meta analysis of the research into transformational leadership and employee wellbeing found the following aspects of leadership behaviour directly led to an increase in employee wellbeing: Individual Wellbeing was enhanced when leaders provided personalised  approaches to: 

  • Identifying meaningful work

  • Employee motivation

  • Managing work-life conflict

  • Improving role clarity

  • Enhancing Self-efficacy

  • Reduce excessive job demands

  • Managing the intensity of work

  • Sourcing opportunities for development

  • Providing clear timely feedback

  • Encouraging social support 

  • Strengthening self-confidence to pursue new pathways for growth 

  • Train and stimulate employees to be able to conduct special non-routine decision-making

  • Provide high levels of job autonomy to enable employees to maximise their abilities at work, particularly in the midst of change and uncertainty.

  • Encouraging continued development of individual psychosocial resources. 

Team Wellbeing was enhanced when leaders were: 

  • Transparent allocation of work, whilst balancing organisational demand, employee interest and capability. 

  • Reduce ambiguity 

  • Cultivate a sense of community

  • Climate for innovation

  • Ensure procedural justice

  • Psychological empowerment

  • Provide adequate resources

  • Reduction in role conflict

  • Clear vision and purpose

  • Create a positive climate for learning

  • Promoting open exchange, knowledge sharing, mutual trust, communication, and goal setting between team members.

  • Comprehensive evidence based approach to wellbeing  in life and work. 


“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.”

Steven Covey

It is important to note that the leaders were characterised by high self-awareness; emotional intelligence; and empathy Finally, and most importantly,  the leaders were kind, and openly proactive about their own wellbeing needs. As a reminder these are the main business benefits of improved employee wellbeing:

  • Increased loyalty

  • Attraction and retention of high talent

  • Increased discretionary effort

  • Increased performance and productivity 

  • Increased creativity and innovation

  • Collaboration

  • Organisational commitment

  • Empathy with the needs of key stakeholders

  • High performance

  • Trust in leadership and organisation

  • Alignment with organisational values


 “Looking after employee health is not primarily about reducing operational cost; it’s about driving stronger success in every sphere – be it personal or business,”

Dr Natalie Lotzmann

So email me and tell me what are you going to do differently to enhance the wellbeing of your team? 

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References and further reading. Inceoglu, I., Thomas, G., Chu, C., Plans, D. and Gerbasi, A. (2018). Leadership behavior and employee well-being: An integrated review and a future research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 29(1), pp.179–202. Donaldson, C. (2019). Why leaders need to play a more active role in improving health and wellbeing. [online] Inside HR. Available at: https://www.insidehr.com.au/leaders-health-wellbeing/. ‌2016 WELL-BEING & ENGAGEMENT REPORT. (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://www.limeade.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/QW-LimeadeWellBeingEngagementReport-final.pdf [Accessed 31 Aug. 2020]. ‌ https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1040&context=chsd Steffens, N.K., Haslam, S.A., Kerschreiter, R., Schuh, S.C. and van Dick, R. (2014). Leaders Enhance Group Members’ Work Engagement and Reduce Their Burnout by Crafting Social Identity. German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung, 28(1–2), pp.173–194. ‌ Arnold, K.A. (2017). Transformational leadership and employee psychological well-being: A review and directions for future research. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22(3), pp.381–393. ‌ Berger, R., Czakert, J.P., Leuteritz, J.-P. and Leiva, D. (2019). How and When Do Leaders Influence Employees’ Well-Being? Moderated Mediation Models for Job Demands and Resources. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. ‌Diebig, M., Bormann, K.C. and Rowold, J. (2016). Day-level transformational leadership and followers’ daily level of stress: a moderated mediation model of team cooperation, role conflict, and type of communication. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26(2), pp.234–249. ‌ Gregersen, S., Vincent-Höper, S. and Nienhaus, A. (2016). Job-related resources, leader–member exchange and well-being – a longitudinal study. Work & Stress, 30(4), pp.356–373. ‌ Nielsen, K., Yarker, J., Randall, R., and Munir, F. (2009). The mediating effects of team and self-efficacy on the relationship between transformational leadership, and job satisfaction and psychological well-being in healthcare professionals: a cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Int. J. Nurs. Stud. 46, 1236–1244. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.03.001 https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/timmcgraw/humbleandkind.html






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