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New study unearths state of global health and wellbeing leadership
By Megan Whitby 04 May 2023
WWG is planning to repeat this leadership survey every two years Credit: Shutterstock/fizkes
Wellbeing industry leaders are collectively reporting that they aren’t as internally well-resourced as they could be to handle the complexities and challenges they face, reveals a new survey.

The report – Leading in the Health & Wellbeing Industry 2023 – was undertaken by US-based social enterprise Wisdom Works Group (WWG) to explore the state of wellbeing leadership.

Answered by 841 leaders across 71 countries, the 133-question survey quizzed respondents from three sectors (the global wellness economy, healthcare and human potential and development) about their experience of their organisation, everyday stressors and two areas – leadership impact and psychological wellbeing – which combine into something WWG calls wellbeing leadership.

“This study brings to light the need for integrating the science and practices of wellbeing into leader development as a strategy for improving leadership, work culture and industry impact,” said WWG’s Renee Moorefield, CEO, and Kate McIver, study director.

“Integrating wellbeing into leadership impact isn’t a sprint, nor is it an event, programme or fad. It’s a marathon requiring a dedicated commitment to real transformation.

“Ask yourself, how could I enhance my leadership impact by prioritising my wellbeing? How could I cultivate an environment of wellbeing for those I lead or within my spa?”

Higher leader wellbeing links to higher impact
Across all three micro-industries, the higher the psychological wellbeing of leaders, the more positive their impact is.

This meant that as the leaders’ individual wellbeing rose, so did their perceived capacity to positively impact those around them through things like their perceived ability to energise people, maximise their effectiveness and growth and cultivate a positive work environment.

Potential for growth
Most leaders surveyed agreed there was room for improvement in their wellbeing leadership, concluding that they weren’t as internally well-resourced as they could be to handle the complexities and challenges of their life and work.

For this study, WWG categorised health and wellbeing industry leaders as high, average and low in their reported wellbeing leadership. Of the leaders who scored high wellbeing leadership across the industry, the largest group (38 per cent) was from the global wellness economy sector.

Although wellbeing leadership for these industry leaders was reportedly not as robust as it could be, they did indicate a high degree of job autonomy in making decisions at work – a factor which is shown to be associated with higher wellbeing across organisational and management research.

Middle- and first-line managers need support
First- and mid-level managers reported lower wellbeing leadership compared to other leadership levels. While they represented 35 per cent of the study sample, these managers were only 28 per cent of those leaders reporting high wellbeing leadership.

This suggests that while mid-level and first-line management generally perceived themselves as able to meet their stresses and demands in life and work, they weren’t thriving while doing so.

As this pool of leaders is the future of the industry, WWG says this finding highlights a critical opportunity for retaining and developing top talent by empowering middle-and first-line management to prioritise wellbeing.

Experience of work differs across levels of leader
When compared to middle- and first-line management, top management and non-managerial leaders across the health and wellbeing industry perceived greater Job Autonomy. Plus, they perceived their Work Culture as more organic and participative.

Although top managers reported higher job autonomy and participative work culture, this study suggests that all sectors can enrich the work experience of middle- and first-line management by increasing their autonomy and meaningful participation and connection at work.

Variation due to gender and age
In every sector, a higher proportion of women consistently scored in the high-stress category compared to their male counterparts. Women represented 65 per cent of leaders in the study sample yet a disproportionate 71 per cent of leaders in the high-stress category.

In addition, the quality of wellbeing leadership appeared to increase with age, with those over 55+ years representing the majority (40 per cent) of the high wellbeing leadership group

Conclusion
Leading in the Health & Wellbeing Industry 2023 uncovers that leaders in this industry are collectively reporting that they aren’t as internally well-resourced as they could be to handle the complexities and challenges they face," concludes the report.

“With leaders as a linchpin for people’s experience at work, this study brings to light the need for integrating the science and practices of wellbeing into leader development as a strategy for improving leadership, work culture and industry impact.

McIver added: “This study is not only a clarion call for health and wellbeing industry leaders to prioritise wellbeing for themselves and the people and organisation they serve; it’s a voice for making thriving a standard of success across the industry. We believe the industry can increase its global impact by ‘putting on its own mask first’.”

WWG is planning to repeat this report every two years, so it can provide more specific and nuanced insights into sectors of the health and wellbeing industry.


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NEWS
New study unearths state of global health and wellbeing leadership
POSTED 04 May 2023 . BY Megan Whitby
WWG is planning to repeat this leadership survey every two years Credit: Shutterstock/fizkes
Wellbeing industry leaders are collectively reporting that they aren’t as internally well-resourced as they could be to handle the complexities and challenges they face, reveals a new survey.

The report – Leading in the Health & Wellbeing Industry 2023 – was undertaken by US-based social enterprise Wisdom Works Group (WWG) to explore the state of wellbeing leadership.

Answered by 841 leaders across 71 countries, the 133-question survey quizzed respondents from three sectors (the global wellness economy, healthcare and human potential and development) about their experience of their organisation, everyday stressors and two areas – leadership impact and psychological wellbeing – which combine into something WWG calls wellbeing leadership.

“This study brings to light the need for integrating the science and practices of wellbeing into leader development as a strategy for improving leadership, work culture and industry impact,” said WWG’s Renee Moorefield, CEO, and Kate McIver, study director.

“Integrating wellbeing into leadership impact isn’t a sprint, nor is it an event, programme or fad. It’s a marathon requiring a dedicated commitment to real transformation.

“Ask yourself, how could I enhance my leadership impact by prioritising my wellbeing? How could I cultivate an environment of wellbeing for those I lead or within my spa?”

Higher leader wellbeing links to higher impact
Across all three micro-industries, the higher the psychological wellbeing of leaders, the more positive their impact is.

This meant that as the leaders’ individual wellbeing rose, so did their perceived capacity to positively impact those around them through things like their perceived ability to energise people, maximise their effectiveness and growth and cultivate a positive work environment.

Potential for growth
Most leaders surveyed agreed there was room for improvement in their wellbeing leadership, concluding that they weren’t as internally well-resourced as they could be to handle the complexities and challenges of their life and work.

For this study, WWG categorised health and wellbeing industry leaders as high, average and low in their reported wellbeing leadership. Of the leaders who scored high wellbeing leadership across the industry, the largest group (38 per cent) was from the global wellness economy sector.

Although wellbeing leadership for these industry leaders was reportedly not as robust as it could be, they did indicate a high degree of job autonomy in making decisions at work – a factor which is shown to be associated with higher wellbeing across organisational and management research.

Middle- and first-line managers need support
First- and mid-level managers reported lower wellbeing leadership compared to other leadership levels. While they represented 35 per cent of the study sample, these managers were only 28 per cent of those leaders reporting high wellbeing leadership.

This suggests that while mid-level and first-line management generally perceived themselves as able to meet their stresses and demands in life and work, they weren’t thriving while doing so.

As this pool of leaders is the future of the industry, WWG says this finding highlights a critical opportunity for retaining and developing top talent by empowering middle-and first-line management to prioritise wellbeing.

Experience of work differs across levels of leader
When compared to middle- and first-line management, top management and non-managerial leaders across the health and wellbeing industry perceived greater Job Autonomy. Plus, they perceived their Work Culture as more organic and participative.

Although top managers reported higher job autonomy and participative work culture, this study suggests that all sectors can enrich the work experience of middle- and first-line management by increasing their autonomy and meaningful participation and connection at work.

Variation due to gender and age
In every sector, a higher proportion of women consistently scored in the high-stress category compared to their male counterparts. Women represented 65 per cent of leaders in the study sample yet a disproportionate 71 per cent of leaders in the high-stress category.

In addition, the quality of wellbeing leadership appeared to increase with age, with those over 55+ years representing the majority (40 per cent) of the high wellbeing leadership group

Conclusion
Leading in the Health & Wellbeing Industry 2023 uncovers that leaders in this industry are collectively reporting that they aren’t as internally well-resourced as they could be to handle the complexities and challenges they face," concludes the report.

“With leaders as a linchpin for people’s experience at work, this study brings to light the need for integrating the science and practices of wellbeing into leader development as a strategy for improving leadership, work culture and industry impact.

McIver added: “This study is not only a clarion call for health and wellbeing industry leaders to prioritise wellbeing for themselves and the people and organisation they serve; it’s a voice for making thriving a standard of success across the industry. We believe the industry can increase its global impact by ‘putting on its own mask first’.”

WWG is planning to repeat this report every two years, so it can provide more specific and nuanced insights into sectors of the health and wellbeing industry.
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