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Using self leadership skills to empower employee well-being

Published by: LifeWorks,

Leadership is a skill

Leadership is a skill that can be taught, and like any other skill, it comes easier to some than others.

But what happens once someone ‘accomplishes’ this skill?

Some are satisfied with stopping there, but the best leaders go on to cultivate a strong sense of self-leadership. These are people characterized by their self-awareness, autonomy, strong decision making skills, and self-motivation.

According to “Self Leadership – How to be a more Successful, Efficient and Effective Leader from the Inside Out,” by Andrew Bryant and Ana Kazan, when these characteristics are combined, a more creative and persistent leader is formed. They’re able to intentionally influence their own thinking, feeling, and behaviors to achieve goals.

Self-leaders are best equipped to approach workplace wellness because they’re in tune with all aspects of their wellness – physical, mental, social and financial. This allows them to take on the challenge of personal wellness and influence the well-being of everyone around them.

Here’s how you can use your own self-leadership characteristics to promote positive employee well-being throughout your company:  


Self-leaders know how to set plans, follow through, and stay focused on their goals. This translates to their personal wellness. They can achieve a healthy work-life balance, stay on track with fitness goals, and adhere to a strict schedule that allows time for improved mental health.

Unfortunately, this type of discipline doesn’t come easily for many people — especially when it comes to their personal well-being. With a constant example leading them every day, however, their chances of success are increased immensely.

Tip: Foster an environment of self-discipline. Praise employees who are clearly following their own strict guidelines to lead a healthy life.

For example, when you notice someone leaving the office on time rather than staying late, acknowledge their efforts. Publicly celebrate their dedication to both work and a personal life.

This sets a clear expectation for work-life balance. It lets everyone know it’s not just OK to leave work at a reasonable hour, but encouraged.

Set the same clear expectations for the rest of your employee well-being initiatives. The clearer you are and the louder you praise, the more involved and disciplined employees will be in taking care of their own well-being.


The art of ‘mindfulness’ has become a well-being trend at both work and home. But this is more than a trend. For self-leaders, it’s a necessity.

Let’s go beyond the stereotypes for a moment and set a concrete definition for mindfulness. According to Psychology, mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad.

Those who are mindful are able to truly focus on the present without worrying about the past or anticipating the future. Leaders who practice mindfulness are able to calmly address situations inside and outside of the office, greatly reducing stressors that cause mental and physical harm.

Tip: Host mindfulness training and provide employees with mindfulness resources, like subscriptions to meditation apps. Share your own stories of success with these resources and explain which app is your favorite and why. Be an example by marking yourself as ‘unavailable’ to dedicate time for your own mindfulness exercises.

Being open and honest about your own mindfulness practices and the impact they have on your life will remove much of the mental health stigma at work. This small but encouraging act will help others on your team focus on their present.

Strong Inner Narrative

Self-leaders are confident and able to align their intentions and actions to accomplish any goal. However, this doesn’t come without being in total control over their own inner thoughts. They take charge of their own story by focusing on positive thoughts and assessing how to become their ideal self.

Of course, having a strong inner narrative isn’t something employees can physically see you doing. But leaders can be vocal about how their inner thoughts are shaping who they are as a leader and improving their own personal well-being.

Tip: Host a self authoring workshop to teach employees the health benefits of journaling.

Resources like self authoring encourage important reflections on your strengths and aspirations. This is great for employees who want to take more control of their professional life and become outcome-oriented. As an added bonus, these writing exercises help employees address their emotional wellness.

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