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Leadership Superpowers: Connection & Well-Being

Leadership is not for the faint of heart. It beckons you to grow and stretch in ways that are unknown until you are in the thick of it and question whether you’re really doing it right.  Leaders have a far greater impact on the well-being of others than they imagine. We sometimes lose sight that they, too, can struggle with stress and diminished well-being and report lower levels of connection.  When leaders strive to lead according to a generic formula, it rarely works and leaves them more likely to succumb to stress. However, when they learn to own and manage their unique strengths and challenges, they lead from an authentic expression of who they are and want to be at work. From this place, they are more likely to find and create connections in the workplace. Cultivating connection can be one of their highest contributions to their employees. This is a somewhat winding way of reaching an important point I recently read in an article:

“Connection is critical to wellbeing and happiness, whether people are introverts or extroverts.”1 (Brower 2023)

We humans are hardwired to connect from birth. The polarity people typically draw between introversion and extroversion spills into ideas about preferences for social connection. But the distinction is best placed as a person’s natural energy for sustained social interaction. Here’s an example:

Introversion, in the WorkPlace Big Five Profileᵀᴹ framework, is denoted as “lower in Sociability.” This means that people scoring on the lower end of a continuum derive more energy and recharge when they can work on their own rather than spend extended time collaborating in groups. It’s the part of being around people—the sustained interaction—that can be overwhelming, not the connection it can create.

It’s important for leaders to understand each team member’s need for social interaction so that they can best create the conditions for connection with them. It’s a simple, high-impact way to respect each person’s needs and build the foundation for healthy working relationships while also recognizing their own unique needs.

1 Brower, Tracy. (2023, January 29), Managers Have Major Impact On Mental Health: How To Lead For Wellbeing. Forbes.