Although different styles of leadership are recognized, there appears to be very little said about what happens when we adopt a style that is not authentically ours. Because of a lack of training, or exposure, many leaders I have worked with picked up styles from people they admired or people who they believed "got things done." They grew into who they thought they needed to be, whether it fit or not.
Now after several years of working with leaders with a variety of physical, emotional or spiritual diseases, from prostate disorders, heart issues, cancer, to strokes, the need to support these leaders, first in healing, then in understanding the ways in which they lost touch with their purpose, betrayed themselves, their gut instincts, and their own intuitive skills, essentially their strongest leadership traits is clear. Disregarding what you know internally in order to support a style that you adopted sets you up for disease. Unfortunately, times of transition or great stress can exacerbate the problem.
In the midst of the current transitioning into a new paradigm for post-pandemic business, the added stress can become a major factor impacting the health and success of leaders and, consequently, the organization. If you are dreading going to work or dealing with others, it may be because you rarely allow yourself to be your best self. If this is a job or company you could enjoy, and it aligns with values and a vision you admire, then you need to assess whether you are working with great intensity and will or if you are working with creativity, passion, and vision. One drains you and one feeds you.
Some of us are born leaders and end up leading or being asked to lead in every organization we join. Others have learned the skills of leadership. Regardless, leadership is a trait we all possess and yet our leadership style may need to be learned. If only so that you can claim or maintain your health in the process with the added benefit of loving what you do, knowing your “Why” and how you do it.
To offer support I created a Leadership Self-Assessment Tool as well as an eBook entitled Owning Your Leadership providing an in-depth understanding of this work and the five leadership styles that exist. It shows as well that illness never takes place out of context. It occurs in the midst of or immediately after, a very difficult period. Excessive or prolonged stress, confusion, overwhelm, etc. impacts your immune system leaving you vulnerable to particular disorders that are predictable.
As an example:
- Thought Leaders are prone to muscle, tendon, bone or ligament issues
- Team Leaders are prone to addictive disorders, diabetes, lower back pain, & depression
- Supportive Leaders are prone to digestive disorders, liver issues, breast cancer
- Visionary Leaders are more prone to heart attacks/disease, high blood pressure, strokes
- Organizational Leaders are more prone to constipation, lung disorders, asthma, & OCD.
We’ve been taught that illness just happens, or that it happens mostly to those who eat poorly and live a self-destructive lifestyle; yet haven’t you known folks who “did everything right” yet developed cancer, or another disease/disorder? There are so many factors to consider. Stress levels. Relationship status. Sleep patterns. Eating patterns. Environment. Ability to handle stress. Enjoyment of life. Is your energy intense or fluid? Is everything or nothing a crisis?
Is there a mindset of never reaching goals? Of fighting obstacles? Or a mindset of living an adventure with challenges and rewards? Is leadership a burden or an opportunity to influence outcomes through values, wisdom, experience, and passion? Do you even remember what those values are? Personally? Professionally?
For health as well as success as a leader, it’s so worth the time to stop, assess, and make the changes needed, before illness or a life crisis occurs. You, your family, and your company deserve it. If this is a conversation that calls to you, reach out.