Is wellbeing having to be sacrificed by business leaders?

Wellbeing and health has had to be compromised by 44% of bosses in the UK due to pressure at work. A survey conducted by Vistage, aimed at 352 small business owners, uncovered that almost a quarter of business leaders have had to find support from outside the business to help with work related stress.


The general manager of Vistage, Geoff Lawrence stated that “being a boss can mean having to put your body on the line from time to time, but there’s a fine line between making sacrifices and becoming a martyr to the cause.”


In the 2018 Vistage CEO Confidence Index the report found that only 12% of people in a leadership role would always prioritise their own health and wellbeing over their work. Lawrence stated that finding not just balance but the right balance for business leaders can be difficult, especially if they have been with the business from the beginning and have watched it grow. The study further adds to concerns over increased pressure that is facing senior employees within business and the detrimental effect on their wellbeing.


The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) conducted research and found that managers were facing a mental health crisis, with 10% taking time off work for issues surrounding mental health in the past year, for an average length of 121 days.


Additionally, a report published by CIPD with regards to health and wellbeing discovered that mental ill-health was the main cause of long-term absence in more than 20% of UK businesses. The report also stated that stress-related absence had increased to 37% over the past year within businesses.


Mental Health Foundation’s Stress: Are we coping? report found that 74 per cent of British people had felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope, and a further 32% of UK adults had reported suicidal thoughts due to feelings of stress.


The head of workplace mental health at the Mental Health Foundation, Chris O’Sullivan, said that managers were often seen as the people who are responsible for making workplaces and offices more mentally healthy, when often they are the ones who are experiencing large amounts of stress. He added that it is important to recognize the fact that managers and business leaders are under huge pressure. “For too long, there has been a culture of driving middle managers hard to achieve results without giving them the time to manage their people and the culture among some leaders of putting themselves last. This has to end if we want to see mentally healthy workplaces.”


CEO and founder of Headtorch Amy McDonald agreed: “Business leaders are not immune. Stress and mental ill-health can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of their position within an organisation.”


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