by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We have the great privilege of working with some of the most successful, inspiring people in wellness. It’s a perk we never take for granted — not just because many of them have been wonderful clients over the years, but because they continue to teach us so much that we get to share. Here are some leadership lessons we’ve learned from the best of the best.

Great wellness leaders:


  • Think and act like business people who understand their business is about people. People with real fears, insecurities, hopes, and dreams. So while they are focused on key business metrics — like any function in the organization — they know their program’s long-term success isn’t in how many sign up for this or that, but how well they create opportunities for people to overcome fears and realize dreams. And it’s not some fuzzy, head-in-the-clouds notion. They work hard to measure and influence how well the organization is helping employees achieve meaning and purpose in their work, and a sense that they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves.
  • Never stop selling. Not in the used car salesman sense, but selling the value of a healthy, engaged, fulfilled workforce to management and the masses. Ask leaders what’s the value proposition of their wellness program and they launch into a half-hour exposition of real and potential benefits to the individual, their families, their departments, and the organization. When they’re finished, you’re not only convinced that the wellness program is the smartest thing that organization has done, but you’re ready to run through a wall for them.
  • Tinker relentlessly. If they hit a grand slam that sails out of the ballpark, you’d think they would take the same approach the next time they step to the plate. Not the best of the best. In fact, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” isn’t in their vocabulary because they almost never do something exactly the same a second time. There’s always some part they can do better, aim higher, achieve more. They’re pleased, but never completely satisfied with success.
  • Teach, coach, mentor, pass it on. The great wellness leaders have an almost unlimited capacity to help others achieve their highest professional goals — whether they’re a direct report or the boss. It’s an unforced desire to help others who want to learn and grow.
  • Seek out the best advice and information for the situation. Often they’ll have a trusted mentor or several seasoned advisers, but they analyze the need or obstacle and are completely comfortable going outside their established network to get the right input for the challenge at hand.
  • Live the life they want. Some might be defined as workaholics by those who don’t know them, while others seem not to be trying at all — their success appears almost effortless. In both instances — and everything in between — the great ones have achieved the right balance for themselves and are not trying to fit some corporate definition of a hard-charging executive.

Take time today to consider how you can apply these attributes.


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