29 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
 
 
HOME
JOBS
NEWS
FEATURES
PRODUCTS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION
PRINT SUBSCRIPTION
ADVERTISE
CONTACT US
Sign up for FREE ezine

SELECTED ISSUE
Spa Business
2023 issue 2

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Leading in the Health & Wellbeing Industry

Research

Leading in the Health & Wellbeing Industry


Spa Business digs into the latest findings from Wisdom Works Group’s inaugural wellbeing leadership study

Industry leaders need to prioritise their own wellbeing photo: shutterstock/Kzenon
Women scored consistently higher in stress categories photo: shutterstock/Evgeny Atamanenko

Industry leaders with a higher level of wellbeing make those around them feel more energised, maximising their effectiveness and growth and cultivating a positive work environment, reveals a new survey.

The report – Leading in the Health & Wellbeing Industry 2023 – by US-based social enterprise Wisdom Works Group (WWG) explores the state of wellbeing leadership.

Answered by 841 leaders across 71 countries, the survey quizzed respondents from three sectors (the global wellness economy, healthcare and human potential and development) about their organisation and everyday stressors. It also looked at leadership impact and psychological wellbeing – which combine into something WWG calls wellbeing leadership (see p62).

“This study brings to light the need for integrating the science and practices of wellbeing into leader development as a strategy for improving leadership, work culture and industry impact,” says WWG CEO Renee Moorefield.

“The measurements we studied offer wellness leadership an expansive way to view, and thus, elevate the wellbeing of people.”

Walk the talk
Across all three sectors, the higher the psychological wellbeing of leaders, the more positive their impact was. WWG calls this the study’s most significant conclusion and says it reinforces the necessity for leaders in the health and wellbeing industry to ‘walk the wellbeing talk’.

Study director Kate McIver says: “Having grown up in the spa industry, I know people join it to make a difference to other people’s lives and wellbeing. These results show the toll our roles as servant leaders can have when we don’t, as they say, ‘put our own mask on first’.

“How we treat ourselves – and as leaders, those we lead – broadcasts to those around us. This is about integrating human wellbeing into the very ethos and about creating a thriving work environment and this is a positive force for attracting and retaining employees.”

Managers need support
First- and mid-level managers reported lower wellbeing leadership compared with other leadership levels. While they represented 35 per cent of the study sample, only 28 per cent of them reported high wellbeing leadership.

As this pool of leaders is the future of the industry, WWG says this finding highlights that there’s a critical opportunity for retaining and developing talent within the spa sector.

Gender and age variations
In every sector, a higher proportion of women consistently scored in the high-stress category compared with their male counterparts. Women represented 65 per cent of leaders in the study sample yet a disproportionate 71 per cent of leaders in the high-stress category.

In addition, the quality of wellbeing leadership appeared to increase with age, with those over 55 years old representing the majority (40 per cent) of the high wellbeing leadership group (see graph on p62).


Lacking internal resources
Most leaders surveyed agreed there was room for improvement in their wellbeing leadership, concluding that they weren’t as internally well-resourced as they could be to handle the complexities and challenges of their life and work.

“Since wellbeing is the core purpose of the health and wellbeing industry, we were surprised to find leaders not reporting higher scores,” revealed McIver.

“However, this industry has been significantly challenged to meet the growing mental, physical, emotional and social wellbeing demands of people due to complex challenges we’re collectively facing around the globe.”

Although wellbeing leadership for these industry leaders wasn’t as robust as it could be, they did indicate a high degree of job autonomy – a factor which is associated with higher wellbeing across organisational and management research.

Conclusion
“This study is not only a clarion call for health and wellbeing industry leaders to prioritise wellbeing for themselves and the people and organisation they serve; it’s a voice for making thriving a standard of success across the industry,” concludes the report. “The industry can increase its global impact by ‘putting on its own mask first’.”

McIver and Moorefield both feel the study offers many takeaway points for spas. “As spa leaders, we’re affecting employees and customers not just through how we act and communicate – we’re affecting them with how we show up as human beings.

“When we feel internally well-resourced in our lives, we more naturally broadcast a sense of vibrancy and wellbeing to others; this, in turn, affects their state of being, too.

“We must understand that human beings are hard-wired to enhance or erode the wellbeing of others through co-regulation. Co-regulation simply means that we’re always broadcasting our state of being in some way.

“For example, when your heart rate variability decreases because you feel overstressed, studies show that a similar shift will likely occur in the people you’re around. Similarly, when you listen to a colleague with genuine care, this micro-moment of positive resonance shared with the other person sets off similar shifts in brain activity and oxytocin levels for both of you.

“When we return to the roots of spa as a life-giving avenue for mental, emotional, physical and social health benefits, we can quickly see how important it is to lead our lives and companies in a way that radiates wellbeing.

“Integrating wellbeing into leadership isn’t a sprint, nor is it an event, programme or fad. It’s a marathon requiring a dedicated commitment to real transformation.”

WWG is planning to repeat this report every two years, so it can provide more specific and nuanced insights into sectors of the health and wellbeing industry.

WELLBEING LEADERSHIP INCREASES OVER LEADER’s LIFESPAN
WELLNESS LEADERSHIP PSYCHOMETRICS
Psychological wellbeing

• Today & tomorrow

• Flourishing

• Resilience

• Eating as fuel

• Moving as fuel

• Resting as fuel

• Breathing as fuel

• Engagement at work

• Self-esteem at work

• Mindfulness

• Appreciation & awe

• Seeking new perspectives

• Learning & growing

• Vision & purpose

• Wholeness

• Emotional capacity

Leadership impact

• Energising others

• Maximising others

• Cultivating care in others

photo: Wisdom Works Group

"This study brings to light the need for integrating the science and practices of wellbeing into leader development as a strategy for improving leadership, work culture and industry impact" – WWG CEO Renee Moorefield.

photo: Wisdom Works Group

"How we treat ourselves – and as leaders, those we lead – broadcasts to those around us. This is about integrating human wellbeing into the very ethos and about creating a thriving work environment and this is a positive force for attracting and retaining employees" – Study director, Kate McIver


Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 2

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd