The Self-Caring Leader

Leadership Advice from Suprena Hickman
W2w Suprena

Suprena Hickman

How do you recognize a self-caring leader?

Well, it’s certainly not in the quality of their clothing, jewelry, or their display of cosmetics. You can’t tell by their confident stance, how fit they appear, or how well they articulate their words.

However, you can recognize a self-caring leader by the culture of their environment and their followers. Their environment is healthy, and their followers are thriving.

Have you ever experienced amazing service in a company from the time you entered the door to the receipt of the actual product or service? How did it make you feel? How was your product or service? Would you want to return or give a referral without being prompted because of your positive experience? Well, this is considered a healthy environment, and chances are that the leadership team is also healthy and self-caring.

On the flip side, have you ever been in a work environment where the staff was unhappy and fearful of their boss, customer service was awful, and they lacked enthusiasm? How was the product or overall service you received? It likely was not the best either. Toxic environments like this exist because the leadership is nonexistent or is subpar. This may also be likely due to the presence of a leader who has experienced burnout.

It is also not uncommon for the staff and leadership team to feel they are operating properly and giving the best customer service. If customers complain about their product or services to them, then they would likely not take it seriously. Therefore, no consequences may occur as a result. This is a lack of self-care problem, but it is not a dead situation.

When you’re intentional about taking care of yourself, then you will naturally take care of those around you with ease. The likelihood of experiencing burnout would be greatly decreased and/or prevented.

Here are three things you need to know about a self-caring leader: A self-caring leader understands the importance of filling up their cup first so they can give from the overflow. A self-caring leader also understands that their actions and inactions will directly affect those around them. Lastly, a self-caring leader understands the importance of caring for the whole person and how that brings a more dedicated follower who will also mimic their leadership style.

Taking care of the whole person involves mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual care. This doesn’t mean to coddle your employees and followers, but you would simply care and show love.

If you desire change around you, then you must demand change within you first. However, an ineffective and toxic leader would not understand or be able to recognize their behaviors enough to desire a change.

One must first be aware of their current behaviors and culture of their environment. Awareness requires you to take a good look in the mirror and acknowledge of that which you see. It requires you to receive feedback from a customer, mentor, or boss and do self-evaluations to bring forth positive improvements.

It’s no doubt a huge responsibility to lead others effectively. It goes far beyond leadership titles.

The key to burnout prevention is really increasing sacred self-care, which involves filling up your cup first.

When you do this, then you can afford to give from your overflow freely and with ease. You will also naturally share this with your team and followers. So, let’s look into what filling up your cup first and giving from the overflow looks like.

This means that you intentionally make time for you first.

You’re mindful of your body and surroundings daily. You consistently invest in yourself by improving your mindset and your skill set. You make time to slow down and enjoy the moments while making smarter and more intentional movements.

You also practice true forgiveness by releasing any resentment, bitterness, and anger. Some of the worst leaders are actually leading with bitterness, anger, and jealousy, and are frustrated beyond measure.

They lack the knowledge and understanding of how to release those hurts.

It’s like being constipated and refusing to get relief. It is quite toxic to continuously operate this way. It also makes you move slower and makes your workload heavier than ever. Your performance also becomes ineffective, or you fail to reach your full potential. However, you can’t make changes to something of which you’re unaware. Mindfulness is also key.

Here is a self-caring leadership challenge for you:

  1. Take a moment and sit in a quiet place alone and uninterrupted with a journal. Do an assessment of your life starting with your physical health, mental health, spiritual health, and emotional health. Then, do an assessment of your work life. Note what your vision of a healthier you or a healthier work environment looks like, then make note of the current status. Seek mentorship and coaching in and outside of your workspace to help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you desire to be.
  2. Write out a plan to include SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, & Time-Oriented) goals weekly and get an accountability partner to help you be successful.
  3. Next, make sure to take massive action with all goals desired. Implement those action steps required to achieve the level of success desired.
  4. Lastly, make certain to frequently evaluate your movements for effectiveness.

Just know that as a leader, you will naturally attract like-minded people when you make positive changes. You will also decrease the incidence of or eliminate burnout with consistent use of these tips and strategies.

Suprena Hickman, nurse entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author, and coach, is the owner of Wilmington-based Suprena Hickman Enterprises LLC, a personal development and wellness brand. She is also the owner and administrator for Wilmington’s latest vocational school, called Sankofa Training & Wellness Institute LLC.

Want more WILMA? Click here to sign up for our WILMA newsletters and announcements.

Categories: Women to Watch