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Leaders’ Well-Being as an Organizational Imperative

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This article combines my audio commentary published on January 31, 2023, and additional detail.

The fallout from the pandemic continues as organizations struggle to build back better.

According to research from management consulting firms, our workplaces are broken, and leaders are squarely accountable for employee well-being or not being well—namely, burnout.

Gallup stated that the real fix is this simple: better leaders in the workplace.

So, if leaders are the problem, what are we doing to help them?

I argue very little, given the departure of leaders from the workplace, particularly women leaders.

The Women in the Workplace Report 2022 from LeanIn Org and McKinsey & Company1 state that women leaders are leaving their companies at the highest rate in years. ​

  • 43% of women leaders are burned out, compared to only 31% of men at their level. ​
  • 29% have considered downshifting their career or leaving the workforce. ​

Additionally, Deloitte Canada’s study2 uncovered more than 80% of senior leaders report a level of exhaustion typical of burnout risk.

The fix is to help our leaders.

It’s more than better leaders. It’s conscious leaders. That’s the focus of my business, and I believe conscious leadership is emerging as a powerful solution.

Conscious Leadership

So, what is conscious leadership?

It’s not another leadership style. It’s a way of being.

Conscious leadership prioritizes self-awareness, mindfulness, and values-based decision-making. It involves being fully present and leading with intention and purpose. Conscious leaders value empathy, compassion, communication, and the well-being of others.

Lead within first

My focus is on helping leaders understand themselves first. I call it “lead within first.” Essentially, put on the oxygen mask to be of service to others. It is not servant leadership. It is not selfish or egocentric “me.” It is self-care. And critical to self-care is to know thyself.

I invite you to think of self-awareness this way:

As you process information from your environment, it comes through your senses, and you delete, distort, and generalize this information through your internal filters. These filters are unique to each of us, such as language, beliefs, values, and memories, to name a few. All of this processing affects the output—how you respond. This internal process happens within seconds and, when done consciously, allows you to be present.

Understanding your filters, thought processes, and mindset strategy—which may include triggers and blind spots—and knowing how to manage your response are vital to being a conscious leader.

Through consistent inner work, this form of self-awareness and state management benefits your overall health, including reduced stress and better sleep. It is self-care, without guilt or shame.

Leaders’ well-being as an organizational imperative

A healthy and engaged leader has a ripple effect that naturally influences positive dynamics with others. Conscious leaders strive to create a culture of transparency, authenticity, and inclusivity and work to foster a sense of purpose and meaning within their organizations.

We must prioritize our leaders’ well-being and provide the necessary support to fix our broken workplaces.

As research calls for well-being to be a new workplace imperative, with measures added to executive dashboards, conscious leadership is needed now more than ever.

And the return is measurable in the form of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as engagement, trust (if measured), retention, reduced absenteeism, and attrition—at the leadership table.

Yes. When we think about KPIs, most think about employees or team members, not leaders.

You may be familiar with the “magic formula” in business:

An engaged workforce + happy customers = exceptional business results.

Leaders are assumed to be part of the equation when in fact, they shoulder its weight.

I would modify the formula as a new model:

Conscious leaders nurture harmonious work cultures where inspired teams deliver exceptional business results. And at the core is well-being—and healthy leaders.





Naomi N. Ali is the CEO of NNALI Consulting, Conscious Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, and Nationally Syndicated Columnist on The Price of Business Network. NNALI’s mission is to champion conscious Leadership where mindset and well-being thrive for the greater good. Visit  to learn more.


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