Everyone seems to be talking about Health-oriented Leadership (HoL) right now. As leaders, we need to take responsibility for our health. Plus, we’re only authentic, if we take breaks ourselves instead of just advising our employees to do so. How are we supposed to lead, if we run out of energy? Exactly, we can’t. That’s why working on yourself and your self-management is fundamental. Only that way you can ensure to be the role model you’re supposed to be.


How does Health-oriented Leadership work? 

You probably guessed it: everything starts with your own behavior as a leader. If you take care of your health and wellbeing, your actions and attitude directly influence your employees. This is what health-oriented or health-promoting leadership is all about. The concept behind it is based on four components:


  • Health awareness

The more attention you as a leader pay to self-care and the more you actually take care of yourself and your health, the more attentive you’ll be towards the health situation of your employees (staffcare). Plus, the more you as a leader live self-care, the more your team will take care of their own health by taking breaks, etc.


  • Value of health

This is all about your attitude towards health and the value it holds for you: If you as a leader value your health as one of life’s most precious goods, you’ll be much more likely to invest time in it. Only if you understand that your health is vital, you’ll be ready to adjust your behavior in order to maintain it. At the same time, showing this “vulnerability” will build trust with your employees.


  • Health behavior

Are you aware which measures help you stay as healthy as possible? Take time to figure out what’s best for you—then make sure you actually do these things! As a leader, take care of your own health first, then empower your employees to do the same for themselves.


  • Role modeling

As a leader, you’re always being observed, whether you’re aware of it or not. And you’re always a role model for others. Show your employees that you consistently make time for self-care and that you value your own, and also their, health. This sends the clear message that they can and should make their own health a priority, too.


What does that mean?

The following statements illustrate how your behavior (positively) influences both your own health as a leader and the health of your employees:

Gesundheitsorientierte Führung Tabelle

See “Fehlzeiten-Report 2011” by Badura, Ducki, Schröder, Klose, Macco (German only)


The bottom line is: health-oriented leadership is a) about a leader’s and their employees’ self-care, b) about the interactions between the two parties and c) about factors like promoting health by optimizing everyone’s work places.


Because I am worth it. Because you are worth it.

Recognizing health als our most valuable good clearly shows one thing: appreciation. Appreciation of one’s own body and mind, but also appreciation of your employees. And we all know that feeling appreciated demonstrably boosts motivation and team satisfaction. It basically creates a win-win-win situation for everyone (leaders, employees and the company).


Which of the four components are already part of your leadership style? Where could you still improve?