Something is healthy when it is in an optimal state of well-being. We strive for healthy relationships, a healthy diet, a healthy body, a healthy mind, healthy emotions, healthy perspectives, healthy conversation, healthy awareness, and healthy finances. With all this focus on healthy everything, we asked, “What about healthy leadership?” There are far too many examples of destructive, unhealthy leadership. Yet in today’s world of work, if you want to be competitive, understanding and applying the principles and practices of healthy leadership is key.

Healthy leadership focuses on the health and growth of all parties: the leader, the team, and the business.

If the team thrives, so does the business and everyone it serves. In other words, healthy leadership drives healthy growth for all stakeholders. Cultivating healthy leadership is not automatic. It doesn’t just happen on its own. It is a choice. If you choose to apply the actionable strategies and tools we share in the pages ahead, you will predictably reap rewards that include:

• A purpose-driven organization and team members;

• A culture that is safe and innovative and makes team members want to stay;

• Intellectually and emotionally engaged teams;

• Team members working in their gifted areas who flourish;

• Excellent execution that drives healthy results.

Healthy leadership matters because unusually high-performing teams are the ultimate advantage for any organization—a business, a nonprofit, a sports team, or a family for that matter. In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, good results just aren’t good enough. Innovative or unique products or services might get you into the game, but only your team can create a “wall” that is too high and difficult for your competitors to climb. To win, you need to produce extraordinary results, which only come from extraordinary teams. And where there is an extraordinary team, you can bet there is a healthy leader. That’s why leadership—specifically, your leadership—matters.

Research bears this out. In fact, according to one study, up to 70 percent of variance in an organization’s performance is attributable to leadership behavior. Nothing has a bigger impact on organizational success than leadership—not culture, strategy, processes, or incentive systems. The single most important factor influencing the growth of your company is how you lead.

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Healthy Leadership Book