How you last longer - leadership and sustainability

10 september 2014

Read my latest Mercury article. My top four advices to last longer:

1)      Provide good answers to the question "why". We search for meaning and an answer to the question "why".  Our brains constantly create images which we want to contextualize. We want an answer to the question "why". Nietzsche (1888) expressed it in this way:  "If we have our own why in life, we shall get along with almost any how."

Why do you go to work? Find your sense of purpose and develop a personal "why". Functioning in a context that is consistent with our values and wishes makes it easier for us to answer the question "why". And thus makes our own working life more sustainable.

 2)      Satisfy the needs for healthy social interactions. Human beings seek togetherness and mutual ties. We need to belong, to have people around us, who care about us and whom we care about. It can even be said that it is life-threatening to not have good relationships. Research has shown again and again that bad relationships lead to energy-draining conflicts and poor health. But what is needed for true attachments? Regular interaction, a feeling of stability and continuity, expressions of mutual support and care, and the absence of chronic conflicts all increase our feelings of belonging. Cultivate your relationships and live a more sustainable life.

 3)      Invest in development and knowledge. We want to be competent. To not be competent is very unpleasant. Just think about the feelings you associate with words like useless, loser, chosen last or incompetent trash. From our very first breath we have the need to actively acquire knowledge and skills. When work and the feedback from our surroundings send positive signals to us, our well-being is increased and our attitude to work is affected. A more sustainable working life is thus achieved.

 4)      Promote autonomy within the role. There is almost nothing that annoys people as much as micro-management. To be under pressure, controlled, governed, shut in. To lack autonomy is to obey only what your surroundings demand. By contrast, being allowed to be oneself and acting in accordance with one's own wishes is what gives one a feeling of being whole. This is what stimulates intrinsic motivation. And a sustainable life.