5 minutes with Cary Cooper

Written by
Emily Sexton-Brown

19 Apr 2016

19 Apr 2016 • by Emily Sexton-Brown

Is enough being done to emphasise the importance of wellbeing at work?

Many business leaders will talk a good game of supporting a wellbeing culture but rarely action or enable it. It’s seen by many as a ‘nice to have’ not a ‘must have’.

How can leaders address presenteeism?

Evidence shows that presenteeism costs double what absenteeism costs in terms of lost productive value and lack of mental wellbeing. It’s more harmful than absenteeism, because it’s a hidden ‘culture iceberg’ it’s difficult to identify but can do enormous damage to the productivity of your business and the health of employees. People showing ‘face time’ but not delivering to the bottom line or engaging with their team can seriously undermine the performance the overall business.

What does it take to be an influential leader?

Someone with credibility, humour, social skills, who can read people psychologically. 
More importantly, someone who lets others be part of the decision-making process. As Lao Tzu wrote: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When the work is done, his aim is fulfilled, people will say ‘we did it ourselves’.”

How can managers read their workforce more accurately?

‘Walk the talk’ and spend time on the shop floor. You will not get the truth or deeper understanding of what drives people through an employee engagement scale.


Work-life balance: lead by example

1. Don’t work long hours consistently in a central workplace, because you will model the behaviours others will follow.

2. Make personal plans every week to spend time with your family – put it in your diary, which will force you to finish your work; and encourage others to do the same.

3. Tell people at work why you’re leaving – to change a culture you need to be honest with co-workers about the importance of family and outside life.