“Whenever you can better someone’s life, you should.”
This simple statement couldn’t be more true. Chris Schroeder, a test leader at Barry-Wehmiller’s Paper Converting Machine Company (PCMC), said this recently, and he believes it wholeheartedly. It’s something that all leaders should believe—and put into action every chance we get.
Most leaders understand their influence on team members’ lives during work hours, but often enough, they don’t think about how their leadership affects team members outside of the workplace as well.
The way you lead impacts the way people live.
And, that extends to the health and wellbeing of those within your span of care. I’ve written about workplace stress before and the links between stress and health. Stress often leads to or exacerbates health issues, and what’s one of the leading causes of stress? Work!
As leaders—as Truly Human Leaders—we need to do good while doing less harm. We should provide resources to help facilitate healthier living, while creating caring environments where team members have opportunities to become their best selves.
Chris’ story is a good example. When he decided at age 50 that it was time to change his sedentary lifestyle, lose weight, and address his high cholesterol and elevated blood sugar, he had plenty of help.
“With the support of my wife, my coworkers and Right Weigh, I was able to change my life,” said Chris. “I walked by the Right Weigh poster at work every day for a long time. I’m glad I finally called.”
Right Weigh is just one aspect of our wellbeing programs at Barry-Wehmiller. With guidance from a personal registered dietitian, team members and their spouses learn how to make healthy lifestyle changes over a 12-week period—at no cost to them.
For us, having a multifaceted wellbeing program is about empowering team members, and meeting them where they are, with the help they need, when they need it. It’s about removing as many barriers as possible, so our people can become their best selves, and in turn, share their gifts with others, at work, and beyond.
Chris, at his father’s 80th birthday party the day before he started the Right Weigh program.
“Since I lost 50 pounds with Right Weigh, I’ve lowered my cholesterol and boosted my confidence,” said Chris. “I used to run short distances when I was younger, but now I couldn’t even say how many long-distance running events I’ve competed in—marathons, half Ironman races and more. I’ve learned to never tell yourself you can’t do it. You can do it!”
Chris’ confidence to push himself from running four miles or fewer to swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and then running 13.1 miles for a half Ironman race has benefits beyond his own health and personal achievement. He thinks his coworkers can see a difference in him, for starters.
He’s inspiring his family, too, including his four young grandkids, who are already looking forward to the day they can run a 10K with Papa.
Plus, he strives to help others compete through myTEAM TRIUMPH, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for those with disabilities to participate in endurance events with assistance from a team and specialized racing equipment.
Talk about bettering lives!
Chris consistently puts this into practice. PCMC and Barry-Wehmiller have been there for him, helping him become his best self.
Are you using your leadership to better people’s lives?