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Self-care for leaders

Brain circuits

Are you ignoring critical self-care?

Published 16 November 2021 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

The pandemic has shaken the foundations of businesses across the globe. As it goes on, we all remain in some level of crisis mode. It is not surprising, it is taking a toll on people. As a leader, it is critical that you make sure you are taking care of yourself and managing your own stress. You cannot lead teams and make good decisions if you don’t do that first. Remember the instructions you are given on an airplane in the event of loss of cabin pressure: you must put your own oxygen mask on first before taking care of your dependents. It’s the same in the workplace.

When a crisis happens, the already thin line between personal and professional life disappears. In the current environment where we all went home and many of us haven’t returned to the office, there is no longer any separation. So it is imperative to make sure you are doing the basics to keep yourself well.

Eat well: if you don’t eat well, you will get sick and then you can’t get much else done. We also feel better when we eat quality food with quality ingredients. It’s even better if you can share a meal with people you care about because it replenishes your soul as well.

Sleep well: If you don’t sleep well your capacity for dealing with a crisis is impaired. Make sure you are getting proper rest, as decisions and stressful incidents are easier to deal with when you have a level head.

Move your body: If you don’t move yourself, you will be a terrible leader helping others to move.

Managing yourself and your family does not mean you are neglecting your professional life. On the contrary, you can’t be a strong leader in business if you haven’t taken care of wellbeing at home.



Sameh Abadir

Professor of Leadership and Negotiation at IMD

Sameh Abadir is Professor of Leadership and Negotiation at IMD. He advises companies on negotiations and runs negotiation workshops in English, French and Arabic. He has recently directed custom programs for Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Jerónimo Martins, ArcelorMittal, and Merck, and he is Director of IMD’s Crisis Management online program. He was Co-Director of IMD’s signature program Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) and Co-Director of IMD’s Negotiating for Value Creation (NVC) open programs.


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