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The Importance of Focusing on Black Health and Wellness for 21st Century Leaders

Black Health and Wellness is the focus of Black History Month in 2022. When most think about health and wellness, the focus is on traditional western medical approaches. But, Black health and wellness has a long and varied history practiced throughout the African diaspora, and it focuses on culture and community. As a platform, that theme makes perfect sense for business leaders to champion.

In the midst of this seemingly never-ending pandemic, burn-out is real for everyone, but trauma is what women of color – and particularly Black women – are dealing with in the workplace. Health care plans in employee benefits packages are wonderful tools to promote wellness. Our PowHERRedefined research revealed that employer mental health support is critical. In fact, 7 out of 10 women who participated agreed the addition of easy access to counseling, mental health, and well-being resources is a must.  What else can you do to promote health and wellness as a cultural staple for the Black community at your company? Here are a few actions you can take.

Promote your people! 

According to Harvard Business Review, advancing Black talent in your organization to positions of senior leadership and board positions and compensating appropriately provides a diverse boost to the culture and thought leadership within your company. It also positively impacts the mental well-being of the communities they represent. Today, many Black people are the first in families to hold higher titles and pay compared to their parents and grandparents, creating a larger burden of responsibility. Advancement brings new pay scales producing a level of financial security that not only provides more representation but alleviates additional stress that comes with the financial struggles.

The representation conversation is not new to corporate America, and the last couple of years is finally showing some change. Twenty-five percent more Black people were added as corporate board members in 2021 than in 2020 and fifty percent more than in 2019. This is a nice movement. The lower numbers at the board director level prove there’s still room for plenty more advancement in leadership roles.

However, just placing people in leadership positions without advancing their acumen is not enough. In order to affect positive change in your organizational culture, leaders must show empathy, and other critical soft skills are also needed.  PrismWork knows that culture is your competitive advantage and offers solutions that address the unique challenges that build tension and silos that teardown teams with conscious or unconscious hostile human behavior and action.

Remove hostility from the workplace by up-leveling the men in your company’s leadership roles. 

It is a fact that conscious or unconscious challenges are going to occur especially when dealing with clients, projects, and teams.  This makes it imperative to prepare leaders with ways to engage and empower their teams by shifting the way they approach those challenges and changing their overall philosophy regarding leadership.  Since the days of Henry Ford, managers were promoted without the needed soft skills to impact teams more effectively. This is why we’ve prepared the next 21st-Century Leadership Lab for Men, where senior executive leaders are given the ability to explore real effective solutions and how to navigate systematic thinking for the betterment of everyone within the path of their leadership reach. Our next cohort begins in March and we’re making a Friends and Family offer available to you and your fellow executive men when you register before February, 18th.

Our proprietary self-assessment tool the HEARTI:Quotient delivers an appraisal of your 21st-century leadership acumen. It’s a customized scorecard paired with a report of strategic insights outlining how you show up as a HEARTI leader.  Additionally, implementing our team dynamics workshop, The HEARTI:Leader Assessment integrates these key performance indicators across your team, gaining a true understanding of your team’s strengths and weaknesses through the lens of the 21st-century leadership mindset.

Further recognize the contributions of Black people in your company, around the world, and throughout history beyond the 28 days of February

Celebrating the culture of my people is tremendously healing.

Historically, we found ways to create and curate the most beautiful and inspiring expressions of the human experience while in the midst of slavery, reconstruction, The Great Depression, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, the latest crises of police brutality, and hostile workplaces. The resiliency and transparency of our culture, art, and creativity excel in the most diverse disciplines like music, dance, multimedia, sports, literature, and business. Imagine how brilliant and expressive those cultural contributions are impacted when companies empower their staff to think differently and enact ways to remove the hostility and embrace the true freedom to show up and belong within their workplaces.

Corey Jones

Corey Jones is co-founder and partner of Prismwork, a Consultants Collective member firm. Corey’s 20+ career in advertising, marketing, and storytelling has created meaningful opportunities of engagement and change for companies as they interact with their employees and customers. His insights give leaders the tools to connect cultural relevance to the decisions their brands make today with a vision of impact on tomorrow.

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