In the realms of the footballing genius, Ronaldo is indisputably up there and in the realms of employer wellbeing he may well be the maestro and be able to teach us a thing or two.
After playing in the last five world cups, and scoring in every single one, Ronaldo has been fortunate that his career has lasted as long as it has. Injury blights the careers of so many wonderful players, just as the vagaries of employee wellbeing, especially around stress, anxiety, and bad backs can drive people out of careers that they felt were made for them.
Professor Richard Wiseman studied luck and in his book The Luck Factor (2003),
outlined what makes some people lucky and others unfortunate or unlucky. Wiseman identified that lucky people are initially observant so that they are able to see opportunities and challenges, they then act on these opportunities. What also makes people lucky is that they generally have a positive outlook on life and finally when things go wrong, they find a way to turn failures into doorways that open up new opportunities. So maybe Ronaldo’s luck with his health can give us all insights into how we can create better health for ourselves and better employee wellbeing for our teams.
Throughout his career, Ronaldo has made himself aware of what he needs to do to remain at peak fitness. Ronaldo has established processes and routines that integrated resting, diet, stretching, and what we might see as performance management. Even after winning the Champions League in 2008 the next day, he resumed his training routine because he wanted to retain his fitness for as long as possible. The first thing we need to do to create better employee wellbeing is to raise awareness of what we all need to do to be the best version of ourselves.
If we want to retain employee wellbeing for as long as possible, we need to recognise the value of preventative strategies. Perhaps the most important thing I say to the most successful C-suite leaders is often the most basic. When I tell people that we must see rest as the foundation for great performance instead of the response to a busy day, many find this way of thinking transformative. To get your teams to manage their health so that great employee wellbeing becomes the norm we need to model taking and valuing rest.
We may not all be professional athletes but one thing we share with Ronaldo is that our bodies are machines. To get optimum performance we need to put the right fuel in and even when we do we need to utilise that energy as effectively as possible. Put another way, eating junk food at your desk as quickly as you can or rushing to the loo between tasks is not the best way to operate and guarantees undermining employee wellbeing.
Over the last 30 years, there has been a shift from physical health to holistic health and that can also be seen on the pitch. Ronaldo demonstrates a focus on managing his mental as well as physical health that we could all learn from. He uses possible psychology, to minimise destructive language so he can stay positive, focused and minimise the effects of anxiety and depressive conditions in and away from the pitch. We can adopt this approach to help nurture our own and better employee wellbeing across all sectors of the workspace.
Even when his luck seemed to have run out when he had a car crash in 2009, he was able to pick himself up and use that as a vehicle to be more mindful of his health. He used that misfortune to orientate towards a much more disciplined and responsible approach to his fitness. We don’t need a bump in the road to motivate us, but surrounding ourselves with experts who can guide our teams to peak employee wellbeing can include accessing training around stress management, time management, and increasing effective internal and external communication. If we are able to access resilience training, we will all have the ability to pick ourselves up when we are faced with the challenges that affect all our working lives. Resilience training equips teams to have the best employee wellbeing and means that when we fall, we bounce, instead of needing the vinegar and brown paper, or even fall upwards so that we all come out of challenges the better for it.
No man is an island and with the sudden departure of Ronaldo from Manchester United that has been demonstrated. We need a team to excel and to build employee wellbeing we need to build a culture of excellence around health and self-care. One person who excels at employee wellbeing is not the solution, to maximise the potential in our teams, we need to create behaviours that are normalised, valued, and sustainable.
As you move forwards in creating a holistic employee wellbeing culture, you will find that each team member benefits, as do the team but so do the wider community so enjoy knowing if Ronaldo can have a long successful career, we can do the same for our teams by prioritising employee wellbeing across our entire community.