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War on Organisational Wellbeing: The Hidden Battlefield in Times of Global Conflict

In an age where international conflicts like those in Ukraine and Gaza dominate headlines, we find humanity besieged on multiple fronts. Beyond the immediate and tragic human cost of these wars, there are ripples that spread far and wide, affecting people across the globe in less visible but equally profound ways. Economic turmoil and the cost-of-living crisis have become familiar refrains in our daily lives. 

Yet, there's another battle we're fighting – a war on mental health and organisational suffering. 

Global unrest invariably precipitates economic instability. The disruptions in trade, spikes in oil prices, and sanctions imposed on nations involved in conflicts lead to a cascade of financial hardships for people everywhere. The cost-of-living soars, impacting the livelihoods of millions and leading to a vicious cycle of stress and anxiety. 

The toll of these conflicts extends well beyond physical and financial impacts; they wage a silent war on mental health. The constant barrage of distressing news, the fear of uncertainty, and the struggles of daily survival in a strained economy can lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression among the populace. 

As a former head of a recruitment company, I've witnessed first-hand the costs associated with recruitment, especially when it comes to leadership positions. The impact on clients and staff when leadership is misaligned is immense. When an organisation loses a leader, it is not just the recruitment fees that sting. The real cost is often at least three times the leader's annual salary when you factor in the loss of productivity, the dip in staff morale, and the eventual onboarding of a successor. 

Organisational suffering can manifest in high turnover rates, decreased employee engagement, and a pervasive sense of instability within the workplace. Such an environment is antithetical to growth and innovation, critical components for any business aiming to navigate the challenging waters of the modern economy. 

'Henka', the Japanese concept that signifies change, reminds us that organisations are in a constant state of flux. Every moment brings new challenges and opportunities. It is within this context that leadership with a human touch becomes not just desirable, but essential. 

So that leads me to talk about Leaders who Lead with Heart – this isn't mere sentimentality.

It's about courage, derived from the Latin word for heart, 'cor.' Courageous leadership means making tough decisions with compassion, understanding the human element of business, and putting people first. Such leaders can cultivate resilience within their teams, foster a sense of purpose and belonging, and ultimately drive their organisations to thrive even in the most challenging times. 

In conclusion, as we navigate the treacherous waters of global conflict, both visible and invisible, it is imperative that we do not lose sight of the wars being waged in the minds of individuals and within the walls of organisations. Businesses must invest in leaders who lead with heart – those who are adept at steering their ships through both calm and stormy seas. Leaders who recognise that each decision resonates beyond the boardroom, affecting the well-being of their teams and the broader community. 

To win this war on organisational well-being, we must place a premium on mental health, foster environments that embrace change, and champion leadership that exudes empathy and courage. If we succeed, we not only enhance the resilience of our businesses, but also contribute to the healing of a world torn by conflict. 

The future of work depends on our ability to perceive these hidden battlefields and to respond with humanity at the helm. 


The Henka Institute emphasises sustainable performance cultures, offering services like LeaderGap™, which provides interim leaders who lead with compassion during times of organisational transformation, maternity/paternity leave, long-term sickness, or to fill roles temporarily while clients search for permanent replacements, offering seasoned leadership skills for defined periods.

Visit our website for more information on our LeaderGap™ Programme:

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