checklist of healthy leadership rituals

Leaders, Stay Resilient


Three of the top four articles from this past Monday’s Wall Street Journal Life & Arts section capture it:

  • “How Managers Can Rally the Troops: Work can feel tough, but the right gestures from the boss can give employees the boost they need.”
  • “Thinking of Quitting Your Job? Here’s What Working Mothers Should Know: The pandemic is forcing some working mothers to consider quitting their jobs as the burden of childcare duties still falls largely on women.”
  • “What CEOs Say About Employee Burnout and Work-Life Balance: Chief executives are concerned that employees are burning out while working remotely.”

Covid-19 continues its relentless wear and tear on leaders. Regardless of our success stories in adapting, here at eight months in, daily personal resilience continues to be a challenge.

I’m saying it a lot these days, whether in my book’s sub-title, or in our leadership podcast: “Leaders can’t afford to be on autopilot when it comes to taking care of themselves.”

So my prompt for you this morning is to pause and “re-examine your rituals.” Turn off autopilot and take inventory of your daily routines and habits. Which ones continue to support you? Which ones need to go away? What needs to be added?

As usual, I’ll break these prompts down for each of your four dimensions …


  • Cold weather is coming for most of us, impacting outdoor exercise routines. What do you need to change in terms of clothing or equipment? What do you need for indoors? Is it time to consider a virtual trainer or workout videos?
  • Eating too much of the same foods? Consider a shake-up in the kitchen – when you eat, what you eat, who does the cooking.
  • Drinking a bit too much? Every night? Pour one glass and put the bottle back in the fridge until tomorrow.
  • Is your home office still uncomfortably “temporary?” What adjustments do you need to make now that it’s “semi-permanent?”


  • Do a complete review of your reading habits, which influence a lot of how you think and what you think about. Industry news, general news, pleasure reading, inspirational reading – what do you need more / less  / the same?
  • Do an honest appraisal of your social media / internet habits. 
  • What are you actually learning about that is new these days?


  • How well are you processing emotions of fear, anger, sadness, inadequacy? Conversation or journaling is healthier than stuffing or trying to ignore. 
  • How about putting one “fun thing” on your daily to-do list (that doesn’t involve alcohol!)?
  • Music inevitably stimulates emotion. What place does it have in your daily routine?

SPIRITUAL (Identity, Purpose, Beliefs and Values)

  • Instead of robotically responding to political discussions, pause and consider your deeply-held beliefs and values that drive your views. Be articulate, not just emotional, over what is going on in our country right now. Then get genuinely curious about someone else’s beliefs and values.
  • Re-evaluate who you want/need to be right now as a leader. If someone who considers you their leader was talking about your leadership in this season, what would you want to hear?
  • Development of your spiritual dimension is like your physical workouts – the more intense and regular, the stronger it becomes. After you’ve reviewed your daily “to-do” list, pause and think about your daily “to-be” list.

Hopefully the list above provides a beginning brainstorm for you. What do you need to stop, start or continue in your personal rituals so you  can intentionally “lead like you were meant to”? My book has plenty more exercises – in the book and online – to stimulate your planning. Check it out.

And I’d love to hear some of your ideas. Write me!

My original WFH list, written eight months ago, is still relevant. Check it out here.

One last note. Am I the last one to hear about the movie “A Most Beautiful Thing!?” Put this in your queue and be inspired by some incredible individuals who changed their rituals, their lives, and the lives of those around them.