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The Hidden Cost of Sleep-Deprived Leaders on Employee Mental Health


Recent research has cast a spotlight on a pressing issue within the hospitality industry: the significant impact of sleep deprivation on hospitality leaders and, subsequently, on their teams' mental well-being. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2021 underscores how sleep deprivation compromises leaders' ability to self-regulate, leading to more abrasive and negative behaviours. This, in turn, cultivates a work environment fraught with heightened stress and anxiety among staff.


The fallout from such leadership behaviour is manifold. Leaders running on too little sleep find it challenging to offer essential support, recognise the needs of their team, or cultivate a positive working atmosphere. This oversight can precipitate lower job satisfaction, an uptick in burnout rates, and a widespread sense of disconnection within the team—a scenario all too common in the high-pressure hospitality sector which still seems, in some circles, to commend displays of toxic resilience.


It's imperative for the hospitality industry to champion a culture of wellness that prioritises psychological health through good sleep hygiene for everyone, with leaders leading the charge. Leadership training programmes and coaching should place a strong emphasis on self-regulation and stress management techniques, equipping leaders to better manage the rigours of their roles without compromising on sleep as well as other aspects of their psychological well-being.


Recognising and addressing the consequences of sleep deprivation on leadership behaviour is a critical step towards safeguarding employee mental health and ensuring a more productive, harmonious workplace as a means to commercial gains.


Let's acknowledge the pivotal role of the sleep health of leaders. Sleep is one key factor in their general psychological health which is essential to fostering effective organisational wellbeing as well as performance within the hospitality sector.


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