Applying the 8 dimensions of mental wellness to your leadership style

The Chicago Bulls’ director of performance and mental health gets personal about her leadership journey.

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When leaders talk about mental health and wellness, they seldom turn the lens inward. While the mental health of employees is something that has become a more prominent concern, rare is the leader willing to open up about their own journey, their personal learnings, and talk about how taking the reins of managing their mental wellbeing has made them a stronger leader.

This fact made the stories shared by Dr. Wendy Borlabi, director of performance and mental health at The Chicago Bulls, even more revelatory. Borlabi delivered the closing day keynote during Ragan’s 2023 Employee Communications and Culture Conference at Chicago’s Intercontinental Hotel.

“Leadership is developing- developing people where they’re at,” Borlabi told the room.  “It’s dynamic. In order for that to move forward, you as a leader need to know where you are. Where your values are.”

As an example, Dr. Borlabi shared some context around the work she does with Chicago Bulls players to communicate her values. Dr. Borlabi works with them holistically, asking each player for a mental commitment to progress that they must be bought into if she’s going to keep working with them. Upholding her end of the bargain, she’s with them at all home games and 60% of away games, mainly working with them in the form of 5-minute conversations.

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