Perhaps not in our lovely Paderborn office, yet all the same, this year we once again collectively think tanked. On April 15th, our 6th Think Tank: Leaders in Action was an entirely digital event. Undeterred, over 30 guests answered the call to draw inspiration from our three speakers.  

Hakan Housein, communications & marketing manager of evermood,  was the first to share his knowledge. He opened his talk by exemplifying how the pandemic has dramatically impacted employees’ health and well-being. The startling results of an employee survey revealed that 70 percent of participants assessed 2020 as the most stressful year ever in their professional career, while 85 percent admitted that their psychological difficulties infiltrated and disrupted their private lives. To actively protect employees’ health, Hakan accented the importance of competent leaders. And digital media can help. The evermood company has developed an app to facilitate employee access to persons and institutions providing support and counselling in these difficult times. Thoroughly anonymous and secure, accessible 24/7, the app can overcome co-workers’ hesitation to seek help.

Adapting to circumstances, this year provided special catering. Prior to the event, each guest received a digital gift certificate for the delivery service of their choice, creating a shared lunch break. During lunch, numerous digital rooms were open for casual conversation and contact among guests.

After lunch, Marcello Liscia provided the day’s second talk. Entitled, Leading to Health, he conveyed how leaders can apply Antonovsky’s Salutogenesic Health Model to promote and secure their employee’s well-being. The model instills employees with a Sense of Coherence based on three core factors.  Thus, leaders must go to lengths to render assignments comprehensible, credibly and clearly. They must supply the necessary resources to render the task manageable. And, finally, they must leave no doubt as to the task’s meaning. Drawing on practical examples, Marcello illustrated which aspects leaders often neglect, or even misconceive, to the point that co-workers haven’t a clue what is expected of them, become frustrated and no longer trust their employer.

The third and final talk was given by Denise Heinlein, horse trainer honored by Queen Elisabeth II, founder of Inter Equus und Equus Interaktion e.V.. Denise not only trains horses, she also aids war veterans, soldiers and first responders afflicted with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) to overcome their illness. Her impressive talk brought home how horses can contribute to soothing psychological suffering and to strengthening mental health – not only with PTSD sufferers. Working with horses benefits leaders and employees as the approach schools self-perception and inspires self-reflection. Horses mirror an interacting person’s behavior, revealing strengths and weaknesses without judgement or personal interest. A perfect way to promote leadership quality and an excellent contribution to this year’s Think Tank for Leaders in action.