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research overview

Restful Leadership explores the intersection between fatigue, rest, leadership and liberation. The “great resignation" of 2021 has caused leaders, employers, and employees to reenvision their relationship with work, and search for ways of working that center rest and wellbeing.  Many of the responses and recommendations to combat tiredness, burn-out, and compassion fatigue, uplift self-care as a driver to wellness. There is a need for us to expand the prominent view that the response to work fatigue is primarily individual, and put greater responsibility on organizations to create workspaces, and workflows, that are trauma-informed, rest-filled, human-centered and sustainable.  This is especially important in racial justice work as workplaces are not void of racial and gendered dynamics and anti-racism driven leaders of color are often disproportionately tired.


The Restful Leadership qualitative research project examines the phenomena of fatigue and rest by capturing the lived experiences of leaders and workers.  It explores individuals' emotional, physical, mental, and racialized experiences; discovers what leaders and employees need;  and gathers some of the best practices leaders are using to build more liberatory, restful workplaces and schools.

Restful Leadership is rooted in frameworks of Critical Race Theory, Black feminist thought and Critical Post Traumatic Growth.  It deeply influenced by the work of Audre Lorde and bel hooks.  This work is also inspired by the Rest is Resistance framework of Tricia Hersey (founder of the @napministry), the rest research of Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, the facilitation and strategy of adrienne maree brown, and the poetry of Octavia Raheem.

research questions 


How tired are you?

This section of the project explores how tired leaders and workers are.  It delves deeper into different types of workplace fatigue and allows space for participants to share personal narratives about being tired.

How restful is your workplace?

This section is interested in capturing how restful and sustainable workplaces are.  It will explore how workplaces systemically address (or do not address) employees' physical, emotional, mental and racial fatigue.

How do you rest?

The question investigates the different ways leaders and workers find rest.  It unpacks how participants relax and reset at work, and from work.  Here, we hope to gather stories of rest and resistance.

How do you imagine a more restful workplace?

This final section asks participants to think deeply about the relationship between liberation, rest, and leadership.  It will capture creative and innovative ways of creating workplaces that are more rest-filled and sustainable.

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