Experts say the uniquely American professional traits of near-total self-sacrifice and “working yourself to death” in order to excel at work is over. People are increasingly recognizing the importance of mental and physical well-being and healthy boundaries in the workplace. And that may have some leadership sweating.

There’s no one right answer, but there are plenty of wrong ones, according to a recent article by Niki Hall in Fast Company. Inflexibility is wrong. Leadership without empathy is wrong. Unrealistic expectations of your team members’ self-sacrifice is wrong. Refusal to acknowledge that people have different needs is wrong.

But what’s right? How can leadership support employees in healthier ways? How can leadership sort out what people truly value and need, to help bridge the work–life balance gaps that we’ve all come to realize weren’t healthy? How can we address the unspoken expectation of being a workaholic that people feel?

Here are some tenets of leadership that Hall says work wonders:

Forget the iron fist. Ruling with an iron fist has never worked. It makes for miserable employees and frustrated management. Empathy goes a long way in connecting with your team, understanding them on a more intimate level, and leading in a way that puts people first.

Focus on team health. It’s time for leaders to rethink their expectations. The pursuit of being the best isn’t in and of itself bad, but if getting there means putting unrealistic pressure on your teams to perform at whatever cost, it is. All-hands meetings at 3 a.m. on a Sunday (or any day) or forcing people to work through the night to meet a deadline aren’t hallmarks of passion or dedication. They aren’t badges of honor. They are reflections of flawed leadership. Instead, leaders need to shift their thinking, adjust their expectations when necessary, and lead in a way that makes success achievable without sacrificing the workforce.

Take a back seat when needed. Guidance with clear direction is the best way to empower your team to make their time at work as valuable as possible and allow them the space to take ownership of decisions at work. A level of trust and autonomy will have them satisfied in the work structure that best suits them, all the while allowing the space to recharge when needed. As leaders, we need to focus less on hours worked and more on quality of work and whether objectives have been met.

Accept that life happens. Life is full of curveballs, and if the pandemic taught us anything, leaders need to realize that employees are humans first, with different needs, pressures, aspirations and priorities. And things can change in a heartbeat. Supporting team members through these changes benefits the company overall, but more importantly, it provides a work environment that makes people a priority as human beings, not productivity machines.

Lead by example. Most importantly, leaders need to lead by example to create a work environment that has healthy boundaries, space and time to recharge, and open communication when tough topics need to be addressed. Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to take a vacation and truly disconnect and recharge, or be open (and unapologetic) about prioritizing home events as much as work events. Everyone has a life outside of the office, and that should be embraced and celebrated. Leading by example brings teams closer together and aids collaboration, understanding and honesty.