Leadership for World Mental Health Day
12 October 2017
This Tuesday marked World Mental Health Day; an awareness day that is of increasing importance in the workplace. My team have been discussing the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and the fear that individuals may face should they need to confide in a co-worker or manager. The important thing that I would like to stress is that we all have mental health – it’s about how we take care of ourselves and learn to cope with any potential issues.
And that very much stems from the top. A sign of good leadership is a manager or director who recognises and understands the needs of their staff. It’s also key to deliver any adjustments or changes that an employee in need may require.
As a good leader, there are certain things that you should be looking out for within your group of employees. Whether you manage a team of 10 or 100, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring a pleasant working life trickles down from the top. A leader will set the standard and a healthy example.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much do I know about my employees’ workload?
- Are they ‘burning out’ to try and reach targets?
- Does everyone get a proper lunch break?
- Do my employees have the correct resources to do their job safely and efficiently?
- How many people are staying late at night? Does this happen frequently?
If you are not sure about the answers to these, it might be time to address these points in a manner that ensures everyone feels safe and valued at their workplace.
Our work lives are tied up in our mental health. After all, we spend most of our waking week surrounded by colleagues, dealing with emails or trying to secure deals. All of this can, at times, prove to be stressful. It can impact upon our personal lives – either because we are too tired to take part in family life or because we spend several extra hours at our desks.
Yes, we all have targets and deadlines to meet, but these cannot come at the expense of your staff. Even the thought of a work phone ringing at night can be a trigger for those dealing with anxiety disorders.
From a legal perspective, the Equality Act (2010) states that an employer should make reasonable adjustments for people with both mental and physical disabilities to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities and a respectful place of work.
Every mental health issue affects people differently and, for that reason, each employee will have different needs. What works for some won’t work for others. The important thing is to listen to your staff and adjust accordingly.
World Mental Health Day is something that has definitely got us all thinking about how we look after ourselves and our colleagues. More importantly, it’s got us talking about what mental health means to us.
If you would like to speak to me about leading a team with respect, I’d be happy to have a conversation with you. Click here to see my details and get in touch.
Written By Barry Lee