As leaders, we often focus on driving results and achieving success in the workplace. However, we may overlook an important aspect of our role: promoting the mental health and well-being of our team members. You have the power to influence the workplace culture and the well-being of their employees. Can you say it’s at the top of your agenda, and do you even (truly) think it should be?
Here are some strategies to work into your approach:
- Lead by example
Leaders can promote mental health by setting an example for their team members. This can involve prioritising self-care, taking breaks when needed, and demonstrating a positive attitude toward mental health. When leaders model healthy behaviours, it can encourage their team members to do the same.
- Create a supportive environment
Promote mental health by creating a supportive environment in the workplace. This can involve fostering a culture of open communication, creating a safe space for employees to discuss their mental health, and providing resources and support for mental health issues. When employees feel supported and valued, it can have a positive impact on their mental health.
- Encourage self-care
Encourage their team members to prioritise self-care by promoting healthy habits like exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep. They can also encourage employees to take breaks and use their vacation time to recharge and prevent burnout. When employees feel supported in taking care of themselves, it can improve their overall well-being and productivity.
- Provide resources and support
Provide resources and support for employees who may be struggling with mental health issues. This can include employee assistance programmes, mental health resources, and access to mental health professionals. By providing these resources, leaders can help their team members get the support they need to manage their mental health and well-being.
- Foster a culture of inclusivity
Promote mental health by fostering a culture of inclusivity in the workplace. This can involve promoting diversity and inclusion, creating a safe space for employees to be themselves, and addressing any issues related to discrimination or harassment. When employees feel accepted and valued for who they are, it can have a positive impact on their mental health.
- Reverse mentoring
Younger generations prioritise work-life balance and mental health as much as salary and job security. They seek out employers that support mental health and well-being and may leave if their needs aren’t met. This trend has led to a greater focus on mental health in the workplace, as companies recognise the importance of creating a supportive environment. So, talk to them! It’s important to learn from all employees, even junior staff.
Erin Hallett, a Director at Cambridge Judge Business School, lives with anxiety that can sometimes be debilitating. She also has a successful international career. After decades of struggling with her symptoms and trying to hide them, she finally decided to be open at work and share her story. “Leadership is about being authentic,” she says. “I wanted to show others that having anxiety doesn’t make you less successful or ambitious. In fact, I think anxiety makes me a better leader. It has taught me to be empathetic and has humbled me.
“The more leaders that speak out about their mental health, the more they empower others to bring their whole selves to work and to create healthy, positive organisations.”