Leaders Should Care About Mental Health (Including Their Own) — Corwin Harper
In order to run a successful organization, a leader must understand their employees, the people who help them function it. A leader must have the mental stability to handle the company’s internal and external aspects. “Nothing prepares a leader for how to respond when a team member quietly talks about being swept away in a wave of depression.” I recently read an article published by THNK, Leaders Should Care About Mental (Including Their Own) by Natasha Bonnevalle, which talks about the importance of mental health coming from a leader and how it can influence a team’s spirit.
“Mental health issues are happening at every socioeconomic and professional level, from low wage workers to CEOs.
But when it comes to talking about burn-out, depression, or anxiety, we are hesitant to broach the topic with our friends, let alone with those in charge of our careers.”
There has been a stigma surrounding the topic of mental health because people are unaware of how it can affect one’s productivity and others as well. Having poor mental health usually comes from stress, overthinking, worried about job security, low job satisfaction, etc. Because of the stigma, it has made people not being able to openly talk about their issues, leading it to root within one’s mind and affect work productivity.
“Leaders play a big role in creating the type of environment that promotes mental and emotional well-being and in making it safe to discuss this topic in the work place.”
As a leader, it is their responsibility to make sure that the team is functionally healthy and cooperation takes place in order for work to be efficient. Below are the steps a leader can take to make sure everyone in the organization is mentally well.
- TRULY CARE ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYEES
“Leaders need to spend time with their people — having regular one-on-one meetings where it’s not only about work, but about employees’ families and what is keeping them up at night. Spending time together at a personal level makes it easier to talk about potential stressors or broader mental health concerns.”
When leaders have individual meetings with employees, they have to create a safe and non-jugemental environment for them to be able to share what is on their mind. By offering advice and addressing concerns, it gives employees the feeling that work does not have to take over their lives.
- OPEN UP AND SHARE YOUR STORIES OF STRUGGLE
“In the minds of many, mental health issues are associated with weakness, and the stigma of being labeled “mentally ill” is often as big a burden as the condition itself. Great leaders who want to reduce the stigma can set the culture by sharing their own stories of struggles.”
The stigma surrounding mental health makes it hard for people to voice out their struggles and difficult to find people who can relate. A leader that shows vulnerability among their employees, is a leader who cares. And a leader who can make a change that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.
- MODEL CONFIDENCE AND SELF-CARE
“Leaders need to ensure that the employee feels welcomed back in an emotionally safe environment, where it is okay for them to share their mental health experience and to ask for the kind of support they need from their colleagues. Leaders should give their team member the assurance that their career has not ended as a result of their illness.”
A leader is not only an individual that leads but also a role model to employees. Showing vulnerability and compassion is a way of how a leader can humanize themselves. To do that, leaders should emphasis the importance of self-care and how huge the impact is when you take care of yourself.
“As much as we would like to believe it, our psychological and emotional health is not a given, and many of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lifetime.” A leader will understand how fragile the mind is and when they break down the barriers to openly discuss about mental health, it creates a bond with employees and increases the positivity within the organization.
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Corwin Harper - Champion, Strategist & Steward for Humanity
Champion, Strategist & Steward for Humanity - Corwin Harper
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