Why bother with Good Mental Health as a Leader?:
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, Companies, Governments and Organisations world-wide have driven their employees as far, and as hard, as they could, to gain maximum performance for as little cost as legally allowed and often unreasonably possible.
By putting company profits as the focus, the sacrifice can often be at the expense of its people. Their health and mental wellness often is an annoying by-product of trending shifts in society values, and in many cases the cost of sick leave, lack of productivity and low morale caused from poor organisational culture is merely “poppy-cock”. An intangible complication for the weak or sensitive individuals.
But the world is shifting. Slowly a change is happening. The movement grows as the buzz word of “Mental Health Crisis” increases. This is only further highlighted due to the CoVid ravaged business world, that has been shaken to the very core. Or has CoVid restrictions on our workplace, merely highlighted an already systemic problem with the way Companies and Organisations all over the world have ignored the health and wellbeing of it’s team?
If we are in a leadership position, our greatest show of strength lies within our ability to lead by demonstration. Gone are the days of “Do as I say, Not as I do” type of management. Employees and staff are savvy enough to know they can find work elsewhere and don’t always have to put up with that type of attitude, from those who are above them in the chain of command.
What affect does this have? Well, people will leave. Plain and simple, you will lose staff, and most likely the best and brightest will be the first to go.
Because we are all human, and we all have our own box of springs, it is critically important that the leadership team of any organisation have good mental health. These 5 areas are shown to be the cornerstones to successful leadership strategies:
- EQ/EI: Primarily, leaders must have Emotional Intelligence. They need to be self and socially “aware”. Having an ability to reflect on their own actions and responses to identify how this has impacted those around them, especially if they are leading a team whereby everyone is watching how the leader performs and emulating this behaviour. Industries where this has magnified systemic problems are in Legal Firms, Nursing, Para-Military organisations and those with high pressure responsibilities. There has been previously systemic bullying, and the newcomers who have served their time or paid their dues, then become perpetrators on others. They justify their poor leadership behaviour by saying,
“Well it happened to me when I started, now it is your turn”.
- BALANCE: Another indicator of good mental health is the ability to stay in Balance, and not be triggered by the emotional ebbs and flows of other people. Leaders are required to remain neutral, however we are all human. We will have people in our team that we like and get along well with, while others may irritate or annoy us, just by being who they are. Emotions can cloud our rational thoughts and often take us on a journey into actions and behaviours that are not our normal self. This is evident within supervisors who create a passive-aggressive targeting routine to certain individuals. They will be harder on those they don’t like and provide privilege to those whom they connect well with and enjoy friendly banter. Learning to identify and disarm our own triggers as a leader gives us an opportunity to learn and grow. With this process we can increase the level of respect that our team has for our direction. Respected leaders will have a loyal and dedicated group of individuals that will walk across broken glass in bare feet just to produce the best outcome. Conversely, supervisors who are erratic, emotional, inconsistent and unreasonable will destroy any possible productive outcome from the team, as well as become the “joker” of a boss behind closed doors.
- CRITICAL THINKING: This is an important and often understated tool that many leaders do not apply on a regular basis. Every thought we have in our brain has been generated OUTSIDE of ourselves. We have been taught wrong. We are essentially taught back to front. To have critical thinking means to challenge where that thought or belief actually originated and then test that thought against all possible opposite beliefs and see if what we know is actually TRUE.
For example: Where is the best place in the world to get Pizza? No matter who tells you their version, until YOU personally have tried every single pizza place in the entire world, you cannot truly know 100% for sure, yourself.
Challenge everything you have been taught. Don’t blindly believe what you hear or see. With these skills of critical thinking, you are better able to manage people, especially when there is a disagreement, because “everyone has a different view of the intersection” [Foundations to Living Series – Dynamic Duos in Business©] So there will always be arguments and differences of opinions. Great leaders find the facts, remove the emotion and make fair and just decisions based upon critical thinking and problem solving. Without this ability, many managers will be unable to get the job done, when everything is going wrong around them.
- SELF CARE: We talk about work / life balance all the time, but what does that look like? How do we know our limits and the limits of those around us? What happens to us when we DON’T listen to the warning signs and take that time out when we need it? Of course, life comes crashing down around us when we are at the peak of trying to “hold it all together”.
Self-Care goes hand in hand with Mental Wellness. Seeing the positives in our team and encouraging them to see the positives within themselves is critical to achieving greatness within your role. There is a fundamental rule of life that shows us
“What we focus on, GROWS”
If you have ever gone to buy a new car, once a decision is made to go for a certain brand or model, we tend to see that car everywhere. It’s not that they were not around, but that we didn’t notice them until we started looking at them.
It’s scientifically proven that our brain brings to the forefront things that we are looking for. So to, if we are looking for mistakes that our employees are making, then guess what we will see MORE of? That’s right, mistakes. However if we are looking for the GOOD things our team does, then of course we will see more great outcomes. It’s the law of attraction. What we focus on will come to the forefront of our minds. This is why Reward and Recognition programs work well inside organisations. The benefits are felt not only by employees but also by management.
- SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Ultimately every person wants the same 2 things. At the very core of who we are; we ALL want to be happy. However, happiness represents different things, to different people, at different times. For some, it means a sense of purpose, belonging, acceptance and respect. The other thing that every human needs, is to learn and grow. We need to fundamentally feel we are better than we were the day before. That’s why the human race evolves.
If we take a look into your employees, your team, they are no different. If they are happy but NOT learning, they will stay for a while, then eventually, they will want a CHALLENGE. They will leave to find somewhere to expand their skills and knowledge.
Conversely if your team are learning but not HAPPY, they will stay until you have trained them up, they will take those skills and leave your organisation to find somewhere to apply those skills in an environment that they can enjoy and be happy in.
This is not rocket science, these are the 2 fundamental needs of all human beings. To be HAPPY and to Learn & Grow [Foundations to Living – Dynamic Duos in Business©]
The aim for your leaders is to provide a good Company Culture and morale, as well as sustainable learning and responsibility. To do this we have to recognise and practice Good Mental Health & Wellness as a part of everyday leadership.
For more information on these practices and more speak with Author & Co Founder Julie Richman at Crestpoint Psychology & Wellbeing Centre. www.crestpointwellbeing.com/freesession
1420 Logan Road Mt Gravatt
(07) 3420 6322