Most of us have greatly expanded our understanding of stress over these past few months, when we have the usual everyday stresses plus the uncertainty, disruption and chaos of a pandemic. It’s no surprise that mental well-being is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. As leaders we want what is best for our employees, and that means caring for about their mental health—especially now. Here are some solid steps you can take:
Break the silence. Leaders can mitigate the stigma around mental health issues by discussing them openly, using mental health resources themselves if needed, and sharing their stories. Make it clear that the workplace is a welcoming and supportive space.
Keep the dialogue going. Hold communication channels open for discussion, taking care not to pressure anyone to disclose private information. Work with Human Resources to identify and issues and resources, and share the information personally in a meeting or seminar. Let employees see your commitment.
Provide (or advocate for) mental health resources at your company. The best thing you can do for your employees is to be proactive in meeting their needs. Do everything in your power—ideally through your employee health care plan—to provide accessible, affordable mental health services such as counseling, therapy, and treatment for addiction.
Maintain regular check-ins: The best leaders stay on top of important issues, and making mental health a top priority means treating it as an ongoing commitment rather than something to check off your to-do list. Communicate regularly about mental health and make sure channels are available to help people those who are feeling overwhelmed.
Watch for signs that someone’s struggling. If you’re worried about an employee who’s experiencing decreased productivity or a marked change in personality, set up an informal meeting. With discretion, care and compassion, ask how they’re doing—at work and at home. As much as possible, provide assistance by adjusting workloads, adding flexible hours, or connecting them with resources.
Create a virtual support system. The best leaders create virtual connections to alleviate feelings of isolation for employees working from home. A sense of community is an important component of mental and emotional well-being, and connection helps reinforce a spirit of belonging and mutual support among employees.
Lead by example. Make sure you’re fostering healthy behaviors not only with your words but also through your actions. Don’t tell people to be maintain a good work–life balance and then stay logged in late into the evening yourself. Employees look to their leaders to set the tone, so be the example you want others to follow.
Advocating for mental health support in the workplace may seem like an insurmountable task, but it starts with small, intentional steps and a caring leader.
Lead from within: Given that we spend half our waking hours working, it’s unsurprising that work is one of the most influential factors in our mental health. The best leaders understand this principle and address it.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.