In my experience I have never seen mental health in the workplace being of such a major concern. Especially on this scale. So as leaders we must ask why? From experience and talking with many other leaders of business, it is clear that the extent and length of ongoing lockdowns and the lack of a clear pathway out is causing significant stress, anxiety and concern in the workplace and the home.
We as leaders, and we are all leaders, can’t change what the government is doing or going to do however we have to focus on what we can do, and that means show leadership.
The following are a few tips on what we can do ourselves and what we can encourage others to do. It is an opportunity for us to shine as leaders and personally grow during these extraordinary tough times.
- Put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we put mask on others. Look after yourself and your mental health so you are in good shape to help others. Look after your diet, exercise more, spend quality time having fun with family, take time out and pursue as best you can a hobby or interest. Whether it’s big or small, find something you enjoy. My daughter’s boyfriend recently learnt to ride a unicycle!
- Show empathy: Never has it been more important to be empathic, understanding and be flexible with your workforce. The number one characteristic of a great leaders is empathy. The simplest way to show more empathy is to ask questions and LISTEN so people know you care and understand them. Make sure you offer professional and or organizational support.
- RUOK calls: Don’t assume everyone is ok. Make RUOK calls to clients and employees to ask the question and listen. Encourage your employees to do the same.
- Do something for someone else: It has been proven that doing something for someone else improves your mental health and that of the person you have helped. Make sure you do something for someone else and that you encourage your workforce to do the same.
- Don’t eat lunch on your own in the office: Make sure you have your lunch with someone and talk to them, get to know them better, ask questions, tell stories, and most importantly share a laugh.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: Then when you have done that communicate more. Never has it been more important for leaders to communicate to your workforce. This can be in person, via phone calls, emails and don’t forget the power of video.
- Positive Attitude: Attitude is infectious! If you have a positive mental attitude, it will rub off on your team. Likewise, if you are the opposite, you will drag your team down with you.
- Be flexible: It is not time to be dogmatic about the way things are done, this is an essential part of empathy. Focus on best outcomes and not inputs.
- Lead by example: People look to their leaders for direction, guidance and most importantly for hope. You can do that by leading by example, showing them the way, and encouraging them to do the same.
- Engagement: Seek as often as possible different ways to engage with your team. This is critical in a working environment where most of your team are working from home. Try things like daily phone huddle for 15 min to focus on what needs to be done and communicate any messages. Weekly meetings via zoom for communication and obtain input on initiatives such as mental health. People need to be heard and engaged within the business.
“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and help those who are doing well to do even better.” A quote from Jim Rohn.
I hope in some small way this has helped you. If you have any other ways to help, us let us know and we will share to help others.
If you want to understand more about empathy, please send us an email and we will send you a PowerPoint PDF on how to improve your empathy as a leader.
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