Mental wellbeing for leaders and managers

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May 06 2020 by Christine Macdonald Print This Article

Working in a leadership or management role can be trying at the best of times, and more so during the uncertain period we find ourselves in at present. The responsibility of managing a team presents big challenges.

While thereís recently been a very welcome focus on mental health first aid and helping managers become more aware of the silent issues that some of their workers are dealing with, there hasnít been as much focus on supporting the mental health of people leading organisations.

At the moment, weíre facing a perfect storm of factors that could impact very negatively on people at the top of organisations, and could easily trigger problems with anxiety or depression, two of the most common mental health concerns in the UK.

The day-to-day stressors that are such a challenge for everyone from time to time - such as relationship problems, debt, or anxiety about the health of loved ones - are exacerbated in the current climate and have become more pressing.

Adding to this the need to look after elderly relatives, worry about the wellbeing of your children, and potentially even taking on the task of home-schooling can culminate in huge amounts of stress and anxiety. The constant influx of bad news about the global economy and loss of life certainly doesnít help either.

Facing difficult decisions which impact the livelihood of others - such as furlough and redundancy, coupled with the challenge of managing a team remotely while keeping their productivity and morale high can prove mentally and emotionally exhausting.

Now, more than ever, itís crucial for managers and leaders alike to take charge of their own mental wellbeing in order to continue guiding their teams while keeping their own morale in check. Weíve gathered some useful tips to help keep you mentally and emotionally agile and enable you to carry on leading from the front.

Check in

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment. By immersing yourself in any given scenario, you allow yourself the space to focus on what is needed from you. Whether in business-as-usual activities or when making tough decisions that will affect your team, practising mindfulness will help you deal with the task more efficiently and help to reduce the emotional impact it can have.

By guarding yourself from negative effects before they become an issue, youíll be learning to cope better in future situations as well. HeadSpace is an excellent tool that helps you cultivate and perfect mindfulness with useful techniques for implementing mindfulness practices every day.

Reach out

Reaching out to peers creates a safe space to discuss issues youíre facing. By initiating this dialogue, youíre opening up new ways of problem solving by simply sharing your frustrations and concerns. Perhaps more importantly, asking for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness or ineptitude to your role. There is unfortunately still a stigma around poor mental health which can cause leaders to hide their symptoms instead of seeking help. Oftentimes, when we become overwhelmed with a problem, we can limit our own thinking by focussing too closely on it. By requesting help, we are simply gaining a fresh perspective on an issue and allowing ourselves the room to mature along the way.

Stay healthy

Mental wellbeing works in tandem with physical health. Remember to eat well, sleep enough and stay hydrated. By controlling what we put into our bodies, weíre also controlling how well they perform. Thatís not to say you canít enjoy a treat or the occasional drink, but focus on getting more of the good stuff into your system to fuel you through rough patches.

Keep positive

Donít forget to celebrate your own achievements and milestones. Many managers will want to try highlight their teamís triumphs, but rarely shout about their own. By showcasing your successes - whether itís leading your team through a project or a personal work victory - youíll be boosting your own morale and laying foundations on your self-esteem.

Keep positive

Donít forget to celebrate your own achievements and milestones. Many managers will want to try highlight their teamís triumphs, but rarely shout about their own. By showcasing your successes - whether itís leading your team through a project or a personal work victory - youíll be boosting your own morale and laying foundations on your self-esteem.

A manager who feels appreciated for their wins will be far better equipped to continue leading their team through to the next success or supporting them through tougher times. Wooboard is a great tool to celebrate these successes across the team, and a fun way to boost engagement as well.

Take breaks

Take a step back from the ďalways-onĒ mentality. Work hours tend to blur under pressure, and while your responsibility to deliver remains priority, your health should take precedence. Try to set out a clear start and finish time each day, or at least set a certain number of hours and stick to it.

A great way to track your productivity and your hours is Harvest, a time management tool thatíll also help you understand whatís taking up the majority of your days.

Brush up

Finding the time to upskill your management and leadership style is becoming increasingly important. As times change, so will your approach to team management and leadership. Adaptability is key to overcoming challenges and being prepared for new ones. Online courses are a great way to remotely upskill yourself or serve as a refresher on courses youíve previously attended.

Have fun

ďAll work and no play makes Jack a dull boyĒ. Donít relinquish hobbies and interests that excite you. By fuelling your passion for outside-of-work interests, you remind yourself of who you are outside of your role. This is especially helpful to build resilience when things go wrong in the workspace and remind us of the various other aspects that make us great leaders.

Remote working, tight deadlines, job security and a myriad of other issues that have been unearthed by the Coronavirus crisis are presenting new challenges every day. Remember your natural leadership capabilities and draw on your experience to lead yourself (and your team) through this time of crisis.

About The Author

Christine Macdonald
Christine Macdonald

Christine Macdonald is founder of The Hub Events. Christine started her career in sales and marketing, moving into learning and development over 15 years ago. Sheís got a keen interest in employee engagement, performance management and learning evaluation.