Businesses are experiencing a greater rate of change than ever before – career needs, technological advancements, diversity in the workplace, customer demographics and generational expectations are constantly shifting and evolving. In the face of such widespread change, it’s important to be aware of, and to proactively manage, our mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health and wellbeing describe our mental and emotional state – the way we think, feel, behave and our ability to cope with demands and unexpected events in our daily life.
Facilitating A Culture Of Wellbeing
Leaders and managers have an opportunity to personally role model healthy behaviours and to facilitate a culture that engenders support, with open dialogue, respect and recognition for performance leading to better understanding and more common ground. In doing so, they set a series of explicit and implicit permissions for each individual to take steps to promote greater wellbeing in themselves.
Leading From The Front
There are some simple, straightforward ways to practice personal wellbeing as a leader:
- What simple lifestyle changes can you make to best manage work-home boundaries, and are there any opportunities to improve your exercise, sleep, nutrition, and hydration? These aspects of self-care can sometimes slip when we’re busy, and it’s important to nudge them back on track.
- Consider the sources of your stress at work and home and decide what you could act on, what’s within your control, and what you can influence. Sometimes taking time to order your thoughts allows you to identify where there might be an opportunity to adjust a timeline, ask for help, or manage others’ expectations about how much you can actually do.
- Take time every day to recognise and reflect on your achievements and what you’re doing well. How do these connect with your personal beliefs and values? Remembering our ‘why’ can help us maintain perspective and focus.
All of the above can also be discussed at a team level – encouraging open dialogue and building understanding that’s based on more than just the ‘role’ that people fulfil at work. When you as a leader role model healthy behaviours, your team members will feel empowered to do the same.
Leading From Within
To support and sustain healthy behaviours in your team:
- Consider how your leadership style and approach may impact on the wellbeing of your team – encourage and invite feedback and seek to be adaptive to get the best from individuals.
- Diarise regular team check-ins to proactively manage work-related factors; ensure updates and changes are well communicated so there are no sudden surprises when the team needs to do something differently; most importantly, build time into the agenda for a non-functional catch up, allowing team members to get to know each other on a personal level too.
- Openly demonstrate healthy behaviours and practices and explain how your own approaches support your personal wellbeing; encourage everyone in the team to reflect on and share their own approaches to build awareness of different needs.
- Build a sound understanding of the organisation’s training and resources which support wellbeing and resilience. These can take many forms, including face-to-face training, webinars, online learning and even special interest groups. Try them out if you can, and share your experience with the team – this will encourage them to do the same.
Role modelling wellbeing is not rocket science. It can be built into your everyday behaviours as a leader or manager. In doing so, you will strengthen your team from the inside out, so that you are better able to navigate the challenges that change can bring.
More information on our wellbeing and resilience workshops can be found here.