Leaders, Are You Supporting Mental Health at Work?
On October 10th, the global community joins together to raise awareness of mental health issues. At Potential Project, we are guided by the mission to make work feel more human. A human world of work is one where mental well-being is championed and protected, supported by a culture of transparency, candor, courage, and psychological safety.
Did you know?
• Four out of 10 U.S. workers report that their job has an extremely negative (7%) or somewhat negative (33%) impact on their mental health. (Gallup)
• According to a McKinsey survey across 15 countries, around 60% employees have experienced at least one mental health challenge at some point in their lives—a figure consistent with other global research. For leaders, that means that the vast majority of their employees are directly or indirectly affected by mental health-related challenges. (McKinsey)
• Researchers at the Pew Research Center found that high satisfaction with workplace relationships with colleagues and leaders plays a major role in workers’ overall satisfaction with their jobs – even in the face of dissatisfaction in other critical areas. (Pew Research Center)
• Researchers surveyed 3,400 people across 10 countries and found that leaders impact employee mental health more than doctors, therapists and even spouses or partners. (Workforce Institute)
• While 90% of HR and C-suite leaders believe working for their company has a positive impact on employees’ mental health, only half of employees agree. In fact, 1 in 3 say their manager fails to recognize the impact they have on their team’s mental well-being. (Workforce Institute)
With that context, it’s no surprise that leaders play a pivotal role in supporting employees’ mental health and well-being. A leader’s playbook begins with a set of important actions such as supporting time off, providing timely and helpful feedback, creating opportunities for challenging work and advancement, and connecting employees with the appropriate mental well-being benefits and programs. But actions are never sufficient on their own. To really create a human-centered environment in which employees thrive, we advise leaders to back up and start with the mindsets that drive behaviors and actions. If you get those pointing in the right direction, then great things typically follow.
Through years of research and leadership development work with clients, we have identified 3 core qualities of the leader mind. If a leader cannot do these well, it is awfully hard to be a good human being at work who can lead and inspire others.
The three core qualities of the human leader mind are: Awareness, Compassion and Wisdom.
Awareness is the capacity of mind to observe inner and outer experiences. What does that look like in practice in the workplace?
1. Awareness allows leaders to be in touch with what we are thinking and feeling while it is happening so we can manage ourselves accordingly, for instance in a stressful meeting or during a challenging conversion.
2. Awareness allows leaders to understand others better by overcoming unconscious biases and to connect with others more deeply to form healthy and satisfying work relationships.
3. Awareness helps leaders to put people at the core of the company or team culture and to build the meaning and engagement that keeps people connected to their jobs and the organization.
Compassion is the capacity of mind to provide genuine care, with the intention of being of benefit to others. What does that look like in practice in the workplace?
1. Compassion helps leaders to care for themselves with kindness rather than letting the harsh inner critic reign.
2. Compassion helps leaders to understand other people’s perspectives and to use that as a catalyst for supportive action.
3. Compassion helps leaders to bring caring and kindness into an organization’s culture and to build a sense of cohesion and connectedness.
Wisdom is the capacity of mind to assess and form sound judgments, free of the limitations of ego. What does that look like in practice in the workplace?
1. Wisdom allows leaders to keep strong egos in check and to remain open to others and to new possibilities.
2. Wisdom helps leaders to be decisive when they need to be but also empowering of others.
3. Wisdom guides leaders on how to do the right thing for their team or company while also uniting parties together.
Then, follow us on LinkedIn as we share mini guides for building Awareness, Compassion and Widom throughout the month of October. You will be taking a great step towards ensuring that mental health and well-being are accessible and enjoyed equally by everyone on your team.