4 ways improving your mental health will make you a more successful leader
Let’s face facts, the demands placed on leaders has changed immeasurably over the past decade. Quite aside from the pace of technological change (both at home and in the workplace), the impact of different generations is slowly but surely re-shaping corporate culture. Gone are the days where you came in, did your pile of work and followed your bosses instructions to the letter!
Today’s leadership and their managers require a heady mix of deft communication skills, an ability to deal with ambiguity, and the flexibility to meet the demands of a generation who work to live (not the other way round). There is no doubt that a ‘good leader’’ has a profound impact on the mood, productivity and performance of a team, and that is why the mental health of leaders and managers is so very important.
A happy, healthy team, has a healthy happy leader, and amongst the many other attributes high levels of mental resilience and well-being and the ability to deal with your own internal experience and stresses, comes high on the “must have” personal traits of today’s leadership.
Mental resilience in the workplace is a big subject, and there are huge amounts of research and many thousands of words that have been written on the subject, but here are four quick tips that will make a tangible difference on your performance as a leader:-
A quick way to change your ‘state’ if you are stressed is to change your physiology, going for a walk around the block forces you to breath differently and gets your body moving. It allows intense negative feelings to dissipate quicker and work through your system, this is preferable than taking something out on the nearest person to you. If you are managing regular stress think about how you contribute to your own plate, how do you manage your time? Maintaining an outside life and deciding what is and isn’t your responsibility, or in or out of your control, will also help you.
If we are able to recognize what we are good at and what we aren’t so good at we are half way there to managing ourselves effectively. Just because you won’t admit to yourself you are not so great at something it doesn’t mean that other employees can’t see it. No leader is excellent at everything and being self-aware and open to where other team members can support you is a strength not a weakness. The end game is about making the team and business successful not hiding the skills you aren’t good at. The most successful CEO’s tend to bring right hand women and men with them to operate a fully rounded competency and skill circle.
3. Take time for yourselfThis is one of the most ignored yet most important tips for managing your mental health. If you ran a marathon every day your body would need a rest, the same is true for the brain, you can’t run it to the max every day without a rest. It needs to be able to rest and rejuvenate, and different environments and experiences can help that, whether it’s yoga, meditation, art classes or sport, whatever helps you switch off and let go. What you put in you get out, this is true for the brain, so if you want to be sharp, remember things and have clarity when you need it give it a rest to allow it to repair and renew.
4. Lead by exampleYour team watch everything you do, they will model how you speak, how you treat others, pick up your bad and good habits, represent what you stand for, they learn something from you daily. How you show up on a daily basis is more important than you may realise. Managing others is a real responsibility that can shape individuals in a good or not so good way, so think about what they are learning from you and actually you from them. Humility and appreciation goes a long way with others.
A healthy, happy manager is more resilient, more resourceful and is able to utilize more of their own tools to solve problems, cope with ambiguity and drive results, be that manager.
Want to know more about how to improve Mental Resilience in the Workplace check out the details of Paula's latest course "Building mental resilience in the workplace"