“Untreated mental health conditions cost Australian employers $10.9 billion every year through absenteeism, reduced productivity and compensation claims.”
Other effects of a mentally unhealthy workplace include poor morale and staff engagement, high staff turnover and potential penalties for breaches of work health and safety legislation. A business’s reputation is also at risk among potential clients, customers and employees.” www.headsup.org.au
Economic uncertainty, contracting budgets, increased competition, and business ambiguity all drive to create workplace pressures and stress on leaders and their teams. Stress at any level can be experienced as a result of excessive workload, “busy work”, lack of autonomy, office politics, bullying, poor relationships with colleagues and managers, and the disconnect between work and the rest of life. Disrupting these negative circumstances by fostering employee wellbeing, as well as creating and sustaining a healthy workplace, is critical to a healthy workplace.
It’s an easy enough equation to understand:
Healthy workplaces attract high potentials = a competitive edge
Strong leaders are able to cultivate a workplace environment where employees feel empowered, have autonomy in their decision-making and come together as a team to be creative and solve problems. Their leadership style includes coaching to enhance capability, motivation, morale and performance.
Many leaders, however, are thrown in at the deep end without the skills, experience, tools or mindset to lead. They are expected to lead change, diversity and complexity; manage restructures and redundancies; as well as deal with politics and people. As a result, they may be at significant risk of suffering mental ill-health, particularly if the stressful situation continues unabated.
It’s another easy equation to understand:
Great leaders = healthy workplace = competitive edge
Distressed leaders = unhealthy workplace = no competitive edge
At AsiaAus Leaders our coaches work with leaders to improve their skills to motivate, empower and build great teams, environments and cultures that are aligned to organisational values and strategic goals. We also coach them to lead staff who may also suffer from stress, anxiety and mental health issues due to struggles either at work or home.
Using a coaching model yields good results in these circumstances because it empowers the individual – the leader or the staff member – to cope with the actual demands they are experiencing. Coaching isn’t about learning theories, it’s about practice and behaviour.
All workplaces will benefit in some way from creating a coaching culture but it starts at the top, the place where culture is formed, with the leadership team.
So, if you’re a leader, how do you stay sane? Here’s 10 tips to boost wellbeing and stay mentally healthy:
- Get Connected. Develop and maintain strong relationships with people around you (outside work) who will support and enrich your life.
- Take time to enjoy. Set aside time for activities, hobbies and projects you enjoy. Let yourself be spontaneous and creative.
- Participate. Being part of a group of people with a common interest provides a sense of belonging and is good for your mental health.
- Contribute to your community. Volunteer your time for a cause or issue that you care about. An effort to improve the lives of others improves your life too.
- Take care of yourself. Be active and eat well – these help maintain a healthy body. Physical and mental health are closely linked; it’s easier to feel good about life if your body feels good.
- Challenge yourself. Learn a new skill or take on a challenge to meet a goal. Learning improves your mental fitness, while striving to meet your own goals builds skills and confidence and gives you a sense of progress and achievement.
- Deal with stress. Be aware of what triggers your stress and how you react. You may be able to avoid some of the triggers and learn to prepare for or manage others. If you have trouble winding down, try relaxation breathing, yoga or meditation.
- Rest and refresh. Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed at a regular time each night and practice good habits to get better sleep. Sleep restores both your mind and body.
- Live in the here and now. It’s easy to be caught up thinking about the past or planning for the future instead of experiencing the present. Practising mindfulness, by focusing your attention on being in the moment, is a good way to do this.
- Ask for help. The perfect, worry-free life does not exist. Everyone’s life journey has bumpy bits and the people around you can help. If you don’t get the help you need first off, keep asking until you do.
Contact AsiaAus Leaders if you would like to work with a professional coach on ensuring your mental health, or if you need assistance in creating a mentally healthy workplace or team.