Mental health issues don’t make themselves easily visible because of the fact that people are reluctant of sharing these issues with others. They fear being judged wrongly. And when these issues are work related they never discuss them because of the fear of losing their jobs.
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So, this means just because your team members are not talking about their mental health problems with you doesn’t mean they don’t have them. According to this survey about 20% people at work in America go through mental problems once in a year.
Mental issues can strike any one and at any level. These can include anxiety, depression, burnouts, stress disorders or even panic attacks. The thing with them is that they are hard to diagnose. They can act like a parasite that eats away the productivity and affect those around you, whether at work or home.
There can be multiple causes of mental health issues, but the top one of them is not being able to understand our wants and desires. For leaders, it is more about understanding their teams, because after all teams are a part of who they are. Without a team, a leader is nothing because it is always the team that does the work.
And this cycle is reciprocative. If the team in under stress, this stress can reciprocate back and become a manager’s problem. As they say in the business, it’s better to take precaution then take a pill, so I list down a few remedy points that you should be aware to maintain a good mental health of your employees.
Words can act like a force. They can make people do things for you by igniting their emotions. And they can also help in extinguishing stress. Managers should reach out and talk to employees if they see any kind of red flag in their behaviour. Managers should be willing to approach employees and say that they have noticed a change and want to help.
I say this because in today’s work culture most of the leaders are unable to draw a line between invading employee privacy and providing genuine help. They will always scroll on the two ends of this line. Some will be too helpful and and some will never be compassionate enough in dealing with actual problems.
Beyond these one-on-one discussions, leaders should also be open to discuss about these issues publicly through meetings and talking sessions. This will help employees to open up with them if they face any problem in the future.
An analysis done sheds the light on the fact that people who are more connected to their colleagues and bosses show better signs of happiness and well being. They are also less stressed out and more productive.
When dealing with mental health issues this sense of “we-ness” is important. It helps people to think, act and feel not just as individuals who are alone, but as a part of a stronger group. When this happens we are more likely to trust those who work with us. It creates an effect that provides to an individual a sense of belongingness. We are then able to find a purpose and meaning in our feelings of control and anxiousness; thereby finding the root cause behind such things.
If managers are able to provide to an individual the positive identification within the organization, the impact of negative workplace interactions will disappear by itself. And remember:
Because we spend a good part of our lives at work, or even sometimes thinking about work when at home; it’s not surprising if our relationships at work will strongly influence our mental well being.
Many times employees can be under stress because they lack Emotional Intelligence. For example, I once had an employee, lets call her samantha, who lacked emotional intelligence. And because of this she became a reason for causing workplace stress not just for herself, but even for those around her.
Many times she waited for the last moment to complete her tasks and never seemed to realize how her behaviour impacted her co-workers with their deadlines. She had a habit of voicing her opinions strongly, sometimes putting herself over quieter employees.
Strong leaders can tackle such issues by regulating the emotions of their employees. For example, managers can try to recognize internal feelings that employees undergo through the course of the day. So, if one of your employee feels angry and frustrated you can come to their rescue before things escalates into something big.
These quick action responses help managers to separate emotion from work. They should also take care of strong personalities trying to overtake quieter ones by incorporating rules in the internal mechanisms like giving everyone a chance to speak at the meeting.
Improving emotional intelligence will help employees do a better job and stay away from stress. Because it helps us recognize our emotions and its impact on others, we can then make changes to improve ourselves.
Finally, incorporating the above steps in our daily working habits will help us to deal with employee problems and create a more healthy workplace. I hope that you liked what you read. Please share your ideas and thoughts below.
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Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. A passionate leader, Sandeep is always on the lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams and companies. He is also a featured writer on LinkedIn and a contributing author at YourStory. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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