When we speak about CEOs and Entrepreneurs, all we can think about is stories of bootstrapping, six-digit checks and the VC fundings. But that’s just the one side of the story.
And hence, talking just about the glossy part of the business is creating a toll on the mental health of the C-suite executives. Emma McIlroy, CEO of fashion e-tailer Wildfang says, “It would be so much easier for me to stand up and not be vulnerable—to just say, ‘It’s all great. I’m a big deal CEO,’” she says. “But that doesn’t help the people coming behind you who are going through the same difficulties or those who want to become entrepreneurs.”
Speaking and starting the conversation about mental health for entrepreneurs is really critical. After all, they are not a superhero or have any superpowers. They are also regular human beings who go through ups and downs like other people. However, entrepreneurs and CEOs are put in a category above themselves by the people around them. And this is not fair!
According to a study done by the University of California San Francisco, 30% of entrepreneurs admitted to struggling with depression. Also, depression is just the small part, there are many more things in addition to the depression. But there comes a risk when CEOs talk about mental health. If they admit these struggles from time to time, people start questioning their ability to handle the given responsibilities.
However, if CEOs are not being open about these struggles, they are doing the disservice to others. For all you know, there could be other subordinates who might be struggling with the same. According to the research done on managers and app developers by Anxiety Disorders and Association of Americs, only one out of four of them are vocal about their struggle with anxiety and stress. There could possibly be other factors as well, though this kind of stigma needs to stop. It is high time CEOs should start the dialogue about mental health.
When you’re vocal about your struggles, you tend to make your subordinates feel less alone. In turn, they are bound to have more respect for you as a leader. Here are some of the approaches you may follow:
Speaking in Real-time
Whenever you’re going through anxiety, speak about it when it is actually in the process. This will give your employees a chance to support you and be more emphatic.
Do Something About it
An idle mind is the devil’s playground. You’re more prone to an anxiety attack when you’re sitting idly. The best remedy is to start being occupied in doing a meaningful work.
Lastly, Help People
Helping people might sound like a selfless act but rather it is an investment you’re making. It is important for your team to see that you’ll be there for them whenever they are in need. This starts when you yourself demonstrate that you’re capable of asking for help.
As a CEO, people put a lot of pressure to perform and this may lead to the strain in mental well-being. CEOs are trying to build something out of nothing and it is definitely not easy. Along with that, the expectations from the board members, team members and investors is an added baggage. And confidence is obvious to shackle in such conditions.
But this is not how you can build or run a successful company. A constructive approach to a leadership which doesn’t compromise on the mental well-being is the need of the hour. If you can become vulnerable and show that there’s nothing wrong in asking help for stabilizing your mental health, you lead an example. And that definitely makes you a better leader.