Top Tips for Managers to Facilitate Good Well Being Across the Team
Updated: Jun 8
Mental health and emotional well being are becoming increasingly important considerations within the workplace especially with the restrictions on 'normal' working life the coronavirus has placed us under.
As it is #StressAwarenessMonth I want to aid leaders and managers to
create happy and productive teams within a strong and healthy working environment. Read on to find out how:
Prioritise Individual Value
There’s a common system used in schools that’s the subject of great debate amongst us coaches (and, I assume, many parents). In some schools, children are grouped together, and their ‘worth’ is based on the value of the group. For example, I’ve seen schools reward classes for their combined attendance, even though one child cannot be held responsible for the attendance of another.
While this system isn’t used to quite the same extent in business, I’ve noticed that there’s still a trend to look at the value of teams, rather than individuals, and this isn’t a great approach in terms of promoting positive mental health.
While it’s important for teams to support each other, collaborate, and work together, each person must know that they are valued for their individual efforts, and that the actions (or lack of actions) of others do not define their overall value to the company.
Therefore, give recognition where it's due and in line with how each employee would like to receive it - publicly applauding them or praising them in a 1 to1.
Lead From the Top
During my work with organisations, I’ve seen two distinct types of well being programmes. The first is an integrated system that’s been brought into force by C-suite level execs, and supported all the way down to production level; it’s a concept that runs like a vein throughout the entire company and is integral to the company culture.
The second is what I call an ‘add on’ programme, where individual managers have implemented mental health and well being support at production level only, with little to no input from the top. And I’m sure you can guess which systems work, and which systems seem to struggle.
Leading from the top shows teams that the organisation is serious about their mental health and emotional well being, and ensures that everyone has access to the same level of support when needed. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance from the higher ups and ask them to share their personal stories for well being - good and bad to encourage open and honest conversations regarding mental health.
Promote Available Resources
It’s important for managers to understand that they cannot be everything their team needs in terms of mental health and emotional well being. And this isn’t anything to do with the abilities of the manager, and it’s not anything personal. While we’re talking about mental health much more openly today than we were just a few years ago, many people still find it a difficult subject, and some still treat it as taboo. One of the best things you can do as a manager is to ensure your team has access to the necessary resources they need, such as websites, talks, podcasts, books, and telephone support.
Another option is to provide training for your team so that they feel more confident opening up about their feelings. Using an external coach can make the training easier as your team can speak openly with someone they don’t have a prior relationship with.
Don’t Force It
This is perhaps the most difficult yet important top tip of all. Don’t force it. If you’ve taken the appropriate measures to implement a mental health programme in the workplace, it can be difficult to see team members not following the protocols. But the truth is that it’s impossible for us to know exactly what’s going on inside everyone’s head. Mental health and emotional well being systems aren’t for everyone, and we must respect our team members if they choose to take a step back from what we’re trying to do. It’s great if resources are there, but employees don’t have to access them.
The best thing that managers can do is to simply support their workers as they make their own choices, and ensure that, should they require assistance, that the necessary resources are available. Remember: we’re still at a turning point with mental health.