2 keys to improving the mental and emotional well-being of leaders

The past few years have not been easy for anyone. According to a survey by The Standard (the marketing arm of StanCorp Financial Group) conducted at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, About half of American workers They admitted to having problems with their mental health. Certainly, business leaders are not immune to such challenges; Indeed, it is very easy for them to prioritize the health of the company over their well-being, but the truth is that the company cannot thrive if its leaders are not physically and psychologically healthy. It’s essential to the health of the company (and the people who make up it, according to Psychology Today ) take care of themselves.

I’ve gone through ups and downs in my emotional health as a CEO, and through trial and error, I’ve found two key practices that keep it from slipping and affecting my business: transparency and acquisitions.

Transparency: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It is a natural instinct to only share the good news and ignore the bad. A quick tour of social media will be a testament to this: a slideshow of highlights… new homes, luxurious vacations, exciting promotions, and great parties.

We’re seeing this in action, too. Stories abound about new and exciting startups where everything seems to be going well. But then, to the surprise, the company went bankrupt and the employees and investors were confused, wondering what had happened.

As leaders, we must be transparent with team members and investors about the good and the bad. Not only is his lack unfair to the people he works with, but it also alienates him as a leader, making it even more difficult to ask for help. By freely sharing circumstances, you build trust with a team and give yourself the opportunity to learn from others and identify creative solutions.

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Related: Why transparency between teams is so vital to production

How can the transparency

In my company, I provide regular updates on the state of the business to my investors, and partly because I have publicly shared goals achieved and setbacks, they have followed and supported me throughout. For example, my company is currently in the midst of a fundraising campaign, which is not my area of ​​expertise. It turns out that nearly all of my investors are professional fundraisers, so I asked for their opinions on our efforts. I wasn’t afraid of being judged for doing this because we built a foundation of trust and transparency. If I’m afraid to share something negative, I’ll also be afraid to ask your advice, and our fundraising efforts will suffer.

how to start

You don’t need to share everything with all employees or board members at once. You might start with just one person: a close advisor or an old colleague. Then the next time you need to, you can be open to sharing with two people, then five, then 10, and finally with the whole company. Over time, you will begin to see how valuable feedback and outside support are to your success. Of course, there may be times when you can’t be completely transparent (for Legal reasons for example), but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Obstacles are bets on the road to success, and you’ll need a support team behind you if you’re going to face them, but you can’t build without trust, and trust can’t be built without transparency. So don’t isolate yourself. Work is full of ups and downs, and if you only share the things that have been done, you will find yourself alone without much to share.

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Related: Now is the time to start embracing mental health in the workplace

Take ownership of mistakes

The second key to maintaining good mental health as a leader is to take charge. When things go wrong, we often want to point the finger at someone else. However, successful leaders are those who take responsibility.

For the first company I founded, I hired a local sales team. Its members manipulated fake sales data to improve their numbers and inflated their egos regarding their skills. We had to shoot them, and I immediately felt hostile. I thought ‘They screwed up my company’. “How can I continue?”

Finally, I realized that the error was there Mine hands. I was the one who hired them and ignored the reference checks that told us this equipment could be abrasive. Moving forward, I had to look at this bug and admit it. In doing so, I learned the importance of hiring people with integrity who inspire others to work hard, and used that knowledge to build successful companies that win awards for the best workplaces. This is a lesson I would never have grasped if I had not taken responsibility for my failure.

change your point of view

as a leader And the You will make mistakes, but what matters more than the mistake itself is how you respond to it. Are you pointing your finger at someone else? Keep it hidden and let the shame build up inside you? Or do you face it boldly, learn what you can, and move on?

The right approach requires a change of perspective. Instead of chanting, “Why me?” And blaming others When something goes wrong, we must turn inward and take responsibility for where we may have made a mistake or misread the situation. You You are responsible for every step your company takes, whether it’s a new hire that doesn’t work out or a failed investment. By taking charge, you free yourself from holding back negative thoughts and give yourself space to grow and plan for the future. And employees will follow suit: They will see your company as a place where you can make mistakes as long as you are willing to acknowledge and address them.

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Related: PTSD in leaders is on the rise: Here’s what we can do about it

A healthy company starts with a healthy leader

When you don’t lead with transparency and ownership, you become trapped and likely become isolated, frustrated and stressed, and your mental health and the health of the company will suffer. Negative outcomes can include higher employee turnover, a lack of employee motivation and confidence in you as a leader, and worse.

If you are dealing with mental health issues right now, know that you are not alone, these countless leaders before you were involved in this struggle. And solutions can start small, so consider reaching out to a trusted advisor or two about what you’re dealing with. Acknowledge any mistakes you may have made and don’t be afraid to put your ego aside and ask for help.

Remember: Just because you are the leader does not mean that you are impervious to adversity. You deserve support like everyone else, so take the necessary steps to get it.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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