Leading with mental health in mind

I was speaking with an executive client a few weeks ago. We were talking about his challenges, and what support he needed to move his team forward. We spoke about coaching programs, 360 assessments for him and his team, a customized leadership development program – and then he paused and said “you know, what I really need to learn is how to lead with mental health in mind.”

This was music to my ears because he was acknowledging the underlying foundation of his team. And his phrasing was bang on: leading with mental health in mind.

We’ll often get asked to do standalone workshops – which are sometimes exactly what is needed as a refresher, or as an introduction to the concepts – but I’ll always stress that creating the conditions for psychological health and safety is not achieved through an employee lunch and learn or an afternoon information session.

Creating the conditions for psychological safety is a way of leading – it’s about building a culture that nurtures these conditions. In the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, there are 13 evidence-based psychosocial factors that are proven to contribute to psychological health and safety in the workplace:

1. Psychological support
2. Organizational culture
3.  Clear leadership and expectations
4. Civility and respect
5. Psychological competencies and requirements
6. Growth and development
7. Recognition and reward
8. Involvement and influence
9. Workload management
10. Engagement
11. Balance
12. Psychological protection
13. Protection of physical safety

Assessing your team and organization against these 13 factors can give you a good indication of the level of psychological health and safety in your work environment. You can identify strengths that you can continue to leverage and identify where there may be an opportunity to move the needle or introduce some new strategies.

If you’re not already, Become an Insider over on the Agency II Change website and we’ll send you a free tool that will familiarize you with a few of the factors and help you start to assess your team and organization. And, as always, if you have any questions, we’re only a call or email away.

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