mental health and employers

Employers will need Mental Health training by 2020

I’ve always worked when I’ve been well. My Dad instilled such a strong work ethic in me that I become really detached and unengaged when unemployment falls upon me. I’ve always tried hard to find work and tried hard to do well in my job whatever I turn my hands to. Yet there’s been something niggling in the back of my mind for a long time. There have been a few jobs in the past that have contributed to my ‘unwellness’ due to bad management. And it’s not just the Mentally unwell or unstable that it affects it’s normal people with no history too.

I’ve been saying for a long time that Mental health matters and that it’s four cases in four and not one in four. Why do I say this? Well it’s because our minds matter too. You can’t put us in a highly stressful situation and expect that we’ll come out of it smelling of roses. When you watch us do stupid and highly reckless things it’s more than likely because something in our lives isn’t running smoothly. Yet a lot of employers don’t think of their organisations as a living breathing entity; merely a business with expendable people at the end of it.

In a business who is the “most” important staff member? If you think it’s the CEO then you are doing something wrong. The members that are closest to the public, the ones that actually talk to your customers, make sure your customers are happy, and tend to their needs. When you think of your staff as expendable then you will have a high turnaround with very little loyalty from them. Why? Because you show no loyalty. A leader must lead by example which includes being loyal to your staff.

The last organisation I worked with was absolutely fantastic. The Chief Officer effectively turned the organisation on it’s head. We were a charitable organisation and he acknowledged that the most important people were the volunteers. Because they helped us for free, and similarly our reputation was steered by the volunteers. They were the faces that the public saw day in, day out. The exact same can be said for any other business.

Yet other organisations aren’t that great. I once worked for a manager that thought the best way to get us to be productive was to shout at us. To point out to everyone our flaws in the job and the mistakes we have made. This was the supervisors doing of course. They were angry, angry at life I expect. They couldn’t see that no-one really wanted to work for them. All they could see was that we weren’t doing our jobs properly. They didn’t want to look at the reasons why we weren’t. Only that we weren’t and that was the problem for them. I started to get worse. Take days off, take more smoke breaks, take more liberties. A manager should look at the beneath issues when tackling the surface. Some do that now. Others, not so much.

Your team; think of them as a living, breathing entity. One that you must treat on the whole and also individually. If your team isn’t meeting their projected targets then why? And who is the broken chain? Why are they broken? Is it a quick fix or a long term solution? When you think of repairing the chain rather than replacing the link then your outlook becomes entirely different. Because then you are proving yourself loyal to staff members and they will become loyal to you. People will really respect your attitude to get things done whilst not leaving them behind or worse.

So we need to learn a bit more about the human mind. Why do we act the way we do and how can we help others that have lost their way. I’m not saying you need to treat your business like a Psychiatric hospital, only that you gain a better understanding of the factors that impact your staff on an under the surface level. We recognise that losing a member of family can be difficult for staff members but what about if one of your staff is going through a difficult breakup? moving house? Getting married? Clashing with other staff? or even analysing your own behaviour.

Analysing your own behaviour is a great tool to have. Mainly because your actions have a great impact on your team. If I went in drunk and not caring then your staff would have the same attitude. Same with anger, happiness and a whole range of emotions. Lead by example. That’s what leaders do! I’ve saw managers walk in with a chip on the shoulders because they’ve had a bad day at home, and that has impacted the work of the team. Your own behaviour matters.

Thanks for reading.

Raymond 🙂

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