Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Mental wellness or workplace wellness is a topic that is creating a lot of conversation in the workplace. The mental health of our employees is (or should be) high on the list of priorities for businesses wanting to unleash the potential of their team.
Our MD and coach Kathryn Woof recently spent an evening discussing mental wellness in founders and leaders with Dr Sarah Whyte and Dr Kwon Kim which was hosted by WeWork and Global Shapers.
Dr Kwon Kim explained that leaders tend to seek risk and be risk takers and there is an increased danger of mental illness in this group. While a certain amount of good stress (eustress) can be motivational and drive performance, too much (dis)stress can lead to burn out and needs to be avoided. So, what can we do?
Dr Sarah spoke about having a holistic approach to wellness which she referred to as Bottom up, Outside in and Top down.
The information that came from this conversation was very well received and highly relevant, so I’d like to share the key takeaways in more detail.
Bottom-up - physical wellness
Are you eating well? Are you sleeping well? Dr. Sarah stressed that getting enough sleep is key for long term performance. Physical wellness is very important on many levels.
Outside in - having good relationships
Make a positive work environment part of your culture. As a leader, this means setting an example and making sure you walk the walk. It’s also important to empower the team to own the culture.
Dr. Kwon Kim talked about the importance of being able to laugh at work and highlighted that staff can still be productive while having fun. Important for business, good relationships increase productivity.
One of the initiatives by staff that we have within 33 Talent that Kath mentioned is that 33 Talent has a running club and a lunch club, which allows the team to relax together and contribute to their physical wellness. What can you and your team do?
Top-down - mental wellness
A common theme here was authenticity. If you project as someone else, this will create stress and may lead to imposter syndrome. Leaders should be thought of as people and fallible. They are learning too, and no-one is perfect.
This is where a coach comes in and an area that our MD Kath has much experience in. A coach can help with reframing problems, letting go of a negative inner voice and helping people focus on a future goal. It is also important to have a plan. “It is fine to work hard as many of us do, including me” said Kath, “however having a road map helps me know how things are going to improve and get better”
You might not be able to change a situation, but you can change how you cope with it. Dr. Kwon Kim explained how often these coping skills were acquired out of necessity and need to be personalised - no-one knows what works for you better than you. Dr. Sarah explained how a coach can help you work that out. You may cope with compartmentalism, reframing, mindfulness, finding the learning, or something else. Knowing what works for you (and what doesn’t) makes it much easier to succeed.
Mental wellness is a key part of a successful workplace. We can all work to be authentic, have empathy for our colleagues, build a positive and supportive culture and ask for help when we need it. And of course, eat well and sleep well!
Thanks to WeWork and Global Shapers for organising and hosting this insightful event.
Find out more about coaching on our website or contact our Head of Coaching, Catriona at email@example.com