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Why leaders need good mental health and should display positive role model behaviour

Noel McDermott, a psychotherapist states that: “If you want to be a progressive business leader, now is the time to invest in the emotional and mental health of your team, they are after all your most valuable resource. Most organisations now understand fundamentally the link between a healthy workforce and increased productivity and most of us understand that health and wellness includes mental wellness.”

Why leaders need good mental health and should display positive role model behaviour

This is just as true for the leaders as it is the followers of an organisation. Leadership and followership styles are intimately linked, one begets the other. Leadership is much more about leading by example. The modern organisational leader gives permission through their actions and behaviour to the type of culture they wish to see in their organisation.

Here, Noel McDermott looks at why leaders need good mental health and why they need to display positive role model behaviour.

Mentally healthy relating styles

Research shows that organisations are more productive based around mentally healthy relating styles such as open dialogue, emotional literacy and behaviour, diversity, tolerance and team culture, emotional warmth and bonding and reduction of fear.

Mental well-being is more than the absence of illness. In the same way, that physical fitness is more than just the absence of having, for example, a bad back! More and more we talk now about mental fitness being a similar goal that is achievable in the same way that physical fitness is. Mental well-being has similar benefits in making you feel great as well as improving your performance globally.

5 steps to help leaders improve their mental fitness and mental well-being

1. Connect

Connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.

2. Mindfulness

Be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

3. Get up and get active

It’s not just about the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.

4. Altruism

Even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.

5. Learn

Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?

Positive role model behaviour

Without a doubt, the best way to foster a healthy productive environment is to be that yourself. Good leaders must make sure that employees know how to access support should they need it; a resilient organisation enables their employees to thrive amidst challenging and uncertain times. Being a workplace that looks out for the mental health of its employees does more than creating a healthy work environment but has proven benefits to productivity and your role as a leader/employer is at the centre of this.

More on spotting mental health issues in the workplace and leadership skills.

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