How Leaders can manage mental health during COVID-19

As a leader, there are things you can do to help manage the mental health of you and your team while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though some of us are lucky to be in jobs where working from home is an option, it can be difficult. There are mental health issues which may emerge, which leaders should understand and help to manage for themselves and their team.

You are not working from home. You are at home during a crisis, trying to work.

Expecting that everyone is still at 100% is wishful thinking during a crisis situation. Luckily, there are ways to manage our psychological health.

How can I tell if someone in my team is struggling?

Talk to them!

The hallmark of a good leader is to be able to connect with their people on a personal level. It’s not always easy to elicit an answer and it may take multiple attempts when having this conversation, but don’t lose faith in the process or in your ability to connect.

Be authentic and have an open and honest conversation. Some good questions to ask include:
  • How are you, really?
  • What are you doing right now that is bringing enjoyment to your day?
  • One day you might wake up and not be as excited about this. How do we find other things that bring you joy?
  • Who do you have for support?
  • Who are you talking to outside of work?

How do I look after my own mental health?

If you can't take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of others and effectively lead. Here are some pointers to help you manage your own mental well-being:
  • Reduce feelings of isolation by staying connected and maintaining positive relationships with your own leader and colleagues.
  • Schedule conference calls which are about life in general. Not every meeting needs to be business agenda driven and it will help to substitute the general chat you would normally get in the office.
  • Increase clarity around our own roles and responsibilities by regularly communicating and having clear goals.
  • Prevent fatigue and burnout by practicing boundary setting between home life and work life. For example, I pack up my work laptop and everything related to work to signal the end of the day.
  • Make an extra effort to give positive feedback and appropriately recognising and rewarding each other. Being nice has never been so important!
  • Contribute to the creation of safe environments so we can all be ourselves and raise concerns. It’s even more critical then ever to actively listen and show empathy.

What if I need help?

Recognising you may need help is an important first step to managing your mental health. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness.

Depending on the country you are in, there may be resources available in your company such as an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

If you feel you’re not coping, it may help to make an appointment with your GP. They can assess your mental well-being and can also help to refer you on to specialists, who can help you better manage your journey to recovery.

Take care out there!

Photo credits: Joshua NessAnthony Tran

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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: How Leaders can manage mental health during COVID-19
How Leaders can manage mental health during COVID-19
As a leader, there are things you can do to help manage the mental health of you and your team while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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