Thankfully, mental health is no longer a taboo subject. Most of us are comfortable talking about our and others’ state of mind. People are talking about it over the water cooler these days – especially men. We used to be terrible at this sort of thing, but now we’re definitely getting in touch with our emotional side and opening up a little bit more.
In this blog post, I’m going to talk about dealing with your team’s mental health through the highs and the lows. It’s all part of being a team and being human – and it should be one of your top priorities.
Give your team the tools to be better
This is where you come in as the head of the business. You need to develop your skills in the art of looking after people. Make them feel appreciated and a part of something, give them opportunities to grow and offer them tools and resources to help them improve and maintain their lifestyle. I’m talking personal and career.
Yes, you pay them a wage and they’re expected to do a job – but that doesn’t mean that they’re slaves to the system or just a number on a spreadsheet. They’re people with personalities, emotions, ambitions and desires.
If you can connect on an emotional level with empathy, sympathy and a genuine care for their wellbeing, you may very well find that attitudes change towards you, your business and the bigger-picture goals that you have for the future. Plus, in a very positive way, you’re connecting with your team on a whole new level.
Listen, I’m not perfect at this right now – however, I am self-aware enough to know that this is something that needs more of my attention.
When colleagues become family
You spend a significant amount of time each day, each week, each year with your work colleagues. They quickly become friends and even family – that’s just a natural progression in any circumstance where you spend a lot of time with people.
And guess what? This is also a taboo subject! It’s the whole, ‘we must keep work and life separate’ – why? Life is work, work is life, they both mix and match and you can find your closest friends through work. It amazes how many people keep them completely separate – I’m not saying you should work 24/7, but it needs to blend in with your life.
Now, listen – I’m all for the ‘friends and family’ vibe, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any fallouts, disagreements and, indeed, separations. That’s life, and it’s just part and parcel of the whole business journey.
Be both the diplomat and a shoulder to cry on
At a much higher level, you have to be empathetic and caring to all scenarios. People argue and fall out – you need to be the negotiator. People cry, laugh and worry – you need to be the friend and counsellor. People can be incredibly ambitious beyond your own vision and goals – you need to be the career facilitator. Why fight it? It’s important to create a stable and caring environment in which your team can work from, knowing that they are protected, loved and appreciated.
You heard me – I said the word ‘love’. It sounds cheesy as hell, but I’m only saying what most of you already know deep down. I’m a heart-on-the-sleeve kind of guy, so I might get a little carried away with the emotional side of things, but it just means I care. It doesn’t mean I’m weak or incapable of growing a business – in fact, quite the opposite!
The same goes for your clients – it’s not an ‘us vs them’ thing, it’s the cycle of business life. We provide clients with a service to help them grow their business, they trust in us and transact in us, which in turn helps us grow our business and our people.
To sum up…
The mental health of your team is very important. It’s our job as business owners to care more, appreciate more, observe more and to play our part in helping people achieve their own goals in their professional and, indeed, their personal lives.
Thank you for reading this chapter of the Diary of an Entrepreneur. I must stress, I’m not trying to teach you anything. I’m just sharing my journey, and if it motivates you, then great – job done!
If you want to hear more about my entrepreneurial journey, check out the Diary of an Entrepreneur podcast on all available platforms – I talk all things business in terms of my OWN journey and experience. It’s not one to miss!