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I believe the job of a true leader is twofold.
In accepting the position and responsibilities of a leader we undertake to deliver the results AND to look after those we have the privilege and responsibility to lead.
And whilst it’s rare for there to be a lack of focus placed on delivering the results, it’s not so rare for there to be a lack of genuine focus placed upon our responsibility to look after those we lead.
Here in the UK, the Health and Safety at Work Act sets out the minimum standards and provisions that organisations and company directors must put in place to ensure the health, safety and welfare of people at work.
But this isn’t just about out physical health; it includes our mental health too, which we all have. And our mental health requires looking after, just as our physical health does.
As leaders it’s critical that we look after our own mental health and that of those we lead.
One in four of us will experience a mental health issue in any given year… which means one in four of those that work for us will experience a mental health issue in any given year. And whilst I don’t have any evidence or research to support this, I suspect the events of 2020 have shifted that statistic to one in three at least.
So, what can we do about it?
One step that I strongly advocate is to train Mental Health First Aiders within your team and organisation. And if you’re in any sort of leadership position, I encourage you to complete this training yourself.
I say this from first-hand experience, having just completed a mental health first aid course with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), England.
With total transparency, I’m not incentivised in any way, shape or form to get people enrolled on their courses. But having completed the training myself, I am an advocate and champion of the work they are doing. I truly believe it’s critical training for leaders and managers right now.
Lifting the words directly from my manual, the MHFA course teaches people how to spot the early signs of a mental health issue, including warning signs of common mental health crises, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person towards appropriate help.
I think that all sounds like a key responsibility of a leader, or at very least, something they should have a basic awareness of.
Here are the course details again, and if you want to chat about my personal experience on the course before signing up, please do email me here.
Stay safe, look after your people and #LeadOn