In recent months, many reports including those from the World Health Organisation, indicate that the emotional and social fallout from lockdowns and social distancing are leading to a wave of psychological disorders. Managing these increased emotional and social demands, together with the complexity of adapting business practices to the new normal has led to a significant increase in stress-related disorders. And, this is set to continue over the coming months and years.
Organisations have an ethical responsibility to offer support to their people to mitigate the negative impact of stress on their mental health and wellbeing. The effective management of emotion in ourselves and in other people is the bedrock of being effective personally and professionally, and for managing our wellbeing.
Forced to work from home, your people may not receiving the same level of support, social interactions or opportunities that they had hoped for. This experience can lead to feelings of isolation and low morale. It’s important, therefore, for leaders to identify younger members of their team and offer additional support with regular check-ins about their wellbeing and candid discussions about their aspirations.
At the core of all stress-related disorders is the feeling of a loss of control over one’s environment. And, the stress of losing control leads to an experience of pervasive anxiety. This is of particular concern to organisations that are struggling to tackle issues arising from increased complexity and pressure in the workplace.
It may not be surprising that people like myself, have a particular interest in the ability a person has to exert control over his or her own emotional state. And the feeling of control is one of the wellsprings of mental health. By reducing the influence of anger or anxiety, developing mental toughness helps to foster a calm mind and access to positive emotions and constructive behaviours.
One of the most important skills you need in order to be able to lead well in your personal and professional life, is the ability to develop a peaceful mind. When you are under pressure and your mind is in a fog of stress, it’s difficult to think clearly and impossible to generate innovative ideas. The ability to maintain a peaceful mind in the face of relentless pressure is a critical skill in the formation of sound judgment and clear decision-making at work. Mindfulness is therefore an indispensable skill in this current climate to lead well in any contemporary organisation.
Emerging generations also report having different expectations of leadership from previous generations. They want emotionally intelligent leaders who are self-aware and are able to inspire them and lead by building authentic relationships rather than by authority derived from hierarchy. They want to be included in decision-making, and respond more enthusiastically to consensus models of leadership.
Keeping a peaceful mind
Develop the emotional competencies of metal toughness to reduce pervasive anxiety and improve health outcomes, decision-making, executive control and performance at work. Emotional self-control enables leaders to manage their emotions while under intense pressure and radiate confidence to those around them.
Leaders who have highly developed self-control are able to ‘respond’ rather than ‘react’ to challenging situations. Mentally tough leaders act as shock absorbers in an organisation by protecting the vulnerable and shielding employees from the effects of uncertainty and ambiguity.
So, maintaining peace of mind should be one of your most important goals each day, in order to mitigate the damaging effects of stress and increased pressure. Building emotional intelligence and mental toughness into company cultures is now vital.
For more information on Developing Mental Toughness for you and your team, contact [email protected]