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Managers and Mental Health

Sometimes, when doing research for our podcast, I come across articles that peak my interest like this one from Forbes: Managers Have Major Impact On Mental Health: How To Lead For Wellbeing (  Feel free to go over there and browse, but I will give you what I pulled from it; managers have a tremendous responsibility to the mental health of their employees. To quote the article “According to 69% of people, their managers had the greatest impact on their mental health, on par with the impact of their partner.”

This means that for more than half of those polled, the most important person in their life was their manager. Think about that for a minute. Managers beat out doctors (51%) and therapists (41%). These are the people that are charged with making sure we are healthy and happy, and still our managers have more impact on our mental wellbeing. That should be a sobering reality for all people leaders.

If you are like me, throughout your career you have had different types of managers, maybe some good and some bad. I have had some that have screamed in my face and others that were willing to work late with me to make sure I got home to my wife in time to see her before she went to her 3rd shift job. These managers taught me different things, good and bad. The bad ones taught me what I never wanted to be, and how I would never want to treat another person. The good ones taught me how to lead, and how to make sure everyone felt seen and valued.

As a manager you are not only responsible for your employees while they are at work, you are also responsible for how you treat them while they are at work. Your actions have consequences. This same article discusses the impact that stress from work can have on an employee’s home life. “64% say it detracts from their wellbeing and 62% say it degrades their relationships.” This means that a number of employees carry negative experiences home with them to their loved ones.

Numerous studies have come out in recent years about the importance of mental health and why it is extremely important  you respect your employees’ right to a stable and nurturing environment when working. This study only further proves that point. Part of being a leader in today’s workforce is realizing that the way you treat your employees will impact their quality of life.

In addition to that, it will also impact your bottom line. Remember that keeping an employee happy is always cheaper than hiring and training a new employee. Why would you risk the cost of onboarding a new employee when all you need to do is treat your employees like people? Remember that they have lives, loved ones outside of the walls of the workplace, and feelings that do now revolve around the workplace. Remember that when you are balancing that extra bereavement day your employee is asking for.

This article, and the studies that prompted it, are indicative of the changing face of the workforce. We no longer see work as what defines us. We see work as something that we do as part of who we are, not the whole. I personally think this change has been long in the making, and is a natural transition in the evolution of the workforce. We can either change with it, or we can watch as it changes around us and get left behind.

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