Mental and Emotional Health in the Workplace
Poor mental health is one of the biggest issues in the workplace today, causing over 70 million working days to be lost each year, costing Britain £70-100bn – Mental Health Foundation.
Many of us believe difficult issues in our lives should stay out of the workplace. Our businesses are more concerned with productivity and targets. This means that as long as a team member meets their responsibilities, we are largely unconcerned about what might be going on with their life outside of the office.
Most of us still believe that it’s unnecessary to discuss personal issues. Something we might only consider relevant for HR. However good mental health should be a priority for any business. Staff who are valued, supported and engaged are more motivated and productive.
Mental Health Awareness campaigns such as Heads Together are trying to break the silence and encourage people to talk more openly about their mental health:
“Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives.”
Four Indicators of Workplace Well-being
If talking to someone is the first step for getting help and support when we’re in need, how can we develop good mental and emotional health over the long-haul? What practices can we adopt that will enhance our well-being, as well as maintaining our performance levels at work?
Emotional Intelligence or EQ has been described as “the ability to identify and manage your own and others’ emotions”. It can be outlined in these four ways:
Knowing our strengths and limitations is vital to our success in the workplace. This helps to ensure we pursue that which we excel at. It also helps us identify those areas where we need training and development to move on in our career. Emotional intelligence goes beyond our skills and abilities to what we’re like under pressure, how we work as a team, and whether we have the softer leadership skills to see others excel too.
Seeing things from other people’s perspective
Being aware of other’s strengths and limitations is just as important. Listening is a key skill for leaders. Leadership is about being able to see beyond what’s in front of you. It’s about developing that ability to see what’s going on beneath the surface. Strong emotional intelligence leads to self-confidence that isn’t dependant on the behaviour of others but is willing and able to see things from their perspective.
How others see us is a key indication of our emotional intelligence. Do they see us as collaborative, engaged, and teachable? Or unpredictable, critical and indecisive?
Our response under pressure is difficult to hide and our emotions can easily betray us if we have no healthy way of handling a challenging situation. Confrontation and disappointment can’t be avoided. It’s unsurprising if we feel anger or frustration at those times. However it’s how we respond that determines how successful we are becoming at managing those emotions.
Is Mental and Emotional Health A Leadership Skill?
Increasingly we recognise that physical fitness can affect our mental success. Emotional Intelligence has also been described as “a different way of being smart … a key to high performance at all levels, particularly for outstanding leadership”.
Whether we like it or not, how we deal with our emotions is a key leadership skill. Whilst we may feel socially discouraged from talking about how we are feeling, having the means to do so in a healthy way is vital. Acknowledging our emotions and being able to express them appropriately helps to avoid our stresses spilling over into anger, frustration, and even fear. All of these so-called negative emotions impact our performance as well as those around us. As a result we become less effective at what we do.
“It’s been shown that when people don’t acknowledge and address their emotions, they display lower well-being and more physical symptoms of stress, like headaches. There is a high cost to avoiding our feelings. On the flip side, having the right vocabulary allows us to to see the real issue at hand–to take a messy experience, understand it more clearly, and build a roadmap to address the problem.” – Harvard Business Review
How Music Facilitates Change
We’ve found that music is an incredibly powerful way of connecting with people. It opens up emotions in a non-threatening and accessible way, connecting to the heart of an issue. Even in a corporate environment. Using music we facilitate how emotional intelligence can strengthen your leadership skills and help to move your organisation forwards.
Find out more about how our clients have been surprised and delighted by the impact that’s had on their business.