Embracing Mental Health Awareness in Leadership

2024-05-10T10:45:54-07:00 May 10th, 2024|Tags: , , , |

If there’s one good thing that came out of the pandemic, it seems to have become more acceptable to talk about and prioritize mental health. But is this also true for leaders?

Historically, there has been a stigma around leaders being open about their mental health. There is often a misconception that leaders must embody an image of strength, decisiveness and unwavering confidence at all times. This stereotype can make them hesitant to disclose or even admit mental health struggles for fear of being perceived as weak or incapable and even worse, losing the respect of colleagues or employees. So, leaders choose to suffer in silence, further perpetuating the stigma.

Lack of time due to a busy schedule can also keep many leaders from addressing their mental health issues. Already struggling to find time for everything in their life, mental health can be the last thing they think they have time to prioritize.

What leaders may not realize is that being silent and sidelining mental health can not only start to affect them personally but can negatively impact team morale and overall organizational performance. Why? Mental health significantly influences how you interact with others and make decisions.

A leader close to me recently went through something traumatic in their life. Due to the stigma and their too-busy schedule, they didn’t prioritize dealing with the toll this trauma had taken on their mental health. When another trying situation occurred in their professional life, they weren’t able to handle the dilemma properly because they had not dealt with the hit their mental health had taken previously. It greatly affected their ability to lead their business and employees and make decisions.

Thankfully, this leader recognized the importance of prioritizing themselves and their mental health and got the help they needed. But I do know of many leaders who waited too long and sadly eventually had mental or physical breakdowns resulting in stress leave or having to give up their career or business for a time.

In episode 10 of the LeaderImpact Podcast with guest Darci Lang, she talks about the idea of “feed me first”. Feed yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, and psychologically first and only then should you focus on feeding everything and everyone else in your life. If you aren’t taking care of yourself first, how can you expect to be as effective in taking care of others and/or a business?

At LeaderImpact we believe a relationship with God provides the ultimate strength and purpose in life, including genuine support and hope on your mental health journey. (Note that we are NOT medical professionals and this should not replace treatment from a medical professional.)

Our Groups for leaders are a great place to explore what a relationship with God looks like and find support and understanding from other leaders on your mental health journey. Remember “feed me first”… Choose to prioritize yourself and your mental health today and check out a LeaderImpact Group. Find out more about groups: https://leaderimpact.ca/join/