This month we've tossed around many ideas about creating work environments that promote good mental health for staff, employees, and customers. We've also talked about work-life balance and ways to re-align with your center. This week we are going to take a look at the qualities of mental health conscious company leadership. From the CEO to the shift leader, these traits help create safe work environments, employees who enjoy their jobs, and will likely improve the over all well-being of your workforce.
In Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, there are 7 principles that guide experiencing awareness. If we apply those principles as aspects of management, we generate a reduced stress work culture, with more productivity and overall healthier employees. Below are the 7 principles and suggestions as to how it applies to Management.
Non-judging - The principle of non-judging reflects on the manager's ability to create a safe environment so that others feel welcome to share their personal feelings, health needs, and concerns. Everyone, at some point, has taken a "mental health day" from work, and created some elaborate story to share with the employer to avoid backlash of needing to miss work. Mental health conscious managers understand this and seek to create space so that employees feel comfortable just saying, "hey boss, I'm going through some tough things right now and I need a day to sort it out."
Patience - The principle of patience is having the understanding that things, people, situations will unfold as they do, when they do. The mental health conscious manager is comfortable allowing employees to not be perfect, and being willing to assist in any fashion to help them be successful. Successful employees equal successful business.
The beginner's mind - This principle is essentially, you don't know everything just because you're in management. Cultivating awareness that every situation, although similar, is not the same as before. Every employee is a different human being, and there is no "one size fits all" in mental health.
Trust - This principle is fairly straight forward. Trust in yourself, trust in your employees, trust in the company itself. It's a culture and you, as a manager get to create it.
Non-striving - This is by far the most difficult principle even for mindfulness meditators. Non-striving does not mean "no effort," and it's a slippery slope at times. It does mean backing off of pursuing goals with the outcome in mind. The mindful manager is aware that the more energy directed at a particular outcome, drains the gains of the outcome. It's similar to the difference in telling your 4 year old, "don't jump in that puddle," and saying to your 4 your old, "remember to keep your pants dry."
Acceptance/ Acknowledgement - Mental health conscious managers practice acceptance and acknowledgement of what is happening in the present moment. It's human nature to want to bury our heads in the sand when things are difficult, however acceptance helps us recognize that what is happening is happening, and also having the awareness that it's not going to be happening forever, at least in the same way. The rise and fall of the business bank account is a good example. During tourist season, small business' on the coast make bank! And most close for the winter. Everything ebbs and flows.
Letting go - When has holding on to angry thoughts or words in the business world ever benefited anyone? This principle helps remind managers that each moment is a new one. If an employee needed a corrective action, once that is executed, it's complete. That corrective action and the feelings, or vibes around it, should not follow the employee around. In addition, as a manager, if you hang on to those feels, you're asking for a headache. Each moment is fresh, and an opportunity if you choose to allow it to be; for yourself, and your employees.