LCP LCP LCP
Skip to content

5.1_Mental_Health_and_Leadership

I was once in a meeting where one of my colleagues started crying. It was nothing dramatic. In fact, most people didn’t notice. We’ve adjusted so well to a virtual workplace that we might miss the sadness in someone’s voice or tears in their eyes.

Our work interactions are transmitted by pixelated video, and we appear as thumbprints on a screen. Unfortunately, the hybrid environment makes it easier to hide the mental health challenges that we might be experiencing.

Leaders are excellent at hiding their feelings and challenges, no matter what the environment. We constantly hear about the importance of workplace mental health. We want our teams to feel supported and thrive.

But what happens when we as leaders struggle? How do you know when you need to take a break or, more importantly, get help? It’s good to know some of the early signs and symptoms of the languishing leader.

  • Fatigue. Fatigue is one of many symptoms that people might experience with stress, anxiety, and depression. If you have a hard time getting up in the morning and a hard time falling asleep at night, you might be experiencing fatigue. The tired feeling doesn’t go away. Maybe you are too tired to interact with your friends or otherwise participate in social activities. Your lack of physical energy can turn into mental exhaustion.

  • Loss of Focus. What happens when your brain gets tired? Your ability to concentrate lessens, and it takes more energy to do simple tasks. Making decisions like what to wear or what to eat can feel as complicated and complex as business decisions. This could be a sign that you are overworked or over-worried. Do you have difficulties understanding or relating to other people? Do you feel confused or have trouble paying attention? Our inability to focus might mean it’s time to slow down, but it may also lead to anger.

  • Frustration. You may feel a moment of frustration when you are stuck in traffic, but when you get home it goes away. A persistent feeling of anger or irritation is something to watch out for. Our bodies are meant to handle brief instances of stress and anxiety.

So when you feel any signs or symptoms that last longer than two weeks, it’s time to take care of yourself. Pay attention to prolonged feelings of irritability or anger. Watch for mood changes that aren’t tied to external events.

Various mental health conditions may have overlapping symptoms. Be mindful of these as well:

  • Excessive worry or fear.

  • Feelings of sadness for prolonged periods of time.

  • Changes in your eating habits or the use of such substances as alcohol or drugs.

  • Differences in your work performance or personal relationships.

5.1_Mental_Health_and_Leadership_2

Feeling terrible is tough, so please remember that solutions are out there, including things you can do for yourself or clinical support from your doctor or another mental health professional. Knowing and understanding your feelings is a great first step to recovery. You can feel better. You are not alone.

As a leader in your organization, people notice what you do and when you model good habits. Your work is not going to become suddenly easier and less pressured. Although I love recommendations for self-care, the practice of yoga, and moments of quiet, my life doesn’t always allow me Zen time. Now is the time to focus on things that you can control.

  1. Regulate your sleep habits. Have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine that starts a few hours before you plan to sleep.

  2. Monitor the food you eat. Food is medicine for the body and the mind. Making healthy changes to your diet can impact your mood as much as your waistline.

  3. Create connections. It is important to have a network of friends and colleagues you respect and share a common purpose with.

  4. Move. How often do you stand, walk, exercise? How often do you look at screens? How often do you look at the sky and the world around you? Taking a moment in your day to move or reset your focus can help you recharge.

  5. Communicate. The way you communicate at work and at home is important. Be clear, be concise, and be authentic in expressing your needs. Include empathy for yourself and others when you communicate.

  6. Observe your ways of working. Do you have too many meetings or too few or not enough time with the right audience? How are projects managed? Do you eat lunch or take vacations? Do you dive deep when you should delegate?

  7. Ask for help. Know when to say yes and know when to say no. Feeling isolated makes you think that you should do everything on your own. You are a part of an organization and a community. Asking for help doesn't make you a lesser leader. Instead, you are modeling collaboration and authenticity. It is also important to seek professional help if you are struggling. A doctor can discuss options that are best for you.

When you struggle with your mental health, you feel out of control. Tackling what you can control can reduce your fatigue, improve your focus, and end your frustrations. You cannot have a healthy workplace if you have not prioritized managing your own feelings. Take time this May, which marks Mental Health Awareness Month, to think about your mental health and try strategies to keep you at your best. 

*******

Note: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition that you are experiencing. Please reach out to your doctor if you have any concerns about how you are feeling.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Let's Talk

We'd love to hear about your leadership development goals.

Leave Comment

Recent Posts

4 Ways to Extend Your Leadership Training Into Daily Work-featured-image
4 Ways to Extend Your Leadership Training Into Daily Work
Click to view 4 Ways to Extend Your Leadership Training Into Daily Work

After completing a leadership simulation, you might find yourself asking: What comes next? The transition...

Category:-  Featured , Business Simulation , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post
Leading With Care: 7 Mental Health Strategies for Leaders-featured-image
Leading With Care: 7 Mental Health Strategies for Leaders
Click to view Leading With Care: 7 Mental Health Strategies for Leaders

I was once in a meeting where one of my colleagues started crying. It was nothing dramatic. In fact, most...

Category:-  Featured , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post
Who Are You? Unlocking Self-Aware Leadership-featured-image
Who Are You? Unlocking Self-Aware Leadership
Click to view Who Are You? Unlocking Self-Aware Leadership

Tune in to any leadership book, podcast, or workshop, and chances are it’s about doing leadership: how to...

Category:-  Featured , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post
Spring Is in the Air: Lighten Up Your Leadership Journey-featured-image
Spring Is in the Air: Lighten Up Your Leadership Journey
Click to view Spring Is in the Air: Lighten Up Your Leadership Journey

Note: This is one blog post in our Season of Leadership series. Read about winter and summer, and keep an eye...

Category:-  Featured , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post
Leveraging Decision Data for Organizational Excellence-featured-image
Leveraging Decision Data for Organizational Excellence
Click to view Leveraging Decision Data for Organizational Excellence

How does your organization quantify leadership effectiveness beyond subjective self-assessment reports and...

Category:-  Featured , Business Simulation , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post
Leadership Illuminated: A Q&A with Women Shaping the Future-featured-image
Leadership Illuminated: A Q&A with Women Shaping the Future
Click to view Leadership Illuminated: A Q&A with Women Shaping the Future

Four years ago, just before heading back to work after the birth of my second child, I spoke to my close...

Category:-  Featured , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post
Digital Handshakes: Embracing Virtual Networking-featured-image
Digital Handshakes: Embracing Virtual Networking
Click to view Digital Handshakes: Embracing Virtual Networking

In today's evolving professional landscape, virtual networking has become vital for corporate leaders looking...

Category:-  Featured , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post
Your Guide to Bringing Strategic Leadership to Life, Part 2-featured-image
Your Guide to Bringing Strategic Leadership to Life, Part 2
Click to view Your Guide to Bringing Strategic Leadership to Life, Part 2

Back in September, in a blog post titled "Your Guide to Bringing Strategic Leadership to Life," I explored...

Category:-  Featured , Business Simulation

Learn More Click to view blog post
New Offerings to Help Your Leaders Succeed-featured-image
New Offerings to Help Your Leaders Succeed
Click to view New Offerings to Help Your Leaders Succeed

At Insight Experience, we believe in the constant evolution of our offerings to meet our clients'...

Category:-  Featured , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post
Lead from Your Feet: The Leadership Benefits of Taking a Walk-featured-image
Lead from Your Feet: The Leadership Benefits of Taking a Walk
Click to view Lead from Your Feet: The Leadership Benefits of Taking a Walk

Recently, a member of my team asked if they could sign off a bit early to go for a bike ride, “now that it...

Category:-  Featured , Leadership

Learn More Click to view blog post