Right so let’s recap our last few blogs and action items -you’ve become more engaged in your life and given up your seat on the “I’m so busy being busy” bandwagon, you’re enjoying a more balanced state of mindfulness, enriched relationships and enhanced overall health and well-being.
In addition to all of those amazing benefits connected to being more present you’re also noticing subtle differences in people eg ‘Brendan’ around you to indicate perhaps not everything in his life is as balanced as it should be and you’ve started a conversation “R U O.K?”
In a workplace context it can be difficult to understand how far you can go with your concern, so what is the line between being supportive and intrusive? For those of us who own a business or lead people it can be challenging as you want to help ’Brendan’ but unless you have some idea about what the issue is it can be tricky to offer the right support.
‘Brendan’ may not respond to your initial conversation and that is fine, sometimes you just need to let him know you’re available to chat at any stage if and when he’d like. Remain observant and ‘check in’ with ‘Brendan’ from time to time, that in itself is a powerful thing – someone notices and someone cares and it builds that connection of trust for ‘Brendan’ to then share how he’s feeling and where he’s at.
As a leader you can and you should start conversations with ‘Brendan’ and other team members that you are concerned about. If during your chat ‘Brendan’ discloses he’s struggling with his mental health simply listen, reassure him “you’re not on your own”, ask him “what will lighten your load?” or “what would be helpful to you right now?” and let ‘Brendan’ know “I’m here to support you.”
Offer options and assistance, resist your instinct to take control of the situation or make decisions about what you think ‘Brendan’ needs or wants. You might assume that giving ‘Brendan’ some time off work would be ideal, don’t , because in reality work might be the one place that ‘Brendan’ can go where he can take his mind off things or still feel like he is in control or is good at something.
Follow through and touch base with ‘Brendan’ after your initial conversation as he may be feeling quite vulnerable and he will be looking at how you engage (or don’t) after his disclosure. Alternatively ‘Brendan’ could also be feeling much better within himself knowing that he is supported and there is a positive way forward.
Making the choice to present, taking the time to care about others around us and making it a priority can have enormous ripple effects. Worth it don’t you think?
By Heidi Bishop, Senior HR Consultant