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Brain circuits

How to help your team navigate personal challenges

Published 29 June 2022 in Brain circuits • 3 min read

How to help your team navigate personal challenges

There are a lot of things causing trauma across the globe right now: COVID-19 is still working its way through the population, there are supply shortages and prices are rising, the war in Ukraine shows no signs of easing and the United States Supreme Court decisions are increasing polarization and distressing a large percentage of the population. This is a good time to take a step back and consider, as a leader, how you can help your employees navigate emotionally difficult situations. Checking in on your employees’ mental well-being is an iterative process. Here are some tips to help you do it effectively:

Help your team members build their psychological capital

Leaders can help employees cultivate their own mental resources: this is what we refer to as “psychological capital”. This term encompasses four elements: self-confidence, optimism, will power and resilience. These are all critical qualities for strong performance. Learn more about what you can do to foster these elements in your team members here.

Be a strong ally

It’s pride month, so everyone is showing their support for their LGBTQ colleagues, which is wonderful. But as a leader, you need to make sure that you are a strong ally 12 months a year. Learn some tips about how you can do that better here.

Understand what your employees need

One universal human need, and your employees are no exception, is a sense of competence and achievement: a feeling that they are doing something well, that they are succeeding, improving and learning. Research shows that this feeling of progress is an important source of motivation for people at work. The manager who can create an environment in which people experience progress will have a positive influence on their behavior. Learn how to do that here.

Support employees with chronic illness

Even prior to the pandemic, studies show that up to 60% of people currently live with at least one chronic illness, meaning it’s likely you are already dealing with this in your workplace on some level. Based on recent research regarding chronic illness at work, here are some suggestions for leading employees who have chronic illnesses with more empathy.

 Learn the signs your employees need your help

People’s mental health may fluctuate just like other health condition. Learning how to recognize that a mental health issue may be brewing is vital. So, how can you ascertain whether an employee’s behavior may require assistance or intervention? We advise leaders to consider three factors: impairment, severity, and duration. Consider these both individually and together to help guide you in deciding when to intervene. Learn the specifics here.

Keep an eye on your expat employees

Being an expat increases the risk of depression and anxiety: this is mainly due to a lack of support and connection. Expats must manage the practical and emotional challenges of relocation away from family and friends and without a support system (at least initially). This makes them more susceptible to developing feelings of isolation, stress, anxiety, even depression. Learn how you can help here.

Further reading: 

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing by Adam Grant (The New York Times) 

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