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Leadership & Mental Health

Mental health is critical to fostering a healthier and more compassionate society.  Addressing mental health is not only crucial for individuals but also for the well-being and success of organizations as a whole. Today, we want to shed light on the unique challenges that leaders face in maintaining their mental health while leading companies and provide strategies to help them navigate this demanding landscape.

Leadership is a responsibility that brings both immense rewards and considerable pressure. Executives and senior managers are tasked with making critical decisions, managing teams, driving growth, and navigating complex business environments. However, the demands of the role can sometimes take a toll on their mental well-being, making it essential to prioritize self-care and mental health support.

Here are some of the unique challenges leaders may encounter and strategies they can employ to maintain their mental health while leading their teams.

Image of a woman holding her head in her hands with a laptop.

Balancing Work and Personal Life

Achieving work-life balance can be particularly challenging for leaders who often find themselves pulled in multiple directions. It’s crucial for leaders to establish boundaries and carve out time for self-care and personal pursuits. Encouraging a healthy work-life integration within the organization can also foster a supportive environment for all employees.

Coping with High-Stress Environments

Leading a company entails managing high-stress situations, such as tight deadlines, financial pressures, and demanding stakeholders. Leaders must prioritize stress management techniques, such as regular exercise, mindfulness practices, and seeking professional support through therapy or coaching as appropriate. Encouraging open dialogue around stress management within the organization can also reduce stigma and foster a supportive culture.


Dealing with Isolation

 The higher up the corporate ladder, the greater the sense of isolation leaders may experience. It’s vital for leaders to proactively build strong relationships and seek support, both within and outside the organization. Joining professional networks or participating in peer support groups can provide avenues for connection, guidance, and shared experiences.  

Leading by Example

 Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping company culture. By prioritizing their mental health and openly discussing its importance, leaders can set a positive example for their teams. Encouraging open conversations, implementing flexible policies, and providing resources for mental health support demonstrate a commitment to employee well-being.


Seeking Professional Help

 Just as leaders value expertise in their respective domains, seeking professional help for mental health concerns is equally essential. Engaging in therapy, counseling, or executive coaching can provide leaders with valuable insights, coping strategies, and a confidential space to explore challenges.

Strong leaders are the driving force behind companies’ success.  By embracing Mental Health Awareness Month, we can foster a culture that prioritizes mental health for all members of our organization. It’s time we destigmatize mental health challenges and create an inclusive workplace that empowers leaders and employees alike to prioritize their well-being. Together, we can build a healthier, more compassionate, and resilient organization.

Thoughts from our Founder & President Jackie Kindall

Early in my career I was known for being the last one in the office on a consistent basis. I worked hard and neglected my mental and physical health. I remember one of my close friends saying that if she ever starts her own business, she will hire me because I am the most dedicated, committed employee she’d ever seen. At the time, that statement made me feel proud. It was like a badge of honor I carried around with me. Eventually the pressure and stress took its toll. In my early 40s I begin to have significant digestive issues. After months of pain, discomfort and inconclusive medical tests, I accepted the fact that perhaps the digestive issues were connected with the complete imbalance in my life. Could stress be the culprit? I’d run out of other possible causes.  

I made a conscious decision to put my health first, including my mental health. It was around that time I began deepening my emotional intelligence, to include stress management and building resilience, and acupuncture. I also changed my relationship with work and the way that I worked. I made it a point to delegate more in a way that was empowering to others, and I even set an alarm on my phone that told me when it was time to go home. True story… what can I say? LOL

Here’s what I know to be true about prioritizing your mental health: No one can do it for you. You are the one to do it for yourself. And it starts with creating boundaries for your life. One challenge that comes up consistently with many leaders that I work with, is the number of meetings that they are required to go to or requested to attend. Meetings are creating a significant amount of stress at work. Whether it’s going from one meeting to the next back-to-back all day, or feeling ill prepared for each meeting, a persistent heavy meeting culture can lead to stress and burn out.  

There is joy and relief in creating space to do meaningful work outside of all the meetings. Here’s what works for me and leaders I’ve worked with:

  • Time blocking – block out time on your calendar just for you to think and be strategic.
  • Take a break or two – carve out lunchtime on your schedule every day even if it’s just 30 minutes for you to nourish your body.
  • Set boundaries for when meetings start and end for each day – this might look like not having meetings first thing in the morning or not having meetings at the end of the day.
  • Create space between meetings – adopt a company-wide practice of having 45-minute meetings instead of one-hour meetings. This works well by giving you and your team members time to jot down follow up notes post meeting and regroup before the next meeting.
  • Evaluate each meeting request and ask yourself “is this a meeting I really need to attend?” “Is this a meeting we really need to have?” “Can someone else go on my behalf?” “How intense is their meeting schedule?”

Be bold and create space and boundaries that support your life and well-being. You’re the one to do it!

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