Managers can have a greater impact on the mental health of their team members than a therapist or a doctor. New data from workforce management and human resource company UKG suggests that almost 70% of people find their line managers affect their wellbeing just as much as their partners do.

Time for managers to pause and reflect

Management comes with its own set of unique responsibilities, of course, but the notion that one’s own performance might impact colleagues in this way may well be a sound reason to pause and reflect.

Leaders can produce results by

  • being aware of what’s going on around them and
  • demonstrating empathy and compassion
  • appreciating their critical role in creating and sustaining positive mental health
  • considering the actions they take to support those they oversee

Understand your impact

People are influenced by everyone around them, of course, but individuals in leadership roles have a particularly large impact. Team members tend to pay close attention to their managers’ performance, to what they say and do.

Ask co-workers how they’re doing. Tune in when they may be down or need a bit of help with tricky tasks. Connect them with any support that they may require. Demonstrating empathy may seem simple and self-evident to many but doing so can have a significant impact.

Set the scene

You can expect more positive outcomes when team members are connected to the values of a company or organisation. Leaders play a central role in promoting those values and contextualising the ways in which colleagues’ work matters.

In an era of remote and hybrid working, where labour forces and management structures may be more diffuse than ever before, it is important to give people goals to work towards and reasons to care.

Be available

Leaders can positively affect their colleagues’ wellbeing by making sure that they are available to hear queries and concerns. Even basic things like responding to emails in a timely manner and being clear and concise in communication can go a long way to maintaining team harmony. Present and receptive managers are key elements of healthy, trusting and positive workplace cultures.

Rather than simply directing workflow and staying above the fray, managers can build rapport within their teams and organisations through collaboration across departments, full involvement in activities and tasks, and the fostering of strong relationships.

Challenge people

While people don’t like to be stressed, they often respond well to being challenged. Managers can succeed when they give team members chances to grow and develop.

They should be curious about their co-workers and the things that motivate them. Some might aim for promotion or seek to undertake new projects; others could be looking for new external training and learning opportunities. A team leader who nurtures talent and facilitates achievable goals will see the benefit of such efforts.

Manage yourself

It’s not unusual to see leaders protecting team members from stress or challenge by saving the toughest tasks – or even more work – for themselves. However, managers should avoid doing this. After all, co-workers will take note of how their superiors manage their own duties and take a lead from those choices.

Training and empowering others, delegating jobs and ensuring good coordination are all effective methods of avoiding an overloaded to-do list.

Our training can help you ensure that your influence on team wellbeing is a positive one.