How to Address Mental Health and Burnout as a Manager 

Jan 24, 2022
brown haired woman experiencing burnout in an office face down in open laptop with post-it notes on her head and shoulder, background of overwhelmed people in office with post-it notes covering them

Your time at work takes up over 40 hours per week, that's 160 hours per month and 2,080 hours per year. Over the past two years, the amount of time we spend working has gone up. In addition, due to COVID-19, there's an increase in the severity of mental health conditions affecting individuals. “According to a Talkspace survey, 50% of employees believe that work has become too stressful as of this past summer.” The leading causes of stress include busier days, inability to disconnect, and high employee turnover. 

Now, what does that mean for managers and team leaders? While employees struggle with their mental health, employers have the opportunity to change the environment that's causing the mental health decline. By addressing mental health and burnout within your team, you foster trust, growth, and retention. However, managing mental health can be tricky. Let's focus on the Pause, Play, Perform thought-challenge and discuss our current patterns, exercises, and sustainable solutions.

Pause 

Did you know that 63% of US workers are ready to quit their jobs due to stress? And 67% of employees are prepared to resign because employers have not fulfilled pandemic promises around mental health and well-being? (source)

 As a manager, you're in a unique position; while you can't make any company-wide changes, you're able to make team adjustments, you're able to build trust, and you're able to support your team. 

 Thought Exercise: Write down three lists. 

List #1: Write down everything your company offers to help mental health and burnout. 

List #2: Write down what's missing and what could be improved.

List #3: Write down everything you, as a team leader, can change, add, and adjust to support your team. 

Play 

To thoughtfully and intentionally discuss mental health, it's essential to educate yourself on best practices and any potential HR or HIPPA violations. Start by setting up time with your HR department. 

 Comfort Zone 

Next, explore your comfort zone. We have all struggled with mental health and burnout at least once. What are you comfortable sharing? Next, you need to work towards gaining your team's trust. As they begin to trust you, they'll feel more comfortable confiding in you and reaching out for help. When that happens, be reasonable, listen actively, and offer support. 

 Offer Resources

Educate your team on the resources available to them - whether it be meditation classes, yoga classes, gym reimbursement, or access to mental health professionals. Then, consistently remind them of what's available. 

 Stay Educated & Aware

Look out for changes in your team; are they showing signs of burnout? Or is their energy different? Building a team and building trust also comes with being aware of individual behaviors. If you notice any burnout cues, check in, find ways to support your team member, or even send your team home early. Staying mindful of your team member's behaviors can help avoid burnout and help strengthen their mental health. 

 As a manager, make yourself an ally. Encourage your team to focus on their well-being and give them the space to do so. 

 Here are a few ways you can encourage your team to focus on their well-being: 

  • Establish "No Meeting" days. 
  • If you see a team member working late, check-in to see why. They may be overworked, and there could be ways to support them. 
    • If you notice a team member working late, encourage them to head home early. 
  • Encourage taking breaks, setting boundaries, and not working late. 

 It's important to discuss mental health with your team and help employees manage it. Managing a well-adjusted and supported team will help them work efficiently and improve team culture. 

Perform

Remember, this isn't just about your team's mental health. It's about yours too. Managers tend to struggle the most with mental overwhelm and burnout. So rather than sharing the information, adapt it and see ways to implement these positive habits into your life. 

 Tip: Look to other companies for inspiration: Many companies are establishing four-day work weeks or hybrid workweeks to give employees some of their time back and help them prioritize themselves.

Don't forget to ask your team for feedback. What are they looking for? What would help them with their day-to-day or help to prevent burnout? 

Ultimately, it's up to each individual to manage their mental health. However, employers can make it easier, and your team can grow into the healthiest version of themselves. 

Making mental health awareness a regular part of your workplace conversations and providing resources, support, and sustainable changes (shortened work weeks or accommodations) allows people to feel safe talking about their mental health and seeking accommodation and assistance as needed. 

 

If you’re unsure of where to start, ImprovEQ provides coaching for managers, team-building workshops, and low-pressure virtual seminars. We’re here to help you develop the necessary tools to lead, engage teams, and build community. 

Getting started is easy; schedule a complimentary call with us to discuss the right solutions for you and your team.

 

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