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Leading in the post-pandemic era

2020 has been a year that we will all remember. I hope you and those you care about are feeling safe and well. Let’s hope that the next year will be a better one for all of us.

Now that the physical health threat of COVID-19 is easing in Australia, the mental health impact is a growing concern. This is hardly surprising – given all the uncertainly, fear, anxiety, unemployment, financial stress, substance misuse, social isolation, domestic violence, and more.

The Productivity Commission’s report on mental health gives us a sense of scale. It states that over 5 million Australians are struggling with mental health issues. Sadly, about 9 Australians lose their lives to suicide each day. 

While our government and the community sector respond on a larger scale, we as leaders and managers of our organisations can continue to make a positive difference. The mental wellbeing of our employees is of prime importance in this challenging and uncertain environment. 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” – Leo Buscaglia

Through conversations with other leaders, I often find that we can be so focused on employee wellbeing, our own wellness can take a back seat. 

I believe that if leaders are well, we are in a better position to offer support to our teams. There’s a domino effect in role modelling positive behaviours.

My own self-care plan is simple, and works for me. I have a regular massage, I try to exercise regularly, I watch what I eat and I make sure that I get a regular 7 hours sleep a night. I also schedule ‘me’ time each week to relax and do things that re-charge my energy levels.

When it comes to employees, I find that genuine empathy makes a huge difference. If we are truly concerned about their wellbeing, our words and actions will be far more effective. If I notice any change in behaviour – perhaps they seem distracted or not coping with their work – I make time for a personal chat or go for a coffee outside of the workplace. The change of environment can be a great catalyst. 

What are you doing to look after yourself and the wellbeing of your employees?