Why a good manager always cares about mental health, not just during a pandemic
We’re living and working in trying times and how we engage with our team members on a daily basis has changed dramatically. A good manager, both today and in a post-pandemic world will always keep the mental health of their employees at the forefront of their leadership.
It’s long been known to good managers that an unhappy employee leads to poor productivity. A satisfied employee will use more initiative and work more productively in an autonomous environment. This aspect alone makes the new world of remote working a reason for managers to focus on the mental stability of their team members.
Good managers and leaders care about the wellbeing of their employees, not just because they require a certain level of empathy to manage teams effectively, but because it benefits the success of the business as a whole.
What can good managers do to ensure their employees are satisfied and happy in their job?
Always make professional help available to them
In times of stress and frustration, it’s not uncommon for employees to ‘work through it’ but doing this can have a serious impact on their mental health. As their leader, your staff should know that professional help is available to them whenever it’s needed. a great manager is one who is trained to handle such situations at a professional level, even when you’re working in different buildings.
If your staff member needs some time off, designate their tasks to other members of the team to eliminate the stress of huge workloads on their return.
If they approach you with a query or issue, listen to them. If you’re drowning in a big workload yourself, then put aside some time to talk to them at a quieter part of the day. Really try to find a solution to their problem and help guide them through the process in taking measures to reduce their stress levels.
When you’re working remotely, it can be difficult identifying telling signs of mental instability. So, ask questions and listen intently. Set aside a time at least twice in the week for one-on-one catch-ups with each member of your team.
All workers want to feel seen and appreciated. A dedicated window of time to talk about their progress lets your team members know that you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to their satisfaction at work.
Boost their motivation
I think we’ve all felt a little down-trodden and unmotivated at some point over the last six months, no?
In a matter of a few short days, businesses closed down, living rooms turned into offices and many jobs were on the brink. If this isn’t enough to make you feel a little directionless, then what is?
If some members of your team have become unmotivated, build them up and let them know they have your full support and that it’s okay to feel a little down. If workload and other factors permit, consider allowing them to knock off early so they can go for a walk to clear their head.
When communication breaks down, the next cab of the rank is progress. That’s right – if your employees don’t know whats’ required of them, then how can you expect them to feel guided and secure in their job?
It’s normal for personal matters to collide with work matters. This part of being a good manager can’t be avoided, so expect external factors to have an effect on your team’s productivity. Listening to how they’re coping can ease their mental stress significantly. An average leader will listen but great managers will take the necessary steps to alleviate some of the added burdens that work is creating.
When your employees are working at home and away from the support of their team members, can you blame them for feeling overwhelmed when you send them a 50-page document and ask them to summarise it before tomorrow?
Technology has taken leaps and bounds in recent years to allow for teams to collaborate more effectively in remote working environments. In fact, Microsoft has a whole platform dedicated to team management. Microsoft Teams allows you and your entire team to communicate on the go or at the desk. From this platform, you can access, share and edit the same word documents that your team member see. For project-based businesses, platforms like Slack even let you categorise your conversations according to individual projects and campaigns.
Set realistic goals
Without goal setting, micromanaging can very quickly ensue. Setting reachable goals and helping your staff stay on track to achieve them is a sign of good management.
A great manager should consider the extent of work involved in each goal and be wary of how long it will realistically to achieve them. It’s normal to have high expectations for your employees – in fact, it’s a good thing – but these types of management behaviours can be very problematic. If you break it down and realise there work you’re planning to set out for them is impractical, then decrease it.
Stretching their capabilities beyond reality is not going to do their mental health much good.
A good manager will master the art of constructive criticism when there are areas of improvement that can be made from a staff member. People make mistakes, there’s no avoiding that. Positive management behaviors include recognising their mistakes and giving them ample time to correct them. How would you feel if you made an error on a large document because you weren’t educated on how to do it properly or given enough time to perform the given task accurately?
If you constantly criticise and put your staff members down, then it can only have a negative impact on their self-confidence in the workplace. It’s important for a good manager will lift their team members up. Sending them a long-form email is one thing, but taking time out of your day to sit down with them and work through their errors is another.
Were to next?
At Australia PEO, we’ve been working with dozens of remote international teams long before the pandemic rocked the world as we know it. We know the difference between a poor manager, a good manager and a great manager and the impact all of these have on the performance of our teams and the people within it. To find out how we do that, contact us today.
A mentally fit team is a mentally fit business.