Tag Archives: Workplace

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8 Tips On How To Develop Resilience For Surviving The Modern Workplace Mentally Healthy

One way to notice a well-adjusted and mentally healthy employee is through his or her resilience. By resilience we mean the ability individuals have to bounce back quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Resilient employees have the capacity to handle the strains of the contemporary workplace. This means that they can manage stress well without necessarily placing their jobs in jeopardy. Resilience is good for workplace mental health. It allows an individual to respond to the demands of life without succumbing to pressure. Resilience also allows employees to deal with the demands of their jobs especially if the job requires them to change their priorities often and regularly. The ability to cope with the stresses and adversities of work and daily life requires a change in attitude and thoughts. But, how do you do that? Here are a few ways that employees can develop resilience at work:
8 Tips on Develop Resilience for Workplace

  1. Create and appreciate positive relationships. By appreciating the existing social support you get at work, you become more able to develop positive relationships in the workplace. These positive relationships come in handy later when you need encouragement, which fosters your ability to cope and your resilience as a human being.
  2. Practice viewing obstacles as opportunities or challenges. What can you learn from this situation? Employees can learn to treat difficulties as a platform for learning rather than as an impediment to their careers. Developing the habit of transforming challenges into opportunities is an invaluable skill that leads to self-development, resilience and progress.
  3. Celebrate success, even small ones. Celebrating success and small victories every time they occur fosters resilience. Employees should carve out some time in their day to enjoy the highs in their careers. This trains employees brains to look for the positive and to look forward to possible future successes in their line of work rather than dwell on the negatives or difficulties of their job.
  4. Craft a plan. Developing viable and meaningful career objectives that have a sense of purpose for the individual allows employees to bridge work and other life goals. In this way, they are encouraged to develop resilience even in the heart of adversity as they are working towards a motivating personalised objective.
  5. Develop more confidence. Building levels of self-confidence allow employees to live in the knowledge that they are going to succeed eventually. Despite the drawbacks that may occur, confidence enables people to take risks in their personal life and their careers, which give them the energy to move forward in life.
  6. Learn to see things from a different angle. Resilient people know how to develop perspective, which enables them to understand that although a circumstance may seem overwhelming and impossible to maneuver now, it will not seem so later; ‘in the long run, it’ll all work out for the best’.
  7. Restructure your mind. Learning how to handle tough situations requires, at times, a complete restructuring of the mind. Bad days are inevitable, and learning how to react to them without blowing things out of proportion is part of being resilient.
  8. Be flexible. Flexibility enables resilient people to understand that things are never be constant. As such, being flexible allows people to shift and amend their goals at an appropriate, and healthy, speed.

Resilience is an invaluable skill to have in the workplace as it allows one to handle the difficulties that arise from working in a stressful environment. At the Workplace Mental Health Institute we take resilience very important. It’s a key protector of people’s mental health. Help your employees develop resilience and you immunize them from mental health problems.

Would you like to learn more? We run mental health courses on resilience. Our most popular course is the Building Resilience At Work. Check it out.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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Brain waves

How Will You Lead Differently in 2017?

Brain wavesThere’s no one right style of leadership. Each manager needs to make decisions based on the people who make up her team and what works best for them. However, it’s also true that there is always room for improvement. And that’ll be time well spent since good leadership is strongly associated with improved results overall. The good news, it’s not that hard. By taking some time for some self-reflection and study, you can become a better leader in the new year.

Reflect on What Went Well

Figure out what your leadership wins were in 2016 so that you can build on them in the new year. This starts by writing down your own impressions of where you think you were successful. Think in terms of what you did that got you to a goal instead of just what was accomplished. Hint: you are looking for your own ‘pattern of success’ here.

You should also talk to employees and your manager to see what they think about the year we’ve just finished. What did they feel was especially effective? What did they find surprising or innovative?

… And on What Didn’t


None of us hit it out of the park every time. That’s ok. We are not supposed to. But we are supposed to take the opportunity to learn from what didn’t work. After writing down your wins, take some notes about what you felt did not go well. Were there times you fell short of goals? Times that you felt that you did not make yourself clearly understood to team members? Times you dropped the ball and didn’t delegate as well as you should?

When asking others for their impressions on where there was room for improvement, it can sometimes be better to allow people to be anonymous. Consider sending around a survey or putting out a box where people can drop notes about what they think could have gone better and their suggestions for 2017. One word of caution: make sure that you yourself get into a powerful state before you review feedback. Some of it will not be pleasant. Don’t make it personal even when it feels personal. Remember, you are a leader and the aim is to take what you can out of it and learn how to lead better, not to go into a pity party. If you need to vent, go and vent with someone you respect and can guide you with wisdom, such as your executive coach.

When you are looking at how you did, you should also look at metrics that spell out hits and misses in numbers. Were there more sick days in your department this year than in others? Did you have a higher average than other departments in the company? Were your rates of turnover higher than normal or about average for your company and your industry?

Look Outside for Inspiration

If there were situations that you did not feel you handled as well as possible or areas where you feel your team has untapped potential, look for ways to change or improve your leadership to bring out everyone’s best in the coming year.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is find an example of what we want to be. Modelling your style on the style of someone who you find successful can be an excellent place to start. By looking to others, you can adopt some of what gets them their great results. Who’s the leader you admire or like the most? What is it about them you like?

A leadership coach or a mentor can help provide actionable advice about how to take your current leadership strategies and tweak them to be more effective. These individuals will have the outside perspective you need to see what you are doing well and how you can improve.

Challenging yourself in the workplace is another way to make yourself a better leader, as well. When the people who work with you see you stretching, they often feel more confident about your abilities. You will also likely learn new skills that translate well into better leadership.

Communicate with Your Team

To be effective, change can’t be unilateral. If you want to change procedures in your workplace so that you are more effective, be sure to talk about this with your team. Get them meaningfully engaged. Explain where you feel you all are at the present time, what new results you want to see and what you see as the ways to get there. Make sure you ask them for their ideas and suggestions of what they feel will help you, as a team, get there. Remember – sudden changes can make people feel unsettled or even worried about their jobs. This sort of open communication makes people feel more at ease. It also helps them understand your expectations better so that they are more able to shape their efforts to fit your needs.

Better leadership is, in many ways, the result of deliberate and thoughtful choices. By making decisions based on what you want instead of being in a place where you are purely reactive, you are better able to coax and work together with your team in the direction that will be more successful for you all. Be patient as you try putting new strategies into place. It can take some trial and error to get the results you want. Over time, however, it will lead to better results from your team and a happier, more productive workplace.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

beat post holiday stress

Beat Post Holiday Blues With These 5 Steps

Beat-Post-Holiday-BluesThe holidays can be hectic. And, since even positive stress is still stress, they can wear people out. Even if the people on your team had only positive experiences throughout the holiday season, heading back to work afterward can leave everyone feeling let down. Productivity and mental health in the office can both suffer as a result.

How Can You Tell People Have the Holiday Blues?

It’s not as simple as someone walking around with a glum look on their face. Most of us almost automatically keep a positive or at least neutral demeanor at work, even if we’re not really feeling it. Instead, you may see post-holiday depression manifest in other ways.
Sometimes, someone who usually does stellar work will turn in stuff that just meets the minimum requirements. Others may take longer than usual to get things done. Still others may avoid chatting, come in late or call in sick more often.

No matter how people are showing that they are in a slump, you as their manager can help them turn it around to make things more positive going into the new year.

How to Battle the Blues

Putting a few policies and actions in place to start can get people out of a funk and back to being engaged and content at work. A few things that can help battle workplace depression:

1. Leave the out-of-town messages on.

When people come back to the office after a trip or a few days off for the holiday, let them know it is okay to keep their away messages on on their email and voicemail for another day or two. This gives them breathing room to catch back up with work and to get back into their routine before they are crushed with new incoming messages.

2. Show empathy.

Let people know that it’s okay for them to feel down in the wake of the holidays. Instead of worrying about wallowing, recognize that expressing emotions allows you to properly process them so that you can move on and get healthy. If you are feeling a bit of post-holiday workplace depression yourself, confide in your team members. They need to see that you trust them enough to express emotions to them and that you understand what they are feeling, too.

3. Cut everyone a little slack.

It’s perfectly normal for people to work a little slower or to make a few mistakes when they are just getting back from the holiday festivities. Be understanding when it happens. If people are feeling high stress because they are getting called out on mistakes, that will only multiple issues and make them last longer. In fact, it makes sense to lower goals for this time of year so that you account for time people spend out of the office as well as the time it takes to get them back into the groove.

4. Make healthy drinks and snacks available.

We all overindulge over the holidays. Whether it’s a bit too much to drink or suffering the effects of rich meal after rich meal, it doesn’t leave us feeling our best. Stock the break room with bottled water, seltzer, fruit and whole grain snack bars. People will appreciate the chance to keep themselves on post-holiday diets and to be able to forge healthy habits in the new year.

5. Make it possible for people to get out of work early.

When you’ve just spent a couple weeks at the beach or camping in the great outdoors, it can be hard to adjust to 10 hours a day in an airconditioned box, and an hour or two of public transport either side. If it is possible to offer a half-day here and there or stop work an hour early now and then, consider adding it. People will be grateful for both the extra free time and for the chance to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

The good news is that, after a while, people fall back into their normal routines. By making the transition back into work after the holidays easier, you can help people get back to normal faster and enjoy a healthier and more productive workplace.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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Building a Mentally Wealthy Workplace: 6th Pillar

I was chatting about life and medicine with an experienced doctor recently and he looked at me intently and said ‘you know what Pedro? Wherever there is a human being there is a variable. We never have any certainty. Anything can happen’ He was talking about medicine specifically but doesn’t this also apply to any other area of life? Organisations need to understand this if they are to respond appropriately to mental health problems. How do they do that?

When an organisation makes informed responses, as opposed to knee-jerk, simplistic actions, it demonstrates the principle of ‘understanding complexity’.

People are complex.  That much is obvious.  But it’s depressing how quick people are to label someone who is different to them.  My wife loves structure: a room, computer, a desk, somewhere to focus and crank stuff out.  But to me, just talking about it… ugh. Give me a laptop at the beach, anytime, or a coffee shop, and then my mind starts flowing.  To me, I couldn’t imagine putting someone at a desk and asking them to sit there for eight hours a day – surely that would be torture or they must be incredibly dull and lacking creativity.  While to someone like Emi, wanting to take a laptop to the beach looks like some sort of weird learning disorder / ADD thing, lack of commitment, or simply ‘taking the piss’.  And therefore we’d better put some controls in place to make sure they work and act how I think they should.  That control rankles and it forces the person to perform from a position of weakness, not in a way that amplifies their talents.  This is where we need to examine ourselves and say, “Are we unfairly judging someone because they are different?  Is there a mental health disorder here, or a killer hidden talent?

Remember the canary. What at first instance may look like a weakness, may in fact be a sign of strength.

We are starting to see organisations respond to the mental health challenges in our workplaces. You can see it in initiatives designed to build awareness, like ‘R U OK?Day’.  Building awareness is a good first step, but what happens when you ask someone, ‘are you ok?’, and the answer is ‘No.’  Awareness is powerful, but without knowing what to do next, it’s next to useless.

I’ve often reflected on the role of the manager being ‘to bring certainty and structure to unstructured situations.’  That’s a tough job. We are surrounded by unstructured situations. It’s called life. I think it was John Lennon that said, ‘Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans’. We can expect things not to go exactly to plan. And when things don’t go to plan, managers like to have a process for figuring out what’s wrong and how to fix it. That’s smart! Unfortunately people are incredibly complex.  They have different goals and values.  Different work styles and preferences.  Different belief structures.  And events affect them differently.  There is no manual for ‘fixing’ a mental health problem – only a range of approaches you can try, some of which seem to work better than others.  Would you believe the professionals still disagree about what mental illness even is?  They argue amongst themselves and they write long, impressive papers about it, but in the end, there isn’t a consensus.

The point I’m trying to make is that, for a manager, there isn’t much to be gained by being able to diagnose a mental illness and prescribe a treatment plan.  It’s not your job to do so.  But by recognising that people and situations are complex, taking a step back, and coming at the problem with an enquiring mind, and an intention to help the individual, you can achieve a lot.

Take care, and talk soon.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

man-in-gas-mask

What’s The Real Impact of Toxic Workplaces?

There seems to be general consensus on this one: some workplaces are a haven to work in and many others are toxic.

Having a workplace where people can thrive is good business, and helps avoid a litany of problems. But, this is not just a one sided topic. Even in mentally healthy workplaces, people can experience severe anxiety.

Severe anxiety at work can be difficult to manage. That’s why when anxiety hits your workplace, it’s good to have an insight into what is potentially going on for your colleagues. Watch Pedro Diaz explain to a class of managers and HR managers his past experience of severe anxiety at work.

(Please note: not everyone experiences anxiety the same way, and it is advisable, when appropriate, to find out what it is like for them)

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

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