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The Coaching Effect Blog

    Where Mental Health and Leadership Meet

    by Anna Schott / March 22, 2021

    Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography

    Uncertainty has been running rampant for quite some time, and leaders have likely watched their team members struggle with anxiety, burnout, depression and much more. There's no doubt that today's events are taking a toll on our mental health. In a study of global employees it found that the mental health of almost 42% of respondents had declined since the Covid outbreak began. And with all of the events that have happened since then, the figure has most likely increased. 

    Companies, especially leaders, are remiss if they don't increase their focus on workplace mental health. It's a topic that must be understood and acknowledged frequently, especially during the uncertainty people of all ages, race,  job type, caregiving responsibilities, and many other variables. 

    << Webinar: Max Out Mindset - Where Mental Health and Leadership Meet >>

    It's why EcSell Institute works closely with Dr. Larry Widman, a performance psychiatrist and elite mindset coach, who was willing to join the Institute in a webinar earlier this year covering the evolution of mental health in the workplace and discussing the role it plays in maxing out as a team unit. You can listen to the webinar below or the watch it here

    Here were three of the many topics that were covered in the webinar:

    1) The Taboo Nature of Mental Health in the Workplace

    The stigma around mental health in the workplace is thankfully not as taboo as it once was. Americans especially had the mentality of picking themselves up by the bootstraps and get on with it and are now finally shifting their mentality realizing how much that mantra has hurt more than helped them.

    It does not help if leaders in powerful positions don't talk, address, or shame others for their inability to move forward "per usual". It's not uncommon that many, based on their own family upbringing, find it to be a barrier to not only get help in times of need, but also get help for people they're leading.

    TIP: The more we recognize that it's the brain that impacts everything we think and feel, it gets a little bit easier for people to talk about it. Make sure people understand that it's a brain injury, or a brain illness, just like any other injury in our body and it's okay to get help. 

    2) The Foundation of Maxing Out

    When thinking about high performance, think about the four legs of a stool, otherwise referred to as the high performance stool. Whether you want to be the best manager, best CEO, best surgeon, best teacher, or the best athlete you know you've got to max out your physical leg of your stool. 

    There are components to the stool such as a technical leg which is the skill leg of whatever you're trying to accomplish in life. There's a tactical leg that involves goal setting, game planning, etc. And then there's a mental leg which is the development of what makes up an elite mindset.

    TIP: You cannot get to an elite mindset unless you take care of your mental health. Many high achievers struggle a little bit more with their mental health and if you don't take care of the mental component, whether it's depression, anxiety, or something else, then you can't train the next leg of the stool. So take care of your mental health if you want to be great at anything.

    3. Ignore versus Attack 

    Many are worried about being shamed or thinking about what their bosses, coaches, or leaders will think of them if they're struggling with any mental component of their life. It's easier to ignore it, especially if they don't know where to go and get help.

    For example, think about what athletes do when they get injured. Alexi Pappas, the Olympic runner and Greek world record holder, trained in the United States. She recently described falling apart mentally with depression. And she explained how injured athletes are given prescriptions and training to recover knee, leg, or foot injuries - they just attack it! Athletes do everything the trainer says and fully live it and embrace it. And once she heard her psychiatrist say that depression is no different, but it's a brain injury. 

    Why don't you attack your brain injury like you would a physical injury? It was a complete shift in mindset for her. There can be a series of things to do to attack one's mental health challenges and manage it, because it's like any condition - you have to manage and attack it.

    TIP: View mental health as a way of attacking a problem versus ignoring it or being ashamed by it. One of the most common things that humans struggle with, especially high-performers, is anxiety. There's a solution for every problem and treating anxiety or any mental condition can require the same prescription as you might find for anything you're trying to improve in life.

    To learn more about creating an elite mindset in the workplace from Dr. Widman, watch the full webinar on demand and check out his book here. Register for Part II in this series here:


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    Tags: Emotional Intelligence Leadership Development Building Relationships

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    Anna Schott

    Anna Schott

    Anna Schott served as Ecsell Institute's Director of Marketing.