How can leaders in any organization support mental and emotional health? Most leaders are not mental health experts, but they can become skillful and accountable for social health. While mental health experts are great at diagnosing and reacting to breakdowns in individuals, leaders great at social health proactively create conditions in which those breakdowns are far less likely.
Social health arises from satisfying, productive and resilient personal relationships. Leaders who sponsor networks of such healthy relationships create the conditions in which people flourish and prevent conditions that can contribute to mental and emotional turmoil.
Anything that creates disconnection and isolation is dangerous to social and emotional health. Unconscious bias, lack of empathy, poor communication and emotional irresponsibility all create disconnections that damage a network of relationships. The damage can be preempted when leaders develop awareness and skill in essential areas:
Some people are naturally gifted at some, or all, of these four essentials. When we appreciate those people, they can become leaders helping develop the rest of us. The field of play for that development is the conversations we are in every day. Any organization has ordinary, routine conversations that can become conscious opportunities for development. Some are unique to your enterprise, others more common. Discover and shine light on those always-available moments where social health can be hurt or helped. Then, we can work together to weave proven practices into those moments, strengthening the social health that contributes to and sustains the mental and emotional health of every one of us.
To learn more about our point of view on Connected Leadership, watch this short video where we explain what it is and why it matters.