Mental illness is taking centre stage in the workplace – not only because of its profound personal costs but also the impact it has on the business from absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover. Employees are calling for greater support at work, and it’s becoming clearer than ever that managers play a pivotal role.

In the role of a line manager, you will feel like you need to be a counsellor, psychologist, mentor, parent and colleague. It’s a tough gig…but a rewarding one.

We may be given the jurisdiction to manage people, but we are not always given the training to provide us with the necessary skills, nor are we born with them. 

There’s never a truer saying than ‘You can’t love someone until you learn to love yourself’. Well, it’s hard to understand and manage someone until you seek to understand and manage yourself.

It’s so important to learn to self-manage. You have to fight against the stuff that is happening in your work and personal life. Have the ability to take a step back, and ensure you have a consistent approach, no matter what.

By adopting this behaviour, you will find that your team will want to talk to you. Not just about work challenges, but challenges they may face in their personal lives.

People management isn’t just about managing others. It’s about encouraging conversations to build a connection, bond and alignment. Take time to discover what makes people tick, be authentic, show you care about them as people not just from a career development perspective. By doing this you will gain trust and understanding. Trust drives engagement and engagement drives productivity.

And most of all, never underestimate the power of listening and being available to talk – it could make a huge difference to someone’s day.

THE POWER OF LISTENING