When things are changing rapidly, what we call accelerated change, it's important to prioritize your mental health. However, mental health seems to be a taboo topic that isn't often discussed in leadership circles. When I lived in Uruguay, I went to a psychologist every two weeks. This wasn't only beneficial for my own wellbeing, but also had a positive impact on the teams around me.
When you feel overwhelmed and stressed, it can be difficult to make informed decisions and communicate effectively with those around you. Taking care of your mental health can help you approach challenges with a clearer mind, be more present in conversations, and strengthen your resilience in dealing with accelerated change.
A good idea is to talk to other leaders about your challenges. There's always someone you trust. In my case, talking to someone about my challenges improved my own morale and the morale of others in the company and created a positive culture of support.
When you look at the Enterprise Agility University's 40+ frameworks for companies, it's no coincidence that organizational health is at the heart of all the models. When I wrote the 2018 book Leading Exponential Change (you can get my book for free here), I defined organizational health as psychological safety plus creating sustainable business value in perpetuity. And “perpetuity” means that you and the people around you need to be healthy to handle unexpected situations.
So don't be afraid to talk openly about your mental health and seek help when needed. Talking about mental health is a sign of strength, not weakness.
If you are a leader, is important that you focus every day in creating a culture that values mental health and encourages seeking help when needed. This may include providing employees with resources and support to manage their mental health, such as access to mental health professionals or employee assistance programs. It might also involve creating a safe and supportive processes and work environments where employees can talk openly about their problems and seek help when needed.
In addition to being able to seek help when needed, there are also things individuals and companies can do to proactively promote mental health in times of accelerated change. These include stress management techniques (I mention a few in mi book), setting boundaries to manage workload and prevent burnout, and fostering a sense of community and connectedness within the organization.
Ultimately, the key to managing mental health in times of accelerated change is to prioritize self-care and seek support when needed. By taking care of your own mental health and creating a culture that values mental health in your organization, you can better deal with the challenges of accelerated change and emerge stronger and more resilient.