When it comes to an employee’s mental wellbeing, bosses can play an outsized role. In fact, a 2015 Gallup poll revealed that around half of people have left their jobs because of a bad boss.
It’s understandable too. Without steady guidance, workers tend to feel adrift, unsure of what’s expected of them.
That can be even worse in a work environment where stress and anxiety are already high. In such environments, a toxic boss can increase your risk for depression and even make it more likely that you engage in bullying behaviour yourself.
It’s therefore imperative that anyone who manages people educate themselves on creating a workplace that’s conducive to positive mental health.
While there’s no simple way of doing that, you could do a lot worse that watching the following TED talks:
Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe
Simon Sinek is one of the world’s most well-known management theorists and a TED mainstay. In this talk, he suggests that a great leader is someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust.
“The world is filled with danger, things that are trying to frustrate our lives or reduce our success, reduce our opportunity for success,” Sinek says.
A good leader makes their team feel that they can take all of those things on. As he notes though, creating such an environment comes with serious responsibility.
“When a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people inside the organization first,” he says, they’re making the choice to set aside their own comfort.
Get it right though and the rewards can be immense.
Itay Talgam: Lead like the great conductors
You might not think of an orchestra as the most stressful work environment out there, but it absolutely can be. It requires dozens of people to be to be perfectly in tune with each other, all working to create something wonderful.
Ensuring that everything goes smoothly on the night is the conductor.
In this talk, legendary conductor Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.
According to Talkgram, one thing that every leader — whether they’re in charge of an orchestra or a communications department – should try do is spread happiness.
“This happiness,” he says, “does not come from only his own story and his joy of the music. The joy is about enabling other people’s stories to be heard at the same time”.
Susan Cain: The power of introverts
When it comes to mental wellbeing in the workplace, many bosses assume that more social time and team events are all you need to sort everything out.
For some employees though, those self-same things can be an absolute nightmare. For certain kinds of managers, it can be tempting to write off this kind of introverted employee.
As Susan Cain notes in this talk however, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn … then lead
When it comes to high-stress working environments, you don’t get much more intense than the heat of a battlefield.
In this talk, four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military.
While the stresses of military life are obvious, leaders also need to build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets.
According to MyChrystal, the best way to do this is by listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.