Mental Health – Are Senior Managers most at Risk?

Mental health Ellus Fox Blog

While construction is one of the few sectors that is experiencing more growth and showing resilience to the effects of the pandemic as we end 2020, one has to ask, at what cost? Some main contractors are posting better than expected profit margins, but others have had to downsize and make redundancies. While the press may highlight the company, it’s the top managers having to make the difficult decisions. And it’s this level of stress that often leads to – dare we say it – mental health issues.

One of the aspects of battling COVID is the stark reality that many patients who don’t make a recovery, die alone and isolated. It’s not a pleasant thought to dwell on at all. Because mental health issues carry with them such a stigma, most people simply won’t talk about the issues they’re dealing with or acknowledge that it is something to be concerned about. Senior managers especially will just soldier on, perhaps even going as far as to admit they’re under pressure and experiencing a great deal of stress, but rarely doing anything about it. Anxiety can be just as silent and lonely a killer as COVID, and people should not lose sight of that.

It is senior managers that are helping companies navigate these challenging times, driving change, implementing new systems, technologies and policies to create a more resilient organization. They’re the ones negotiating terms on major contracts, putting out fires when they occur and having to oversee the productivity and wellbeing of multiple teams. Who is looking after them? What can companies do to ensure that the people holding the ship together aren’t the ones being shipwrecked in the process? Here are three things to consider:

Create a conversation culture:  When people build genuine relationships based on regular conversations with one another, it becomes easier to check in and find out if they’re really okay. A culture of having open conversations can make it easier for people to admit when they’re taking strain.

Focus on learning and primary objectives:  Spacex recently had a $200 billion rocket crash land during a flight and while many would have viewed this as a disaster, Elon Musk’s response was the opposite. He hailed the flight as a major success, adding that the team learned everything that they needed to from the flight and could move forward with the project.

Provide the resources needed:   Whether it’s having the right technologies and infrastructure to work from home or empowering managers to be able to make critical decisions, companies and people will fare a lot better when they’re not also having to deal with avoidable stresses.