Why you can’t expect your employees to keep their problems to themselves
The ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ approach is dangerous and bad for business. Its high time to replace it with ‘do ask, do tell, let’s talk’.
“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation” - Glenn Close
Israel’s Channel 12 News has recently begun to fund its employees’ emotional therapy treatments. A statement released by the company explained their new policy as acknowledging and responsibly addressing the emotional stress and challenges their people have been experiencing since the Coronavirus outbreak.
Unfortunately, since the pandemic entered our lives numerous employees and managers in organizations around the world have been suffering from more anxiety and depression than ever. In December 2020. McKinsey presented grave statistics regarding the increase of employees with emotional disorders, alongside a rise in prescriptions for anxiety medication and suicide rates.
A close friend of mine was part of these statistics. Tragically, he took his life.
Managers are a natural risk population, especially in times of chaos. While they experience more stress and performance anxiety than others, they’re also expected to ‘hold the fort’ with resilience and embrace a business-as-usual façade.
According to Lior Bitton, Clinical Manager at ToTalk2 — an organizational emotional consulting company, the source of the problem lies within the managers reluctance to ask for help, and organizational cultures that expect them to leave their problems at home. In face of our current reality, it’s high time to shift from the shameful ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ approach to ‘do ask, do tell, let’s talk’.
Today more than ever, managers have two main responsibilities: to learn how to ask for help and to listen to their people’s emotional challenges, while boldly replacing a culture of concealment and shame with a culture of help and support. Be aware of the people around you, ask open questions and encourage honest answers. If a colleague or employee shows signs of distress, see to it that the receive professional help. Remember: we’re all human, and we’re all fragile.