If you’re a supervisor or manager, you know that employees expect you to do more than set targets and organize the work. They also expect you to be an ally, a protector, and sometimes a confidant. They expect you to support their well-being.
Frontline supervisors and managers must balance the needs of the organization with the needs of employees. Sometimes these demands are in sync, but sometimes they are at odds. Effective managers must navigate it all. “Managers feel the natural messy humanness that exists in our organizations the most,” says Shelley Pacheco, VP of People and Culture at WSPS. “Becoming a strong, confident manager who can wade through this, feel inspired and continue to inspire and motivate others is a journey.”
Because of these competing pressures, managers and team leaders are more likely to develop common mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and burnout. As a manager, it is difficult to empathize with and address the stressors employees are facing if you are not experiencing positive mental health yourself. In August 2022, Benefits Canada reported that they conducted a survey of 1100 leaders from 11 companies. According to the results, 96% of respondents reported feeling exhausted and indicated that their mental health had declined. The desire to provide adequate support for the well-being of employees was among their top stressors.
Get the tools you need in Psychological Safety in Practice: A Guidebook for Managers
Amy Edmonson, the author of The Fearless Organization, defines psychological safety as “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.” Managers and supervisors are extremely influential within an organization when it comes to creating a psychologically safe workplace. However, they need to feel this level of safety themselves from their peers and senior management before they can create this environment for others. But where to start?
That’s why Psychological Safety in Practice: A Guidebook for Managers was created. This free download provides the tools and strategies to help managers and team leaders create a psychologically safe workplace—for themselves and for their team members.
This practical guidebook includes expert insights and tips, exercises, and real-life scenarios. It is divided into five sections, outlined below, to give managers the information and skills they need to connect with employees and support their mental well-being.
- Embrace psychological safety—This section describes the manager’s role in creating a psychologically safe workplace and includes a simple exercise to assess the degree of psychological safety that exists in the workplace.
- Become an authentic and inclusive leader—This section explains what inclusive leadership looks like and provides information on managing emotions and building healthy connections.
- Foster resilience and mental well-being—This section highlights the reality that employees can’t always ignore the problems they face at home while they are at work. It provides tips on how to recognize and manage warning signs.
- Nurture learning and growth—This section challenges our natural tendency to view people and situations with a fixed mindset, which is critical to learning and growth.
- Learn from the experts—In this section, Dr. Bill Howatt and Milena Braticevic, Ph.D. discuss some real-life scenarios.
How WSPS can help
- Download a copy of Psychological Safety in Practice: A Guidebook for Managers
- Visit the Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap site to build your action plan.
- Mental Health Infographic Poster
- Quick Safety Tips: Workplace Psychological Safety - Watch these quick safety tips to find out what it means to have a psychologically safe workplace, the role of managers and supervisors, the positive outcomes on worker mental health and the workplace, and steps to get started.
- Check out a variety of mental health and well-being resources to protect employees from mental harm.
- Leading for Psychological Safety in Challenging Times (in person, 1 day)
- Workplace Mental Health: How Managers Should Respond (in person or virtual, 3.5 hours)
- Psychological Health and Safety for Workers (eCourse, 1 hour)
The information in this article is accurate as of its publication date