Almost every night Lewis comes home from work and spends at least half an hour venting to his wife about his job. He easily loses patience with his two young children and finds that he has trouble sleeping. In the morning, he feels down and reluctantly sets off to work again.
Lewis wishes he could feel motivated, but the last six months have been difficult because of constant changes in the workplace and a lack of direction from management. This has negatively affected how Lewis feels about his job. At first, there were discussions about the changes but lately, he hasn’t been given a lot of warning about anything. At anytime he could be told to stop working on a project, be re-assigned to another team, and even relocated to another desk in the building. He and his colleagues are often in conflict over workload and areas of responsibility. Lewis is confused about his role within the organization and it’s left him feeling unengaged. He knows his performance isn’t as good as it used to be but its hard to care when it feels like others aren’t really looking out for him.
Although Lewis isn’t real; his situation is for 32% of working Canadians.
According to an Ipsos survey commissioned by the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, 16% of Canadians are not happy in their job. Like Lewis, 32% of respondents in the survey said clear leadership and expectations were a serious or significant concern in their workplace.
In fact, “Clear Leadership and Expectations” is one of 13 factors defined in The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace — factors shown to impact the mental health of individuals in the workplace.
Guarding Minds at Work defines clear leadership and expectations as “present in a work environment where there is effective leadership and support that helps employees know what they need to do, how their work contributes to the organization, and whether there are impending changes.“
The benefit to employers and employees
Workplaces with clear leadership and expectations ensure employees understand their responsibilities and their role within the organization and that they are prepared for change. Benefits from doing so range from:
3 steps towards clearer leadership and expectations
First, figure out what’s going on. Talk to staff and conduct a review. Find out if “clear leadership and expectations” is viewed by staff as a strength or a weakness within the organization. If it’s perceived as a strength, then brainstorm ways to protect and improve upon it. If it’s an area that’s lacking, Guarding Minds at Work offers many ideas—here's a summary:
The leadership at Lewis' company could still turn things around and reduce workplace stress by checking into the resources and tools at Guarding Minds at Work and by having all managers sign up for the new IncludeMe workplace mental health training app coming out this fall.
And you too can get on the "early adopters" list to be among the first to get access to the IncludeMe app — our free, fast, simple and innovative way for managers to learn about the importance of a mentally healthy workplace and actions you can take to positively impact your employee’s mental health. Just sign up below!
Blog post produced by Canadian mental health charity Iris the Dragon. Iris the Dragon is a solutions-oriented, social enterprise, employing proven and effective approaches and delivery formats to address the challenge of social inclusion of those with a mental illness in our society.