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Interim executives: support your employees’ mental health 

As an interim executive, you are responsible for managing a team of people so the same way you support them work wise, you must support them mental health wise too. Keep reading to get some tips on how to approach the conversation of mental health, while keeping yourself healthy too.


Build an environment of connection that allows staff to be open about their mental health

This prevents staff being too scared to tell you about a mental health problem and perhaps even getting worse. You need to clearly communicate that mental health matters and it will only lead to support not discrimination. Ensure that you come across as approachable by arranging regular one-to-one meetings where you ask your team how they’re genuinely doing and getting on. This will help build up people’s confidence to speak up and get the help they need.


Model healthy behaviours

Talk about what you do to keep up good wellbeing with your team. Share that you’re going on a walk during your break to clear your mind, that you’re taking a day of annual leave to reset or perhaps that you have a therapy session coming up.


Spot the signs

Don’t assume that someone is experiencing a mental health problem, but you can spot clues such as changes in their performance, mood, behaviour, lack of focus. Schedule a 1-1 meeting with them to check that they are okay and create a safe space where they feel they can open up to you or another member of staff, so that you can cater to their needs.


Learn to have a conversation with someone about their mental health

Choose an appropriate place that is private and quiet and encourage the person to talk by asking simple and non-judgemental questions concerning their triggers, how it impacts their work and the support they need from you, so you can set up an action plan together. If there are grounds for concern, such as low performance or absence, be honest right from the beginning. Remember to keep any conversations you have about people’s mental health highly confidential.


Make adjustments

Once a staff member has opened up to you about their mental health, create an action plan that includes simple but effective adaptations. This may include working from home, decreasing workload, giving more positive and constructive feedback, regular debriefs. Remember, everyone’s experience is different, and people may need adjustments that differ from the usual day-to-day processes in place; for example, people who are neurodivergent, tend to be much happier in quieter environments. These changes will help to unlock the unique talents of each individual and help them feel happier, comfortable and motivated at work.


Remember not to get too wrapped up in focusing on your teams’ well-being to the point that you forget to take care of yourself.

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