January's topic on Projectmanagement.com is all about resilience. I wanted to share something that I've seen and dealt with in the past few weeks that touches on this topic. We all get knocked down, we all have days that we struggle but when you have more bad days than good, it's important to seek help before it gets completely unmanagable.
Since the start of January, 4 peers have approached me saying they have been signed off work for their mental health. What was different about this, was not the fact that peers reached out to me but that it was 4 people within 1 month. When I delved deeper into the reasons behind why these people were signed off sick, there was a variety of reasons:
If you are struggling, then here are a few suggestions for what you can do to build your own resilience and improve your mental health:
When I have spoken to my peers and friends about this and why so much of this is happening now, they all sympathised with the situation and could definitely relate to it. I wanted to ask the community, what they are doing to maintain their mental health? Are they seeing more colleagues/friends struggling at the moment? How do you support these people? Here's what I am doing:
Feel free to message me if you're struggling or need advice. I am happy to try my best to support you and do not forget: Please reach out to professionals if you need help:
Leadership. It’s hard. It’s something that we all aspire to be better at. We’ve all seen the impact and influence that a good or bad leader can bring to our lives, both professionally and personally. During October, Projectmanagement.com focused on the theme of Leadership and I posted a Hot Topic on the subject.
For me, I like to read each of these replies thoughtfully and analyse for myself:
In my Hot Topic Discussion post, I wanted to gather from the community their thoughts on the following: What are the skills that make a good leader? Are you a born leader? or is it something that you need to learn?
The reason that I wanted to ask this was because in my role, I see a lot of good and bad leaders but I also see people in non-leadership positions who really are, natural born leaders. Thomas Walenta was one of the first to reply and stated a very important fact: “Many sources and views exist on it”. Isn’t that the truth! You just need to search for “Leadership” or “Leadership” tools and you are bombarded with blogs, articles and opinions for how to be the best sort of leader in their opinion. Thomas continued in his post to state something which I completely agree with: “Leadership capability grows by learning skills and experiencing life. You might have features you were born with that help (e.g. if you develop a deep voice and grow above 2 meter heigh), but socialization has a major impact on you being a leader”
The discussion continued with some fantastic contribution from the wider community, also giving space to what makes a bad leader. This was also something for me that I’m glad that so many people discussed. Being a bad leader is very rarely a black and white thing. Tamara Tonkosic said one attribute is: “a person who does not help their team grow or value their strengths, skills, determination etc.”. This point in itself really made me think about my own role and attitudes to my own teams. Am I recognizing the skills that exist within my teams? Am I developing them as much as they deserve?
Another post that I wanted to highlight from my post was William Turno, who gave a lot of insight from his experience for what makes a good or bad leader and encouraged us all to treat the team as family and learn from them.
Let’s take a moment to also look at the fantastic articles that have been published this month and can also help us understand more of ourselves as leaders but also what we are looking for in becoming a good leader. Mark Mulally believes that leadership starts with empathy and understanding in his article on “Lead yourself first”. I have to agree with his conclusion that the start of becoming a good leader is to lead by yourself. For me, this means committing to my own professional development but also giving myself the skills necessary to be able to support and lead my teams effectively.
In Bruce Harpham’s article on: “Using reflection to improve your leadership skills”, I thought that the idea to “experiment” and having the courage to try new things a really great takeaway. When I was becoming a Scrum Master and moving into a more servant leader role, I was scared. Scared that I was going to make a mistake or scared that I would ruin my reputation. It was living and adopting an agile mindset that gave me the opportunity to fully embrace failure and being able to try different ways to lead teams and it’s been something that I’ve been doing ever since!
One of the biggest take away for me during this month of Leadership topics has been just how much more there is to learn! I’d love to hear from you in the comments about what you’re doing to become a better leader or what you’ve found useful from this months’ topic.