Mindset Matters: How Coaching And Psychotherapy Set The Framework For Leadership Of The 21st Century

Part II: Building A Healthy Corporate Culture

According to the National Institute of Mental Health there are 46.6 million Americans who struggle with varying degrees of mental health issues ranging from anxiety to stress. Research has shown that for Millennials work and money are often one of the primary factors contributing to there ongoing battle with stress related concerns.  In a recent survey developed by Mindshare Partners a nonprofit that works with companies to improve mental health resources and examine the effects that mental health issues can have on employees showed that 60% of people surveyed have dealt with mental health issues in the past year. Furthermore, the study published in Harvard Business Review highlighted that half of Millennials surveyed (defined in this survey as 23-38 years old) and 75% of Gen-Zer (18-22 years old) respondents have quit a job partially because of mental health reasons. To offer some context, only 20% of the total survey respondents reported doing the same. For baby boomers (55-73 years old), the number was the lowest, with less than 10% leaving a job for mental health-related reasons.

In general, younger generations have been more open and vocal discussing issues of mental health. The study also presented that Millennials were three times more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety than baby boomers, and Gen-Zers were four times more likely.  It was no surprise that Millennials in the survey were also 63% more likely to know how to seek "company support," such as counseling or mental health training. It is these data points that should be a real wake up call to C-level executives and senior managers to be more vigilant on having a better understanding of managing the workforce of the digital age but also how the very culture of work is shifting like sands underneath there feet.

The skills that are needed for great corporate leaders are at a point where they need to be revaluated.  In essence, a paradigm shift is necessary to deal with the challenges ahead and cultivate a culture that is tenable for the future workforce of the 21st century. Executives and managers need to augment their management style by embracing the tenants of executive coaching and psychotherapy modalities.  In the digital age, the very nature of work is changing and how one works is changing along with it. Employees are more spread out, telecommuting is becoming more the norm and the traditional notion of the nine to five job is becoming more antiquated by the day. These factors amongst many others contribute to the new elements of stress that have become more prevalent in the modern workplace.

C-level executives and senior managers must utilize the tools of coaching and psychotherapy to establish a basis of what Reid Hoffman has defined as essential to the employer-employee relationship. By establishing a basis of trust through openness and transparency a new alliance can be formed which redefines the very nature of leadership that considers the need for both sides and emphasizes the power that this managerial style can provide.

In utilizing coaching and psychotherapy as a template for a new managerial style one of the most critical areas that needs to be implemented is the power of empathy. Successful leadership in the digital age needs to see empathy as an instrument that can help employees in numerous ways from building employee confidence, fostering personal job satisfaction and promoting corporate loyalty.

Emotional intelligence should be seen on par with business intelligence, and the merging of the two is vital for the growth of successful leadership. Building a healthy corporate culture is a mindset where people matter, and an organization should reflect that. In an age where invisible disabilities and mental health issues are on the rise, successful leaders must exhibit a broader way of thinking and show that they can have a real understanding that by exhibiting a sense of compassion to the needs of their employees and developing strategies that meet those necessitates they are cultivating a workplace culture that will reap dividends down the line.

In an era where the issues of mental health in the workplace finally have a seat at the table it is important to recognize that this is one of the key fundamentals at the heart of talent management.  To be a great leader of people, it is essential to understand the very essence of human behavior to get the best of both the team and the individual while creating an atmosphere that allows them to do their best work. It is essential that coaching and psychotherapy strategies play a crucial role in the growth and development of future leaders across the corporate environment.

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I was born with Cerebral Palsy which has had a profound impact on my personal, academic and professional life. As a former Policy Advisor to the White House on Diversity...