Board Director/Chief Executive Officer
This page is for people in senior positions.
Those at board and equivalent levels are key to promoting individual and organisational health and well-being. The expressed or implicitly transmitted beliefs and attitudes of directors and the senior management team will set the tone and culture of the organisation especially when sensitive issues are addressed – particularly stress and mental health.
- Everyone in your organisation has a responsibility for tackling Work related stress.
- By leadership you can set the culture of the organisation to recognise that organisational and individual health are key components of business performance.
- Many employers underestimate the extent to which employees are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression and other forms of mental illness. Often there is unintentional discrimination and stigmatisation against sufferers.
- There is a strong business case for promoting mental health and well-being and minimise work related stress.
- Most organisations will have stress related problems, even if they do not call them that. The key is to find out, in a systematic way, where the problems are, and how and why they are happening.
- You will already have measures in place to tackle work related stress and be doing many of the parts of the process we describe. The Management Standards process provides a method by which required change can take place, and a standard to measure performance against.
Your role in the Management Standards
- Train: A first step might be to use training at board level to familiarise senior management about some of the key concepts. This will send an important and positive message as the training cascades to the rest of the organisation.
- Policies and procedures: Make sure your organisation has effective policies and procedures. Your Health and Safety policy (a legal requirement) could have a section devoted to stress and mental health. You also have other legal duties, including the responsibility to do suitable and sufficient risk assessments.
- Listen: Consider any proposals from other board members, and think about the legal, moral and business cases for action.
- Audit: Work out with your board members if you are doing some or all of the Management Standards already. Help the discussion to focus on what sort of planning, resourcing and structuring the project needs.
- Commit: Senior management commitment at the early stage is vital for successfully delivery of targets in the longer term. Be willing to commit sufficient resources to run the project and to properly implement interventions resulting from action plans. Commitment means releasing resources – until you reach a successful conclusion. Directors and senior board members could demonstrate commitment by chairing of steering committees or other fora or activities.
- Communicate your vision: Tell your board and employees what you would like to see happening, and keep telling them throughout the lifetime of the project.
- Support: Support those people in the organisation who manage the project day-to-day.
- Encourage: Encourage your employees to take part so that they feel that their ideas and suggestions have value.
- Lead by example
- Monitor: Check on progress by getting regular feedback from the steering group(s).
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Your role with individuals
- Mentor others at the senior management level.
- Update: Make sure, with your human resource and occupational health advisers, that you have up-to-date systems and policies for dealing with individual concerns.
- Recognise that there may be a problem for other board members – whose behaviour may be having an impact elsewhere in the organisation.
- Be positive: Show a positive and helpful attitude to stress and mental health issues at individual levels.
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