Wayne Brophy

Nov 15, 2021

International Men's Day 2021: What Can Leaders Do To Support Their Teams?

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International Women’s Day doesn’t go by without noteworthy celebration each year. But when it comes to International Men’s Day, many people aren’t aware of its existence. The issues impacting men's wellbeing need to be given equal precedence, especially considering 75% of UK suicides are committed by men.

There are several objectives of International Men’s Day, with promoting male role models and gender equality, and a focus on men’s mental health being just a few. In this blog, we take a look at how to implement these at work, and what leaders can do to support their teams.

Consider your management techniques

In the modern world, management skills are much more than simply telling people what to do, and when to do it. Put it this way: If you were experiencing a bad mental health day, and someone suddenly demanded something of you, how would you feel?

Today, both male and female employees are much more involved in their work. They appreciate being able to have an input, contribute to growth, and take action. It's all about bringing people along for the journey, and for this, leaders need better soft skills.

As Leadership Consultant Pete Lowe mentioned in our ‘What now? Building high performing leadership teams’ webinar, empathy is key, and pulling together all parts of making a team is crucial. He specifically suggested using the words ‘I believe in you’, to show you care.

Bawling and shouting is a thing of the past. By displaying compassion, you come across as an approachable leader. So often, employees feel unable to tell their manager how they're feeling. To change this, you need to build a mental health culture...

Create a mental health environment

Make it clear that your workplace is an environment where all team members can open up. Staff should feel able to talk about their problems, so hold one-to-one meetings or casual catch ups where you can routinely ask the simple question: ‘how are you doing?’. Don’t approach it like a formal situation or escalate things to HR, just aim to be a supportive manager who treats mental health the same as physical health.

This may feel scary if you're not 100% sure how to act, but the best thing you can do is listen. Interrupting with ill-informed advice, assumptions or comments can create a negative experience for the employee - especially men, who are known for struggling to open up in the first place.

A workplace can be a really good sounding board for male employees. Spending eight hours a day with people (even virtually) is a long time. And in fact, many men actually find it easier to open up to other males than to their partners and families.

The likes of men's sheds and male-only support groups are proving very effective. Whilst you don't have to recreate these, ensuring that your mental health culture includes supportive colleagues will make a world of difference.

Supporting men this International Men's Day 

Such cultures can’t be created overnight, but every action you take works towards building the right environment and supporting men in the workplace. If you’d like to learn more about International Men’s Day and the help they have access to, visit this website.

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