Let’s start by getting clear on what I mean by ‘mental health’.
I’m talking about your mental strength. The ability of your mind to be actively aware of what you’re thinking, and how your thoughts are driving your emotions, your behaviours and ultimately the results you’re getting.
That’s mental health.
It’s not about the physical health of your brain. It’s about the ability to get your brain to work for you. To be intentional with your thinking in a way that allows you to create the emotions and behaviours you need to reach your goals and get the results you want.
So often, companies and individuals try to improve their performance through actions.
Every performance development process I’ve been a part of has focused on how to behave.
What actions to take.
What true leaders do.
A step by step how-to approach.
But here’s the thing. The only way to take effective, long-term sustainable action is to manage what you’re thinking.
If you want to improve your performance at ANYTHING, you must strengthen your mental health.
Here’s an example.
If you’re eating a salad, and the whole time you’re thinking about how much you’d prefer to be eating pizza, it makes it way harder to eat the salad. The feeling you generate with that thought is resentment or deprivation.
And then you know what happens eventually? You’re sitting on the couch with an empty pizza box, my friends. It’s inevitable.
The more you think ‘pizza’, the more your result is devouring a pizza.
But if you’re thinking “I only eat things that are good for me” or “I salads will help me get to my goal”, or I’m only putting things in my body that get me to my goal”… then you might be feeling more determined and committed to your goal and eat the salad without resentment or deprivation.
And it’s the same with your performance at work.
Pick any result in your performance that you want to change and explore what thoughts might be getting you that result.
So I propose that the future of performance development for yourself or for HR departments needs to be founded on thought management. Not behavioural management.
Behavioural management is a by-product of thought management.
Forget about teaching people how to act like a leader. Teach them to think like one.
Forget about teaching people how to give feedback. Teach them to get intentional about what result they want, and work that back to how they need to think to get that result.
Forget about tolerating a bad boss situation, and start choosing new thoughts to start changing how you view the relationship. I promise it’s going to impact how you show up.
Both employees and organizations should investigate the opportunity to revamp their development systems and plans to incorporate teaching themselves and their employees to THINK their way to improved performance.
That’s what mental health at work looks like!
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