Harnessing Strengths for Optimal Mental Health

Professor Martin I. Jones
5 min read
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Written by Professor Martin I. Jones

In the hustle and bustle of the business world, mental health often takes a backseat until a catastrophe strikes. When businesses lose staff to stress-related medical leave and burnout, the reaction is typically to roll out mental health talks to those that remain. Support is crucial for those struggling, but for those not struggling, is a presentation on mental health the answer?

Put yourself in this situation. You are sat in a mandatory presentation on mental health with the presenter teaching you the skills needed to survive work stress.

What is the message conveyed by such a presentation?

The company values employees and is actively investing in mental health. An alternative is “learn these skills, or you are destined to have a stress-related illness”, or “this job is so stressful that without this intervention, you are doomed”.

Is that the reality of your organisation that as a leader, you must actively prevent mental ill health; otherwise, your staff will suffer a psychological breakdown? I sincerely hope that is not the case!

I am not downplaying the experience of the people who are struggling. Depression, anxiety, stress and associated conditions are real and require treatment. Statisticians estimate that around 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health problem in the workplace each year.

But if we re-frame those statistics, 4 in 5 people do not experience a mental health problem at work.

Returning to our presentation example, 80% of your workforce could be sitting in a presentation and told they would break down if they didn’t learn how to deal with stress. But those 80% might already have a rich repertoire of stress management skills.

By embracing a strengths-based approach to mental health, you could help to avoid downstream breakdown. Still, more importantly you could unlock a world of untapped potential, productivity, and well-being.

We can cultivate a foundation for success and fulfilment by embracing and harnessing our innate strengths. Strengths-based psychology draws from the idea that everyone possesses unique strengths, talents, and capabilities.

Recognising and nurturing these inherent qualities, we unlock confidence, competence, commitment, character and connection. Rather than focusing on what's wrong, we shift our attention to what's right, allowing individuals to thrive and unleash their full potential.

One of the core principles of the strengths-based approach is to foster a culture that values and amplifies strengths. As leaders, we can create an environment that encourages employees to discover, develop, and utilise their strengths in their work.

Identifying strengths requires a deep understanding of oneself and one's team.

We can align tasks and roles with individuals' strengths by focusing on self-awareness. By doing so, we see we enhance their performance and cultivate a sense of purpose and engagement.

Regular feedback and coaching play a pivotal role in implementing a strengths-based approach effectively. Leaders must provide constructive feedback that acknowledges and reinforces strengths while offering guidance for improvement. This creates a supportive atmosphere that promotes growth and development.

Lastly, it's crucial to remember that strengths are not fixed entities; they can be developed and honed over time. Encourage continuous learning and provide opportunities for individuals to cultivate and expand their strengths. Investing in their growth fosters a sense of personal mastery and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

In conclusion, embracing a strengths-based approach to mental health is a game-changer in business. By recognising and amplifying individuals' unique strengths, we create an environment where fulfilment, productivity, and well-being thrive. Let's unlock the potential within ourselves and our teams, paving the way for a future where mental health and optimal performance go hand in hand.

If you would like more information on how Duratus could help your teams then simply email us at info@duratusUK.com

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Professor Martin I. Jones