For The AXA Growth Leaders Series, we’ve been working with The Supper Club to bring together successful entrepreneurs and thought-leaders to share their insights and experience on how to lead with a growth mindset. As part of this, we are exploring how the health and wellbeing of business leaders and their teams’ contributes towards developing a growth mindset culture.
Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA Health, discusses the importance of health and wellbeing within the workplace and what business owners can do to develop a positive wellbeing culture within their business:
Q. How important is good health and wellbeing in terms of supporting a growth mindset and business success?
A. Looking after your own health and wellbeing – and that of your employees – makes for a robust workforce.
A growth mindset requires a healthy mind in order to develop sufficient psychological flexibility to support mental wellbeing. Between 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem this year1, sufficient enough to detrimentally impact workplace performance. Being proactive towards wellbeing can help harness a healthy workplace culture. This can help see your business through times of uncertainty and embrace opportunity.
Q. What are the more common health and wellbeing-related issues facing business owners and their employees?
A. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, aside from so-called minor illnesses such as coughs & colds; musculoskeletal problems and mental health issues were some of the most common reasons for workplace absence2. However, with the stigma associated with mental health problems still having an impact on disclosure, such statistics may only show part of the picture.
The effects of ill health on business are not limited to absence alone. Presenteeism – where employees attend work when physically or psychologically unwell and perform below par – can be a burden too. Recent research shows that this cost businesses twice as much as absence3 and can be much harder to manage.
In regards to managing mental health, it’s important to remember that we are affected by a number of pressures in both our working lives and our personal lives. When these pressures exceed our perceived ability to cope, it can lead to stress, anxiety or depression.
Stress* is something we all experience; it is a normal and essential part of life. We are very good at managing this sympathetic nervous system response to threat, if we give ourselves the opportunity. However, in our ‘always on’, busy lives we don’t give ourselves the time to recover from the constant micro-dosing of stress. Stress can therefore become chronic as it prevents our brain from engaging in flexible thinking meaning we are always ‘stuck’ on alert which can lead to more difficult mental health problems.
Then there are the insidious habits, traits and characteristics that can affect the performance of individuals and, ultimately, impact the business too. These can include:
- Perfectionism. This occurs when someone refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. This can pose a significant threat to the performance and productivity of an organisation
- Imposter syndrome. This occurs when feelings of self-doubt at work result in people being fearful of being exposed as a fraud, inadequate or a failure – despite evidence proving the opposite