Insight
Mental Fitness

How to turn your leaders into mental fitness role models

Dr Fran Longstaff
January 20, 2022
6
min read
leader organising team

Upskilling managers and leaders is key to creating a culture of Mental Fitness

The Great Resignation. COVID-19. Hybrid. Today’s managers and leaders face the perfect storm of headwinds – and two years on from the start of the pandemic, they’re running on empty.

The risks facing our workforces as a result of these headwinds are immense: problems like absenteeism, presenteeism, burnout and mental ill health are estimated to cost employers an average of £42bn per year.

And culture trickles down from the top, so if our leaders are stressed and facing burnout, the cultural and commercial impact for our entire workforce could be severe.

Worryingly, our responses to these challenges still remain far too reactive. We are fanning the flames, rather than removing the fuel.

At Fika Mental Fitness, we advocate a different approach: proactive, preventative mental fitness training.

We wouldn’t take on physical challenges like a marathon or obstacle course without any training – so why expect our leaders to navigate the perfect storm of headwinds they’re facing without training?

That’s where Mental Fitness training comes in

Fika Mental Fitness offers proactive, preventative training to help your people manage the challenges they’ll face at work – building their positivity, confidence, focus, motivation, and ability to make connections, handle stress and find meaning in life.

At Fika, we advocate fiercely for prevention before cure. Reactive initiatives like mental health awareness training and courses in dealing with stress and anxiety can only do so much.

However helpful these initiatives might be in supporting individuals who are struggling or in crisis, they can’t prevent mental health decline, nor can they completely offset the costs of mental ill health at work (from cultural and financial costs, to costs in human capital). The return on investment with effective preventative training is much higher.

And it’s important to note Mental Fitness training doesn’t just prevent mental health decline. It sets our teams up for success, improving productivity, engagement and staff retention – with potential to transform workplace culture and commercial results.

Making Mental Fitness role models of your leaders

Putting your own oxygen mask on before helping others is as important as ever when it comes to mental fitness.

Leaders often feel they ought to put their teams first – but in order to protect their colleagues, leaders actually need training in how to proactively build and protect their own mental fitness first and foremost.

By creating mentally fit leaders – motivated individuals with a growth mindset – we create space for mentally fit teams and mentally fit organisations. Seeing leaders visibly putting their own mental fitness training first creates a culture where others are empowered to do the same.

Mental Fitness training for leaders

Fika offers evidence-based courses in looking after yourself as a leader, learning to lead, and how to model positive behaviours as a leader. Led by expert psychologists, and featuring tips and techniques from peers, these courses can be easily embedded into the working day through five-minute bitesize exercises.

At Fika, we customise these courses to fit your company culture and integrate them seamlessly into your employees’ day-to-day work lives – both through digital and in-the-flesh activations.

To hear more about how we can help transform your company culture from the top down, improving employee engagement and retention and maximising team collaboration and productivity, get in touch: hello@fika.community 

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Dr Fran Longstaff
Head of Psychology

Dr Fran Longstaff is Head of Psychology at Fika Mental Fitness. With more than 15 years' academic and applied experience in sport and exercise psychology, Fran oversees Fika's Behavioural Science output, designing and implementing organisation-wide Mental Fitness training programmes for Fika's client-base of more than 80 businesses, education institutions and healthcare organisations. She is passionate about training leaders and managers in how to build their own and their team’s Mental Fitness in order to transform the culture, output, productivity and happiness of their workplaces. Fran worked as a lecturer in Higher Education for 13 years before joining Fika, and still works closely with Fika's board of academic experts.

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