I told my new hire to let me know when she’s having a bad day.


Because I know what it’s like to have a bad day and how it impacts your work.

I recently shared that I’m currently managing burnout and doing my best to practice emotionally intelligent self-care. My burnout is due to a myriad of reasons (feel free to check my last post), and I’m aware that those who work for me also have lives that, at any moment, can cause them stress. I know how limited my mental capacity is when I’m feeling “off,” tired, or overwhelmed. 

If I know my limits, why would I push my staff past theirs?

As I help organizations create more psychologically safe spaces by elevating their employees’ emotional intelligence to foster a culture of belonging and well-being, it would be hypocritical not to do the same for my own company.

Mental health days are important to maintain well-being. If my team member has a bad day, they will:

1. Be unable to focus on tasks
2. Be more prone to make mistakes
3. Will have lower EQ because stress often has us operating from our emotional brain more than our prefrontal cortex (rational brain)
4. Negatively impact the morale of the team
5. Won’t optimally use their time or brainpower
6. Be less creative, innovative, and collaborative

Before we even got into the meeting’s agenda, I was able to: 

1. Initiate the topic of mental health and normalize it.
2. Advocate and encourage my team member to practice self-care.
3. Model vulnerability by sharing where I was with my mental health while maintaining boundaries.
4. Use my relationship management skills (EQ) to build rapport and effectively communicate and motivate my team members.
5. Show empathy and understanding (social awareness) in acknowledging her life circumstances (a mother with young children at home).
6. Begin building a foundation of trust and safety.

In a straightforward statement, “please let me know when you’re having a bad day,” I was able to implement the pillars of our W.E.L.L. Method™. 

𝐄levating Emotional Intelligence
𝐋everaging Psychological Safety
𝐋earning Self-care

I realize that many leaders feel lost or ill-equipped to handle the mental health issues of their team members. You don’t have to be your employee’s therapist, but you can show empathy, respect, and understanding by taking a more humanistic approach to people management. Simple questions like, “how are you really?” can make a big difference. 

P.S. When your employee shares their mental health issues or does take a mental health day, don’t penalize them or use the information against them. Doing so dismantles the W.E.L.L. pillars. 

1. You negatively impacted their well-being
2. You are no longer operating with high emotional intelligence. 
3. You’ve eroded trust. 
4. You’ve discouraged them from practicing self-care.

Leaders, how do you normalize and promote mental health within your team?