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Managing People and Mental Health

Have you ever been sat at your desk and wondered how the hell you’ve ended up in your role?

Richard Branson once said that “if someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”, but there’s a line isn’t there?

I suffer with imposter syndrome and despite learning from my mother Maureen, a powerhouse in the North-East recruitment market, I often worry about how capable I am and sometimes question my ability to perform at the highest level. It can be very debilitating.

Matthew wrote about avoiding the ‘are you ok?’ questions for fear of realising he isn’t and I absolutely understand where he’s coming from. I previously found myself putting a brave face on things in order to avoid those same questions. Over the last year or so however, and with the help of the team I’ve built around me, I’ve realised the benefits of opening up, being honest and not having to put effort into my brave face anymore.

Mental health is a term that means something different to everyone who hears it and I am no different. Thankfully, having access to the amazing Dr David Cliff at Gedanken has been life changing as far as my approach to both my own mental health and that of others is concerned.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, questioning my ability to follow in my mother’s footsteps in maintaining the success of Westray Recruitment Group, those are some huge Louboutins to fill after all!

I’ve had days where I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed, so debilitating were my feelings at the time. I’ve come to realise however, that a problem shared is a problem halved and I’m lucky enough to have a great management team around me, one I know I can rely on to support me in maintaining the success of this fantastic business as well as the mental health of us all.

Whilst my mother wrote her piece from the perspective of a business leader wanting to offer a supportive environment, but not having suffered with mental health issues herself; I wanted to write from the perspective of a senior manager who has and does suffer with feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and depression.

Thankfully, these days the good days far outnumber the bad and as the weeks and months pass by, I feel more and more confident in my ability to take the business my mother built, from strength to strength. Having worked hard in this business since I was 16 (and earlier if you count school holidays), I know I’ve earned the right to my role and, whilst I may sometimes lack the confidence I should take from that, I know that I am not alone.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with mental health in a leadership position. You can share in the comments if you’re comfortable to do so, or I’m happy to have a chat to share experiences on 0191 4926622

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