Boss Lady

Using leadership to create a safe work environment


This guide outlines how to develop a safe work environment that fosters employee health and wellbeing.

There are many different types of workplaces, some where employees feel like they are part of a family, and some where employees are always walking on eggshells. One way for us to build a healthy work culture and safe work environment is to prioritize employees’ mental wellbeing. If employees feel they must hide their struggles they will burn out quickly. Preventing burnout is especially important today when many employees are leaving their jobs to seek better cultural fits.

How We Can Create a Safe Work Environment

One of the best ways to create a safe work environment is to focus on our employee’s mental wellness. We know that if we support our employees’ mental health, they will be more engaged, experience less burnout, and stay with our organization for the long term. A good starting point is to make sure we are leading with empathy and setting a good example for our employees about the importance of vulnerability.

It is also important that we take the time to build our own self-awareness so that we can lead authentically. If we are not self-aware, we cannot expect our employees to be self-aware enough to know how we can help them thrive at work.

The Importance of Good Leadership

While leading with empathy is clearly an important step, effective leadership is a bit more complex. Often the best way to learn to be a good leader is to model our behavior on other leaders in our field. We will find that many top leaders share similar leadership skills including good communication, openness, and a sense of curiosity. 

Knowing our own strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities can help us better guide our employees. If we are aware of our own challenges, then we can be more empathetic towards the challenges of others. Being open means we listen when employees bring up concerns or suggestions on how we can help them thrive.

When it comes to mental health, leadership can make all the difference in creating a safe work environment. This is why it is important that we provide employee mental health resources and make sure we have a good idea how our employees are really feeling.

If we don’t know that an employee is struggling, we cannot brainstorm possible solutions. While we all can provide basic information about mental health, taking a genuine interest in our employee’s mental health can make all the difference.  

 Meeting Our Employees Needs

 Being a good leader is also based on being flexible. Sometimes this will involve a more hands on approach such as providing more one-on-one positive feedback to those who struggle with imposter syndrome. This flexibility could look like flexible schedules so that our employees are able to work around other obligations such as childcare needs or caring for elderly relatives.

Flexible schedules can also create a safe work environment so that an employee can take needed breaks throughout the day. Flexibility also looks like building a culture where using PTO for mental health needs is supported and encouraged so that employees always feel comfortable asking for help if they feel overwhelmed..

Providing Mental Health Training

In some industries there might be a need for us to provide extensive mental health training to our employees as part of a safe work environment. One example would be those of us who work for organizations that provide direct service to vulnerable populations.

There are many training programs that you can provide, including mental health first aid, which focuses on identifying and responding to someone who is in a mental health crisis. These training sessions can be useful when helping clients, when taking care of loved ones, or when helping us understand when a struggle has gotten too large for us to try to solve on our own.  

If we want to create a safe work environment for our employees, it often comes down to our leadership skills. If we lead with empathy, we can create an environment where everyone feels empowered. This empowerment can develop into deep bonds between employees and create a culture where everyone helps each other to succeed.

When we know we will get support when we need it, we are more likely to provide support when someone else is going through a challenging period. Creating a safe space for our employees is a win-win both for us and our employees. 

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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