Reflections on Leadership and Mental Health

Speech bubble with the word “I’m” followed by a whole paragraph crossed out except the last word “fine”. It illustrates how much we don’t acknowledge when we say “I’m fine” when we’re often not.
An illustration of all the things we don’t say about how we’re really doing.

Start with yourself

The little things make a difference

An office reply email I used one time. It reads, in part, “I’m currently on leave from my regular duties and am doing the hard work to heal my mental health. In the meantime, if you have something urgent you need a clever digital brain on, please contact [redacted].” The message continues to talk about a lot of the things I cover in this post.
One of my honest out of office auto replies.

Be honest about how hard it is

A screenshot of a teams message I wrote that reads in part “I’m grateful for the people who checked in with me this week. I wear my heart on my sleeve so it’s not hard to tell when something is off…. The main reason I’m sharing this is because I wanted to say that I was struck by the number of people who shared with me that they are also not okay. My hunch is there are more people feeling low right now then we realize.”
Last fall I shared this message in a teams channel after a particularly bad week. At the time I didn’t know I was about to end up on leave.

Be the person who makes space

Feel your feelings then let them go.

Enough is enough

“I got you. I’m here to support you. I’m proud of you for saying what you need right now.”

A handy list of things you can say to someone:



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