In our fast-paced work environments, it's easy to get caught up in the daily hustle and lose sight of the emotional wellbeing of our colleagues.
Yet, just like an iceberg, what we see on the surface often doesn't tell the whole story. Much of an iceberg remains hidden beneath the surface, and similarly, our behaviour is largely driven by what lies beneath our observable actions—our beliefs, feelings, and values. By delving into these hidden depths, we can gain a better understanding of our behaviour and that of others.
This understanding can lead us to more meaningful interactions, deeper relationships, and effective collaboration.
One initiative that champions this understanding is R U OK? Day—an annual event that encourages us to connect with others and support those struggling with life's ups and downs.
In honour of this important initiative, we've put together a step-by-step guide to help you navigate these meaningful conversations in your workplace.
1. Notice the Signs:
Just as an iceberg reveals only a fraction of its total size above water, a person's external behaviour is just a small part of their overall mental state. Changes in behaviour, mood, or work performance can indicate underlying struggles. Pay attention to these signs, as they are your first clue that a colleague may need support.
2. Find the Right Moment:
Initiating these conversations requires choosing the right moment and environment, akin to navigating through icebergs. Look for a private, quiet space that will encourage open and honest conversation. This article provides some tips on how to ask.
3. Ask the Question:
When you ask, "Are you OK?", do so with authenticity and patience. Show that you've noticed specific changes and that you genuinely care. The aim is to peel back the surface layer and invite them to share what lies beneath.
4. Listen with Empathy:
Being a good listener is like being a skilled explorer—you're there to uncover, not to judge or interrupt. Validate their feelings and experiences, giving them the space to share their 'iceberg'.
5. Encourage Action:
If a colleague has been feeling low for an extended period, encourage them to seek help. This could involve speaking to a mental health professional or utilising workplace resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
Workplace wellbeing and resilience training are key tools in navigating these 'icebergs'. Through our mental health workshops and webinars at The Oranges Toolkit, we provide training that equips individuals and teams to better understand, support and foster mental wellbeing in the workplace.
The Oranges Toolkit is Here to Help. Reach out to us for tools and strategies to help create a safe, supportive, and resilient workplace in your organisation.
Share this article to raise awareness about R U OK? Day on September 14.
Remember, a conversation could change a life.