At this year’s Think Student Online event, we spoke to Charlene Allen (Higher Education Specialist), Dr Jessica Price (Psychologist, Coach, Lecturer and Diversity Specialist) and Sirin Myles (International Higher Education Specialist and Coach) to discuss all things mental health. We focused particularly on the strain student marketers are feeling at this time, keeping up with the relentlessly changing times, continuing to support future and existing students, all while remembering not to neglect themselves. We also looked to those who are leading teams at this challenging time, and what you can do to continue supporting and motivating them. Here’s a review of what was covered.
What are the current challenges that leaders face?
We’re often hearing leaders project future prospects for the institution, organisation or landscape using terms such as ‘when Covid is over’. Sirin highlighted that this is a damaging mindset to instill in the workplace due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic. Instead, she recommends adopting a ‘marathon mindset’ and attempting to enjoy the journey, rather than looking at the crisis as a sprint and rushing to get back to normality.
How have you dealt with stress in a leadership role, and how would you recommend others deal with stress?
Slowing down your thinking is key to avoiding a build up of stress. Sirin commented: “I realised that I needed to talk more. Talk to your team. Don’t close in”. Dr Jessica also emphasised that we need to understand our emotions and realise when we are feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed; take in these feelings, but don’t let yourself wallow in them.
What’s one tip you would give to leaders?
Prioritise self-care. Prioritise time with yourself like you would prioritise meetings with your team. Understand that, although you may be the only leader in the team, you are not alone. Sometimes stress on leaders can feel alienating, but remember that you have your team, and we should all be supporting each other during these precarious and stressful times. It’s all about communication and taking little daily breaks to do the things you love.
Where work life might once have impacted on family life, for some it might now be that family life is taking a toll on work due to the complications of working from home. It’s important to maintain a balance between the two, and prioritise yourself when the working day is done.
In the Think Student Online session, we talk in more detail about how stress manifests itself in leaders, and how leaders can better communicate with their teams to celebrate small wins, instead of focusing on larger victories. Why not take 20 minutes out of your day today and watch the whole thing? And for more resources to help support the wellbeing of you and your team, then check out this blog post.