The tumblers all fell into place, the lock clicked, the door opened and it all became clear.
Bad leadership almost cost me my life.
This was a few weeks ago in a session with my coach, Susan Hobson. I hadn’t put the pieces together. I hadn’t seen the connection. I saw my depression, my suicidal thoughts, my pain, my struggles as part of my story but something that just happened to me.
Now I see that it’s a gift.
It’s put me on a mission. The struggles that I’ve been through were because I worked in these macho, profit driven, people-at-arms-length cultures. We can’t talk about our feelings. We don’t celebrate progress. We don’t feel valued. We don’t make personal connection.
And it’s literally killing us.
According to Reuters Health, mining has the highest suicide rates among men in the US (3 times the rate of the general population).
From an article titled, Tough Questions, “We know that only seven out of 100 blokes who died by suicide in the construction industry in Australia put up their hand and asked for any kind of help before doing so, so if we continue to run programs that are focused on asking blokes to put up their hands, then we might save seven, but 93 will die,” said McMahon.”
I know that’s true, because that was my experience. It took me 9 months before I asked for help with my depression. I never spoke about it at work. I never shared how I was feeling with anyone and I suffered in silence. I was isolated. I was alone. I wished it would end.
What am I going to do about it?
As leaders, we need to step up. We need to foster deep human connection with our teams. We need to foster psychologically safe, judgement free conversations. We need to celebrate progress, learning and growth. We need to help our people become better by encouragement not fear.
Ultimately, we need to treat our people like people.
I’m on a mission to change these old school leaders and change these broken cultures. It’s the meaning and purpose I’ve been searching for my entire life. You’ll hear more about Sustainable Growth Leadership, culture and people in the near future as I continue to grow.
How’s your culture? How’s your leadership? Hit reply and let me know!