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When someone is experiencing a mental health issue such as depression, supportive performance management can make the difference between continued productivity and escalating performance issues.
Performance management enables staff to contribute to the achievement of University goals and their own career development goals. As a manager you should be managing your staff's performance on an ongoing basis, including formal processes and regular, informal discussion. It is a key part of your communication process with your staff and can be displayed through:
When performance management is done well it has the ability to provide opportunities to build strong relationships between you and your staff as well as to build a culture where staff feel valued and acknowledged by their managers. Building relationships fosters a culture of information sharing and trust. Good working relationships provide managers with opportunities to identify and address issues before they escalate.
There is a misconception that mental health issues are solely a private matter. However, commonly staff members experiencing mental health issues are having problems both at and outside work with potentially one aggravating the other. Many managers feel that they will be perceived as being intrusive and that it is not appropriate to address these issues with their staff member. Regardless of their source the impacts that mental health issues have on a staff member's performance are the same and managers cannot afford to ignore them.
Some people will experience mental health issues in the workplace regardless of how well they are managed. However preventative measures and early identification of stress or mental health issues enables managers to address concerns before they escalate:
Identify work place triggers:
In your role as manager, it is your responsibility to identify workplace triggers that may cause or contribute to a staff member experiencing a mental health issue and subsequently impact on their performance. Some of the triggers that you need to be mindful of are:
When addressing performance concerns of a staff member who is experiencing mental health issues it is important for a manger to consider the following:
Managing performance issues can be stressful and challenging for managers. This may be particularly so when the staff member is experiencing a mental health issue. If, as a manager, you suspect an employee is experiencing mental health issues and it is impacting on their work, it is important that you respond accordingly and proportionally.
Many managers feel apprehensive about talking to staff about their mental health and do nothing. This often leads to the situation escalating negatively.
You may feel that you are invading the staff member's privacy, overstepping professional boundaries or simply concerned about how to manage what the staff member discloses. Remember, as a manager, it is not your role to diagnose or counsel a staff member, however you do have a duty of care to respond to any disclosure and to manage a staff member's underperformance.
It is your role as a manager to work collaboratively with the staff member to put strategies and adjustments in place so that they may continue to perform their duties effectively in the workplace.
It is important that you: