As a leader today, you’re expected to attend to your employees’ mental health, demonstrate sensitivity and compassion, and provide opportunities for flexibility and remote work—all while delivering results. This kind of emotional labor is taxing and often overlooked by organizations.
Here’s how to handle the emotional labor of being a leader:
Recognize emotional labor as work. Don’t ignore the burden of being an emotional pillar in your organization. Instead, be honest with yourself about the challenges.
Request training. There are tangible skills you can build to help you be more mindful and less drained by emotional labor. Ask your leaders to invest in this kind of training.
Create peer support groups. It doesn’t have to feel lonely at the top. Sharing your stress with like-minded colleagues can help alleviate it.
Embrace self-compassion. You can’t be emotionally available all the time, and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself when you’re struggling to perform emotional labor. Frustration can quickly turn into negative energy, which will trickle down to your team. When you practice self-compassion, on the other hand, you’re leading by example.