Mental Health Check-in: 10 Questions You Can and Should Ask as a Leader

If you weren’t scheduling regular one-on-ones with your team members before 2020, the peaks and valleys and twists and turns of the high-stakes roller coaster ride we have been on have surely convinced you by now that they are an invaluable touchpoint for every effective leader with their people. Perhaps your direct reports have even put these meetings on your calendar as they forge new ways to work effectively in a pandemic-impacted world.

Now topping the list of workplace concerns is burnout, with mental health and wellness being one of the most requested benefits by younger workers. The “Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey” found that for over 27,000 workers under 40, nearly half ranked mental health as their number one or two priority. In addition to the medical provisions offered by employers, leaders should be building trust with every person so they can have regular conversations that keep their fingers on the pulse of each team member. Are you aware of what makes them tick—their drivers or motivators—and what ticks them off—their triggers? Do you know where each is on the scale of “bored” to “overwhelmed?”

It is important to ask questions that bring light and transparency to the well-being of each person so that we can be part of the solution and support, rather than adding to their difficulties.

Here are my top 10 questions:

  1. What is bringing you the most satisfaction or fulfillment in your role right now?
  2. How do you like to receive appreciation and accolades? Are you receiving recognition for your work in ways that communication that you are valued here?
  3. Who have you enjoyed working with the most recently and why?
  4. What is one thing that you see holds you back from being your best self with your colleagues?
  5. Do you have a trustworthy person or group who hears you out and supports you at home and at work?
  6. What is your greatest stressor right now (on or off the job), and is there anything I can do (directly or indirectly) to alleviate any part of this?
  7. How many hours are you truly working each week? How do your family and/or friend groups react to that? What does ,best, (not just better) look like?
  8. What things can I stop/start/continue doing to support and empower you in your performance and development?
  9. What do you do to relax outside of working hours and how does it revitalize you?
  10. What are you proudest about in working for this organization? How does it align with what you value?

 

Let’s ensure that paths of trust are open and secure and that everyone we influence has the support needed to be healthy. Then, when any aspect of health is compromised, we can quickly ensure access to the treatment and care that will restore. Leaders are not therapists, counselors or medical professionals. But we are fellow humans. Taking time for a mental health check-in, through open and caring conversation, can go a long way to assisting someone to the well-being they want to achieve and maintain.