“I need stress to thrive”.
I heard these words loud and clear from a sales manager. He was on the management mental health training we had designed for his company.
He had a strong belief that to perform, meet sales targets, to ‘smash it’ every month, he needed the stress response.
Huge red flag alert!
Digging deeper with him I recognised that he didn’t understand the stress response. Good job he was on our training!
I explained to him the stress response is the body’s survival response. The freeze, fight and flight response.
That survival response works for one thing and one thing only – to keep you safe!
The stress response is the last thing that you want if you’re trying to meet a sales target.
The second you go into the stress response you lose access to the executive functions of your brain. Rational thinking goes out of the window and you lose access to your prefrontal cortex.
The nature of sales is to build a relationship. To hear what your customer needs are. And match those needs with the right solution. And to understand those needs you need to listen and ask the right questions. You can’t do any of that if you are in the stress response!
This manager also believed to meet his targets he needed to be under consistent pressure. He thought he and his team needed to be in a constant state of adrenaline and high alert to smash sales.
I explained the stress response and why stress and sales didn’t go hand and hand together. I spoke about mindset and the nature of thought and beliefs and he was able to see that there was a different way.
Imagine if that conversation hadn’t taken place and the risk of him and his team reaching burnout.
I’ve also heard managers’ beliefs about people ‘playing the mental health card’.
Managers believe people are ‘faking it’ and using mental health as an excuse for poor performance.
I ask managers if somebody feels the need to go to that extreme, what does that say about the manager or the culture? What signs and signals are they projecting if an employee doesn’t feel psychologically safe, to be honest?
This is a big light bulb moment.
I love these conversations! I can see managers shift their beliefs and perceptions in seconds.
I’ve seen beliefs creep in when a manager has a mental health condition. They can project their beliefs about mental health conditions onto the team.
A manager speaking about depression and her experience with depression is one example. She explained she had family members who had depression. She said that depression was complex and hard to overcome.
Listening to her I heard the beliefs she had about depression. I understood what she was basing her beliefs on. I was able to explain about the mind and the brain in more detail. I told her that the brain is made of neural plasticity – which means it’s mouldable. And and with the right psychological intervention depression isn’t something people have to live with.
We know that 1 in 4 people will struggle with mental health at any one time in the UK.
That means, managers struggling with their mental health.
Managers who have received no management mental health training pose a risk. A risk of projecting beliefs and assumptions onto their team. Beliefs which they may not be aware of.
I spoke to one manager who has anxiety. I heard her saying that anxiety is something she has to learn to live with. This is a common belief. She was also a mental health first aider.
Red flag alert!!
Beliefs are SO powerful and often operate under the radar.
And beliefs are how you experience life.
The mind is filtering 400 million bits of information per second. The criteria for what you filter is based on your beliefs. These beliefs create your inner reality.
When managers spot these limiting beliefs and shift their thinking and perception around them it’s a HUGE win-win. For the manager and their team.
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