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A few weeks ago, I had a health scare (all clear!). My doctor decided I should go straight through to the Prostate Cancer triage. Prostate cancer is in my family. I had tried for several weeks to get an appointment with my GP just kept putting it off. You know how it is! Then, an appointment came up and although I had meetings and work to do, my health is more important, right? and I moved the meetings and went to see the doctor.

On this day, International Men’s Day 19th November, it seems so relevant to be looking after ourselves, stop being proud and start to accept that we are human. A healthy work-life is not just about being good at our job, but also to looking after ourselves physically and psychologically. This applies to all of us, whatever gender.

International Men’s Day focuses on men’s health, well-being, positive role models and having the space to develop personal confidence and the ability to talk. Whether it is social, emotional, physical or spiritual, surely to take time and carry out a full re-boot of how we are doing helps everyone around us, both at work and at home.

The statistics for workplace focus on support for mental health and well-being are actually positive. CIPD Health and Well-being report 2021 – 77% of respondents believe their workplace actively promotes good mental well-being (increase from 58% the previous year). There is a steady, if slow, increase in focus in this area, yet 79% of respondents report stress at work (59% of which is due to workload).

How do we as colleagues and leaders create the psychologically safe places to have the conversations that are needed? When was the last time you really felt listened to? When was the last time you really felt you could be honest, authentic and your true self in the workplace?

Luckily the old school of leadership is history. Having negotiated Covid & several lockdowns, and an acceptance of different styles of working, we are waking up to leadership as more than just KPIs, delivery and metrics. Or are we?

It’s good to take a moment, step back and reflect who and how we can support those around us. And that’s anyone in the team, not just men.

On a personal level, we are all good at being strong, trying harder and just carrying on (as the ubiquitous wartime missive instils us to do, appearing on all those cards and giftware). Maybe it is not about carrying on but stopping for a while and waking up to what may really be going on, physically or mentally.

More articles by Stephen Yates:

When did a total stranger make your day?

Turn the clock back to 1977 – bringing social learning back to the hybrid workplace