Developing supportive and capable management

Mentally healthy workplaces: Resources for management

Developing supportive and capable management

Effective management and supervision is achieved through a multi-tiered, team approach where each level of the organisation plays a part in implementing the overall safe systems of work. For example, supervisors depend on direction and support from middle and senior management, as well as the involvement of the workers and contractors they direct.

Those in a management capacity can play a vital role in identifying and managing psychosocial hazards and risk factors within the organisation. They are well positioned to identify potential issues, see early warning signs and make adjustments accordingly. Therefore, it is essential that those with supervisory roles or management responsibilities have the competencies to effectively support the organisation’s strategies for a mentally healthy workplace. Training may be required to develop these competencies.

Competencies for effective leadership in a mentally healthy workplace

Competency Sub-competency
Respectful and responsible

Integrity: Be respectful and honest with workers.

Managing emotions: Behave consistently and calmly around the team.

Considerate approach: Be thoughtful in managing others and delegating.

Manage and communicate existing and future work

Proactive work management: Monitor and review existing work, allowing future prioritisation and planning.

Problem solving: Deal with problems promptly, rationally and responsibly.

Participate / empowering: Meet, listen to and consult with the team. Provide direction, autonomy and development opportunities to individuals.

Manage difficult situations

Manage conflict: Deal with conflicts decisively, promptly and objectively.

Use of organisational resources: Seek advice when necessary from other managers and divisions/ work areas.

 

What is the difference between ‘mentally healthy workplaces’ and ‘mental health at work’?

‘Mental health at work’ refers to a worker’s state of mental health at work. It is their personal mental health status, which may be affected by work or non-work related factors. Every worker will have a different mental health status and this status is dynamic, meaning it can and will change over time in response to what a person is experiencing.

A ‘mentally healthy workplace’ refers to the workplace and its associated environment, culture and systems that people are required to work within. The focus for management should be on developing and maintaining mentally healthy workplaces through addressing organisational factors, not individual factors.  Through creating mentally healthy workplaces, organisations can make a valuable contribution to improving mental health for their workers.

For guidance on talking about mental health, supporting individuals, and mental health training, refer to Supporting good mental health in the workplace.

What is the role of trust between workers and management in the workplace?

Research shows that trust between management and workers improves workplace safety and health through:

  • increasing communication
  • maintaining cooperation
  • improving knowledge sharing
  • promoting the acceptance of decisions
  • enhancing safety performance.

It is important, therefore, that managers and supervisors have a supportive communication style that helps to build trust with workers.

A fundamental way of building trust with workers is consulting them when addressing workplace matters that may affect them. Providing the opportunity for workers to be actively involved in decision-making processes not only brings a sense of inclusion, but also helps in the acceptance of decisions.

Fostering a culture that promotes trust and consultation will contribute to workplace mental health and wellbeing.

Resources

Effective safety and health supervision in Western Australian mining operations – guideline

This guideline looks at developing competent supervisors in the mining context. It sets out the desirable competencies of effective supervisors, including knowledge of the health and safety environment, ability to communicate well, develop teams and individuals, and show leadership.

Line Manager Competency Indicator Tool

This tool designed by the UK Health and Safety Executive allows managers to assess whether they currently have the behaviours identified as effective for preventing and reducing workplace stress. Its aim is to help managers reflect on their behaviour and management style.

Work-related psychological health and safety: A systematic approach to meeting your duties

This document by SafeWork Australia provides step-by-step guidance for employers to meet their obligations under work health and safety legislative in preventing and managing harm from work-related psychosocial hazards and factors. It sets out a systematic three-part approach to preventing harm, intervening early and supporting recovery.

Choosing the right mental health training for your organisation (DMIRS) This document provides guidance on tailoring mental health training for organisations.

A day in the life of a safety and health representative – Video (DMIRS)

This video focuses on the importance of safety and health representatives (SHReps) and the key roles they play in the consultation and promotion of safe work practices.

SHReps: A supervisor’s perspective – Video (DMIRS)

This video provides a supervisor’s perspective on the role and importance of safety and health representatives (SHReps) within the workplace.

What should be considered for effective safety and health supervision? (DMIRS)

This webpage provides information and resources around developing, supporting and training supervisors for a safe workplace.