Do Mental Health Concerns of Global Mobility Leaders Get Overlooked?

A study revealed that 82% of senior leaders in both the public and private sectors found themselves mentally or physically exhausted after finishing work and 49% were having difficulty sleeping.

Conducted by LifeWorks and Deloitte Canada, the study reveals that the state of mental well-being among senior leaders is compromising a post-pandemic workforce recovery. 

This is why businesses are making mental health a priority as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect how businesses operate. The pandemic has forced HR representatives and global mobility leaders to craft work policies that tackle mental health issues within their workforce in a short time.

While the efforts to mitigate mental health issues within the workforce have been widely applauded, businesses might have failed to highlight the state of well-being of their leaders.

Results of the research should alarm HR practitioners, global mobility professionals and C-level executives of the long-lasting implications if senior leaders are continued to be overlooked. About 23% of the leaders who participated in the research are considering resigning.

These numbers prove that leaders aren’t exempt from mental health issues, if not, they’re even more susceptible to them. 

An article with its clinical focus on Neurological and Psychiatric disorders made mention of the importance of leaders to care for themselves due to the additional burdens and responsibilities they possess. 

Leaders facing immense pressure

It’s normal for leaders to face more pressure in the workforce than the average worker. Unfortunately, the pandemic has magnified these pressures. Now, they have to carry out their duties while facing personal problems outside work. In addition, they have to make sure the people they’re handling are well supported while meeting the demands of the company. 

The pandemic is certainly taking its toll on leaders.

According to the study, the top stressors leaders faced are the following:

  • the volume of work (68%)
  • concern about providing enough support to the wellbeing of staff (62%)
  • concern about providing enough support to staff in their work demands (57%)
  • performance demands (41%)
  • implementing restructuring, layoffs, cost-cutting (31%)
  • the pace of change (31%).

How do global mobility leaders handle the pressure

At the height of the pandemic, multiple renowned organizations were quick to highlight the implications of the pandemic on mental health within the workforce. They even went out of their way to provide resources on how to implement guidelines and best practices to prevent mental health issues from thriving within an organization.

But the question of whether these practices are applied holistically within an organization is a matter that should be emphasized.

Jacob Hirsh, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, states that during these times of uncertainty, managers aren’t sure what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to do it. There’s an additional burden placed upon these leaders to implement these practices.

So how do leaders deal with these pressures?

In a Harvard Business Review, Jacob Hirsh and Rich Fernandez, CEO of a non-profit organization, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, have some recommendations.


According to Fernandez, the most important decision of a leader in the middle of a crisis is to choose self-compassion. This doesn’t involve making excuses, nor does this involve one becoming complacent. He mentions that giving oneself empathy “creates a lens of kindness and goodwill that you can apply to everything you do.”

Too many leaders beat themselves up for every mistake they’ve made, and it damages one’s physical and mental health in the long run.

Reflect on your purpose 

With the pandemic having dissolved long-term goals and projects and creating a world of uncertainty, it’s easy to lose sense of who you are. The ambiguity can get exhausting and the chances of leaders feeling stuck is high. 

Hirsh suggests leaders make time to reflect on what inspires them —  to ask themselves what’s important to them, what’s worth holding on to. He emphasizes the importance of leaders to actively work on keeping their sense of purpose alive.

Even with plans and goals placed on hold due to the pandemic, now is the perfect time for leaders and team members to remind themselves of their purposes and adjust to their current circumstances. 

Reframe the situation

Instead of looking at the challenges Covid-19 has brought solely through frustration and worry, leaders can find different opportunities amid the pandemic. 

If leaders in the global mobility industry didn’t have time to cultivate their relationships with team members before Covid, now’s the perfect opportunity. Employees demand nurturing mentorship and are starving for guidance as they face their own set of challenges in the middle of the pandemic.

Seek a sense of achievement

Teams are now experiencing frustration over challenges that aren’t solvable within their determined timelines. Hirsh suggests identifying localized tasks that can be reasonably accomplished within clear deadlines. 

He also recommends celebrating small victories from the team. A little self-esteem boost can go a long way.

Moreover, if you see yourself with more free time, leaders ought to consider developing a new skill. For instance, study a foreign language or learn about public speaking. Feeling accomplished can prove helpful when leaders feel out of sorts and unproductive.