10 Oct 2021

Building resilience & leading with compassion

One upon a time, our mental health was not a topic discussed. Certainly not in the workplace. As we reflect this October, Mental Health Month, it’s worthy to acknowledge how far we have come in less than a decade.


While the pandemic continues to place enormous mental strain on many, and quite frankly most, it is providing organisations with resounding reason to elevate long term investments into mental health.




Being resilient is the backbone to good mental health. Resilience is defined as our ability to adapt to and bounce back from adversity. Being resilient gifts us longer, happier lives. It also lowers rates of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Having resilient employees also gifts organisations engaged and committed teams, who can adapt with agility and perform well in unpredictable times. Building resilience is indeed a win-win for people and business alike.


Right now there is an acceleration to support employees mental health. Successful examples include initiatives like physical and nutritional wellbeing programs, growth mindset education, social support networks, team innovation projects, and human skills development such as strengths training. Long after the tsunami of the pandemic has calmed, ongoing and sustained workplace investment into resilience will be a mental health silver lining for us all.




Alongside resilience investments, organisations have also been gifted the opportunity to reassess how they lead. The pandemic has challenged us to craft a more ‘human’ workplace, one which is centred in compassionate leadership. Put simply, this is leadership which is human-centric in its strategies and priorities. At the core, leaders are more caring, compassionate, authentic and more willing to be vulnerable.


There is no doubt compassionate leadership is good for mental health and good for business.


Why may this be so? When leadership is compassionate…


  • Teams act more compassionately towards each other.
  • People tend to build greater trust and deeper social connections.
  • Vulnerability is viewed as the norm, and bounce back from setback is quickly accelerated.
  • Communication is more open, empathetic and a shared purpose is driven forward together.
  • Business becomes more agile. Everyone is less fearful to rethink direction. Instead more creativity and innovation is born.



Mental health is firmly on the long term workplace agenda, in large part thanks to the worst crisis in more than 100 years. This is a real silver lining in all the awfulness of the last 18 months.


Humanity has thankfully and loudly crept into organisations right around Australia and the world. The most successful businesses today and tomorrow will be those that continue to prioritise and invest in human thriving. Resilience building and compassionate leadership are of course only two of many ideas, but early indicators suggest they are both worthy front runners.


#Resilience #CompassionateLeadership #MentalHealth #WellbeingAtWork



Poppy Griffiths is a professional coach and Director of UnlimitU a high performance consultancy which supports the inclusion of working parents, women in leadership and the mental wellbeing of teams. If you are interested in private or organisational coaching, workshops, or speaker programs, please do get in touch. poppy@unlimitu.com.au


Poppy is UnlimitU's founder and principal success coach. "Every human has more potential, hidden, held back or in the making"