Social support, from both work-related and private sources, plays a prominent role as a protective factor for many health-related variables.
Functional social support can be described as emotional (caring) or instrumental (helpful).
Many instrumentally supportive behaviours had an emotional quality because they also communicated caring, empathy, respect and acceptance while it was offered. Effective social support was determined at least in part by the emotional meaning of the support. Skillfully provided social support will be both instrumental in behaviour and emotional in symbolic meaning.
Beverly’s Comments – What does this mean for us?
In developing our leaders to become effective at addressing stress among their teams, we need to emphasize that being helpful is not always enough. Emotional support must go along with instrumental support in order to be seen as truly effective. Our leaders need to be able to communicate caring, empathy, understanding and esteem along with being helpful at addressing the issues.
In order to develop a healthy workplace, leaders must be trained on the causes, symptoms and strategies associated with stress management. They need to be encouraged to model healthy behaviours. And they also need to understand their role in developing a healthy environment…this includes being a supportive leader.
Are your leaders adequately trained on how to be a supportive leader?
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!