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What’s your view of people taking a mental health day?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

What’s your view of people taking a mental health day?

  • It’s important and they should do it whenever they need to: 78%
  • It should only be taken in severe circumstances: 19%
  • They shouldn’t take time off unless they have a physical illness: 3%

Health is health. While the overwhelming majority of you support your associates taking mental health days whenever needed, more than 20% of you are less supportive of that approach. With the rise of mental health issues at home and in the workplace, it’s incumbent upon leaders to expand their view of what self-care entails. Is it more important to keep track of why someone takes a sick day and approving or disapproving of their reasons for doing so or should we be focused more on healthy associates delivering solid performance? Most of us don’t have psychology, psychiatry, or medical degrees. We’re not qualified to accurately assess whether or not someone needs time off due to mental health reasons. If we’re not qualified to make that judgment, then we shouldn’t make it. Instead, ask how you can best support your associate who likely knows much better than you do what they need to take care of themselves.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”