August 3, 2023

The Hidden Struggle of High Performers

In the modern workplace, high performance is often lauded as the ultimate goal. Employers and colleagues alike admire those individuals who consistently deliver outstanding results and excel in their roles. 

However, beneath the surface of success, there can be a hidden struggle that we often overlook—the mental wellbeing of high-performing employees. It's crucial to recognize that being a high performer doesn't necessarily equate to having stable mental health. In fact, some employees may achieve remarkable productivity while silently battling inner turmoil.

The Allure of High Performance: A Double-Edged Sword:

High performance at work is undoubtedly valuable. It drives innovation, increases efficiency, and contributes to the success of organizations. Companies tend to reward and promote those who consistently deliver results, and this can create a culture that places immense pressure on employees to maintain their high performance.

While this drive for excellence can be motivating, it can also lead to an unhealthy obsession with productivity. Employees may push themselves to the brink, neglecting their mental and physical well-being in pursuit of professional accomplishments.

The Mask of Success: Smiling on the Outside, Struggling on the Inside:

In our fast-paced and competitive world, high-performing employees often wear a mask of success. They appear confident, composed, and in control, leaving little room for anyone to suspect that they might be battling internal challenges. Behind the scenes, however, they may be dealing with stress, anxiety, burnout, or other mental health issues.

It's essential for both employers and colleagues to recognize that appearances can be deceiving. Just because someone appears to be a high achiever doesn't mean they are immune to mental health struggles. In fact, the pressure to maintain high performance can exacerbate these issues.

The Perils of Ignoring Wellbeing: A Wake-Up Call for Organizations:

Focusing solely on productivity and performance without considering employee wellbeing is a recipe for disaster. Organizations must acknowledge that the mental health of their workforce directly impacts overall productivity and performance.

Creating a culture that prioritizes wellness allows employees to thrive holistically. Offering mental health support, promoting work-life balance, and encouraging open conversations about mental health can go a long way in supporting high-performing employees who may be silently struggling.

Balancing Achievement and Wellbeing: A Sustainable Approach:

Rather than viewing high performance and mental wellbeing as opposing forces, organizations should aim for a harmonious balance. A healthy, supportive work environment can actually enhance productivity and foster long-term success.

Leaders should lead by example, demonstrating that taking care of one's mental health is not a sign of weakness but a strength. Encouraging breaks, providing flexible work arrangements, and offering access to mental health resources can empower employees to prioritize their wellbeing without compromising productivity.