Why we all need to embrace emotional health in the workplace

21 Feb 2020

No winter season should go without a great motivational series of speeches to get you going both mentally and professionally. That’s why you shouldn’t miss LEAP, the biggest and boldest HR event in Central and Eastern Europe, taking place on February 27 at Face Convention Center Bucharest. Top minds and thinkers from all over the world will be taking the stage to talk about the hottest topics in HR and People Management. 

Guy Winch, licensed therapist, author and leading advocate for integrating emotional health in the workplace, will be there to discuss how creativity, efficiency and employee engagement are all deeply rooted in mental health and how we can’t keep ignoring emotional distress in the workplace. Moreover, Guy’s TED Talk - Why we all Need to Practice Emotional First Aid - is considered one of the top five most inspiring motivational speeches on TED.com, so expect a truly inspiring event. 

Can’t wait to hear some of what Guy Winch has to say? Then you’ll definitely enjoy this interview with him:

Your video named „How to fix a broken heart” has over 9 million views on TED.com . Why do you think it became viral and how did you manage to find a speech that is relevant for people all over the world? Can you give us a few tips about finding the perfect theme for a speech?

I think the talk went viral because I knew I would be giving it on the main stage at TED’s annual conference and that few people in the audience would be heartbroken. So I had to make it useful for people who were heartbroken and interesting enough for people who were not. So I went back and forth between laying out what happens in our brain and our mind when we’re heartbroken which is interesting generally, and based on those facts, recommendations for how to heal.

The theme I used as a through-line was that you cannot trust your mind when your heart is broken—which for me as a psychologist was compelling. In my first TED Talk about emotional first aid I used the Theme of twinship, because I’m a twin. So the trick is to choose themes that are meaningful to you but relatable to others—and have them represent the story arc of the talk.  

Which are the most important lessons you have learned as a global keynote speaker? Has anyone from the audience who spoke to you ever made an impact?

My most important lesson from speaking globally but mostly from talking with audience members after I speak is how universal out emotional experience is across the world. Rejection causes the same emotional pain in China as it does in the U.S., and failure is as demoralizing and frustrating in Turkey as it is in Australia. Our outward behavioral reactions might differ and our thoughts might differ but our emotional experience inside is very much the same.


Atychiphobia, fear of failure, is one this century's diseases. Can you give us a few tips to overcome it?

Fear of failure operates unconsciously and makes us sabotage our own efforts, often by making excuses for how we’ll do before we even try. So the most important thing about failure is that it can teach you where your blind spots are and how to avoid them. We should really embrace failure as a roadmap to our future mistakes because if we made one now we will make the very same mistake again and if we figure out what the mistake was we can catch it in the future and avoid it.

How can a company make work less stressful and more engaging for the employees? 

Companies have to be dialed-in to how employees are feeling. They have to consider the atmosphere their corporate culture creates and employees have to feel as though their voices are heard. Not obeyed but heard.

At the beginning of the year, each professional sets different goals. How can you ensure that you will accomplish at least part of them by the end of the year? What recommendations do you have?

The best goals to set are moderately difficult ones—ones that are reachable but that definitely  require effort, ones that balance ambition with reality, and ones that allow both the company and the employee to grow. 

What are the 3 most important characteristics that companies should look for in their future leaders? And why?

1. A willingness to admit mistakes and learn from them. Leaders make mistakes as we all do but when they fail to admit them they send the message down the ranks that mistakes are not tolerated and that is unrealistic, it makes people externalize blame rather than take responsibility or worse, try to hide their mistakes—and then nothing gets fixed and the mistakes keep repeating. 

2. Compassion. Leaders who have compassion are more likely to consider the emotional impact of their decisions on employees and make decisions that support, motivate and excite employees rather than demoralize or intimidate them. 

3. Clearly articulated purpose and values. Leaders who articulate a larger sense of purpose and are motivated by their values are going to be more inspiring over the long term than those whose actions are guided purely by success at all cost.

Don’t miss Guy Winch’s inspiring speech at LEAP! Get your tickets now → Buy LEAP tickets.

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