By Cloé Caron, PCC, Certified Coach 

In collaboration with Anik Desjardins, CHRP, ACC, Certified Coach 


I am concerned about the mental health of our managers after more than 18 months of pandemic. Organizations need to address this concern. Each of us has to address this concern.

Many of you are familiar with my concept of USC – Unique Strategic Contribution (Blog article: USCor at least have read or heard me talk about the subject.  

My USC consists in helping organizations build cultures of empowerment and accountability – that is, a culture where people (managers as well as employees) feel they have room to think, make decisions, be part of the solution, bring all their intelligence and innovate. In such a culture, teams are engaged and mobilized, because their opinions are taken into consideration – as is their well-being. Our people’s and organization’s well-being and mental health depend on the mental space that each of us create for ourselves and for others. 

This mental space is created by the ability to stop, breathe, take a step back, listen, rethink our leadership, integrate and therefore… to make room for silence. 

Even as I am writing these lines, I do not pretend to say or even think that I know how to create the optimal mental space or that I can do so perfectly. I also have to manage my children, my relationship with my husband, my health, my company, my team, my clients, technology that takes too much place in my life and that of my family, etc. I do know, however, that slowing down, taking deep breaths, and walking alone are ways I’ve found to give myself silence. And I know that they contribute to performance on a daily basis. 

When I give myself time to breathe deeply before a meeting, I feel better, more alert, more present. I listen to my team more deeply and I am a better coach for my clients and my team. When I give myself time to breathe at the end of the day before welcoming my children, I am definitely a better mother. As a manager, taking this time allows me to create the space that the other person and I need to be fully present and, from this space, adapted solutions to the situation emerge, by taking into account the desires and aspirations of the person whom I’m with. I also know that when a human being has space to hear what and who they are and knows that the actions they are about to take are perfectly aligned with their identity, their level of motivation can greatly increase. 

So nowadays, I take a moment of conscious breathing before entering each individual or team meeting, and I am convinced that this moment has a significant impact on the way I manage. 

For example, in a recent Friday team meeting, a colleague expressed me her concern  regarding a fast-approaching 4-day week considering the current workload. Before, I probably would have heard the other person’s concern about being overwhelmed, but my own sense of urgency and desire for performance would have taken over. 

This time, I allowed myself to really hear her. What emerged was to make a commitment to my team that I wasn’t going to add anything new to this 4-day week and that I was going to manage customer expectations. Those who have worked with us, know that we take care of our customers and taking care of our customers, means as well-being aware of the energy of my team. 

I was proud of myself! There was such relief from my employee – I immediately saw her energy come back as well as her enthusiasm for her work.   

So back to you! 

  • “Silence, for performance,” what do you think of that?  
  • How could, for example, taking 5 deep and slow breaths, before each meeting, allow you to be more present, more efficient? 
  • How can you create more mental space in your daily life? 

As always, I invite you to be inspired and inspiring (and that may just mean taking a deep breath…).