As leaders, we often focus on creating safe and healthy work environments for our team. We want our employees to feel valued, respected, and supported. We invest time and resources into training, communication, and employee engagement, all with the goal of building a workplace culture that promotes psychological safety and wellbeing.

But what about those of us who are self-employed? Have we taken the time to assess our own job design, hazards, and practices? Have we considered the psychosocial risks that we may be exposed to as a result of our work? If we haven’t, how can we lead others through this if we have not let ourselves?

As someone who has worked with many self-employed professionals over the years, I can tell you that the psychological hazards of running your own business are very real. In fact, they can be just as challenging, if not more so, than those faced by employees in traditional workplaces.

So, what can self-employed leaders do to assess and address their own psychosocial risks? Here are three things to consider:

  1. Reflect on your work-life balance As a self-employed individual, it can be tempting to work around the clock. After all, there’s always something that needs to be done, and there’s no one else to pick up the slack if you don’t do it. However, working long hours without adequate breaks can lead to burnout, stress, and even physical health problems. Take the time to reflect on your work-life balance and make changes as needed. Consider setting boundaries around work hours, taking regular breaks throughout the day, and taking time off when needed.
  2. Identify sources of stress Running your own business can be stressful, and it’s important to identify the sources of that stress so that you can take steps to manage it. For example, do you worry about where your next client is coming from? Are you constantly second-guessing yourself or feeling overwhelmed by your workload? Once you’ve identified the sources of your stress, you can work to develop coping strategies that work for you.
  3. Connect with others As a self-employed professional, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone. However, it’s important to connect with others who understand what you’re going through. Joining a professional association or networking group can help you build relationships with other self-employed individuals who can offer support and guidance. You can also consider working with a coach or therapist who can help you navigate the challenges of running your own business.

In conclusion, while we often focus on creating healthy work environments for our team, it’s equally important to assess and address our own psychosocial risks as self-employed leaders. By reflecting on our work-life balance, identifying sources of stress, and connecting with others, we can build a healthier, more sustainable approach to running our businesses. Only then can we lead others by example and create a culture of psychological safety and wellbeing for our team.

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