Building leadership capability
My Dad had been a truck driver for thirty-six years, so this industry, along with growing up in a small regional town, is a large part of my heritage and identity. I’ve seen first-hand how mental health impacts not just individuals, but their families and communities as well. Since running my family’s trucking business, I’ve noticed the increasing impact of stress and fatigue on drivers, together with feelings of uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.
Just the other day, one of our team’s most loyal and hardworking drivers was facing burnout. He’d been with our company for nearly ten years and had always been ‘happy-go-lucky’ and in good spirits. Recently he’d taken on some extra work, thinking it was manageable for him and helpful for us given the staff shortages.
However, I noticed some changes in his behaviour. He was more quiet than usual and seemed a bit aggressive towards others. He just wasn’t behaving like his usual self.
I invited him to have an informal cuppa with me after a job finished early and asked him how it was all going.
He was initially reluctant to share anything, but after a while he relaxed into the conversation and revealed he was constantly feeling worried and stressed on the road, like he was running from one drop to the next. He also reported coming home feeling sore all over and only being able to eat and sleep on his days off as he was too exhausted to do anything else. This was affecting his relationship with his partner and kids.