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Canaries Only Sing When They're In Good Environments

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

There are many stories in history about how canaries were used in coal mines, to help the miners to know when it wasn’t safe. Imagine this in a workplace setting and that the canaries are the employees. There are many people that ring in sick on a daily basis, due to depression or anxiety. People suffer panic attacks, in silence and don’t tell anyone, or are experiencing burnout, worrying that it will lead to losing their jobs. Reports indicate that 60% of sick leave is caused by stress. In some industries this may be even higher. After years of working in operational excellence, management and coaching, I too, experienced burnout. One thing I can say is, I wish I had been able to talk openly with my line manager.

With the current pandemic the world is facing, it is only set to get worse. It is essentially down to trust and relationships, although there are thousands of articles written about increasing emotional intelligence and from my perspective this leaves many managers confused. Train your managers to be better at being leaders of the people, or they are not the right person to be leading any team. Far too many people have been damaged and hurt by unskilled management. I hear things such as ‘my boss doesn’t have time for me’ or ‘I could never speak to my boss about that’. Well, canaries only sing when they are in good environments, they certainly weren’t singing once they came out of those coal mines!

he Canary Concept - Workplace Mental Health Training for Managers is a course designed to raise awareness in mental health, tailored to create healthier, happier teams by following 8 key principles. If you want to become a better leader or are thinking this would be great for your team please reach out to register your interest.

You certainly won’t save your canaries, if you don’t know they're in the mine!

The Modern Mind Group is an accredited CPD training provider. Contact them at or visit the website


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