Berkeley Cox, King & Wood Mallesons Australia

Published Thu, Sep 10, 2020

Many of us experience varying degrees of mental health struggles at least at some point throughout our careers and lives. I hope that by talking more openly about our own personal challenges, it helps destigmatise mental health and underscore the importance of psychological wellness in the workplace.

I have been in law since I was 18. It’s been an exciting journey that’s involved a few years in the US, numerous trips to China and other places, working with amazing people as well as leadership of a top tier law firm in Australia.

At various times I have, like many people within the legal profession, struggled with anxiety, work addiction, perfectionism and stress. The impact of these responses manifest in lots of ways and at times have been debilitating.

Luckily, I’ve been curious about how to manage better and unafraid to seek guidance and support.

Through one-on-one care from exceptional people, I have learned strategies to help manage my response. I have learned to see difficult experiences as an opportunity to grow. It is normal to struggle from time to time, it’s ok to share your vulnerability and it’s really helpful to accept the need for support.

High performing teams

At King & Wood Mallesons we have been on a similar growth journey at an organisational level. We want to create a psychologically healthy firm where our people can thrive.

A few years ago, we asked ourselves: how can we take care of each other in an industry that demands the highest level of consistent performance?

To answer that question, we engaged with our people, deployed strategies and consulted external experts.

There is a beautiful alignment between supporting wellbeing for our people and how they perform at work.

We found that happy teams are high-performing teams. In fact, the quality of a person’s relationship with their immediate supervisor accounts for 75% of their overall work experience.

Building on these insights, we started working with our leaders. We invested in helping them grow their capability and accountability for supporting their teams at a deeper level.

We’re starting to see positive results, which are spurring us on to do more.

A material impact

The journey towards mental wellness is a life-long one for me, our people and our firm.

Now, through the Corporate Mental Health Alliance Australia, we have a brilliant framework to extend that journey into the broader commercial community.

We can share our organisation’s insights, and learn from the experience of others to continue to develop and grow.

The Alliance demonstrates a unique spirit of cooperation and deep commitment at the most senior levels of Australian business.

I believe that together we have the potential to have a material impact on psychological wellbeing in Australian workplaces.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and where their wellbeing is deeply supported?

Berkeley Cox, Chief Executive Partner, King & Wood Mallesons Australia
Board Member, Corporate Mental Health Alliance Australia

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