Good management and leadership

How good management protects staff

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Advice for managers

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Resources for managers

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“Good management and leadership protects responders”


Research also shows “Workplace stress is as big a threat to responder wellbeing as trauma exposure.” - the Lifelines Essential #8.

Professor Cary Cooper, President of the British Academy of Management, said we should “pin a sign to every office door reading ‘Your manager is potentially dangerous to your mental health’”!

However, the good news is that the opposite is also true and good leadership is associated with staff wellbeing, morale and good mental health. It is a key part of your Protective Armour.

Good leadership

If you’ve experienced good management, you will know how that feels. They are the leaders who set clear and achievable tasks, communicate well and build strong teams. They give us some control, recognise and appreciate hard work, inspire us to do our best and generally have our back.

These qualities are equally helpful whether the manager is leading a response to a major incident, training new team members or supporting someone who is off sick.

A quick guide to Supporting your Team

Advice for leaders.... 

Remember that you set the tone and culture in the workplace and this is especially important when we’re talking about well-being. There’s little point trying to encourage your team to take care of themselves if you’re not looking after yourself.

If you don’t take breaks or holidays, and regularly send emails at out of work hours, then your team will feel they need to do the same. Model the importance of rest and recuperation, both within the working day and outside of work.

Don’t underestimate the power you have to show by your actions that people are valued and respected.  Giving positive feedback and saying thank you builds individuals' confidence and team loyalty.

Protect time for team activities, both formal meetings and informal coffee breaks. These routines and this informal social support are at the heart of what keeps us well at work.

Take a look at our quick guide to supporting your team.

Resources for leaders

We worked with colleagues from Scottish Mountain  Rescue and the UK Search and Rescue Wellbeing Group to develop the Stay Safe Stay Well framework. You can download the framework and guidance document here.

We also contributed to the development of the resource, Guiding Principles for Emergency Response Volunteer Wellbeing, as part of a United Kingdom Search and Rescue (UKSAR) wellbeing working group.

The Mental Health Foundation has helpful documents on How to Support Mental Health at Work.

Mind have guidance on How to implement the Thriving at Work mental health standards in your workplace.

Police Care UK has a range of materials to help individuals and teams.

Project Lift a project aimed at supporting leadership at all stages and in all roles across health and social care in Scotland.

NHS Education for Scotland has resources for managers and is working with Know You More to offer digital wellbeing coaching for managers.

You can also find more information to help you support your team on the When I might need some help pages.

Your service, your Lifelines

Visit the web pages of Lifelines Scotland Ambulance, Fire & Rescue, Police or Volunteer Responders for extra resources tailored to each service and more information about the specific help available from different organisations.