Good management and leadership

How good management protects volunteers

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Advice for leaders

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Resources for leaders

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"Good management and leadership protects responders.”

LIFELINES ESSENTIALS #9


Good leadership is associated with responder wellbeing, morale and good mental health. It is a key part of your Protective Armour.

If you’ve experienced good leadership, 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 they are leading a call out, organising training for new volunteers or supporting a team member who is unwell.

Have a look at the film from police colleague, Ian on the importance of authenticity in leadership.

Advice for leaders.... 

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

As volunteers you are often juggling a work/life/volunteering balance. If you don’t take time off and are always on call, then your team will feel they need to do the same. Model the importance of rest and recuperation, and of protecting time to do things with the family. 

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

Protect time for social activities, for the team and perhaps for family too. You may have to do these virtually just now.  This informal social support is at the heart of what keeps us well.

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 for organisations supporting volunteer responders. You can download the framework and guidance document here.

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

The following resources may be helpful too.

See Me Scotland have lots of great resources to support mental health in the workplace.

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.

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