NHS Senior Leadership Onboarding and Support

Health and Well-being

This page is divided into two sections; Your Health and Well-being and Leading for Health and Well-being. It has resources which will support you in leading an organisation and focusing on your own health and well-being, and leading in a sustainable way.

Your well-being during the COVID 19 pandemic

There is support available to you and your staff at the Supporting Our People page, with specific resources for senior leaders in the Executive Suite. Your existing peer and regional networks can also be great support.

Your Health and Well-being

On a personal level, it’s crucial to maintain your own health and wellbeing – but in a complex, pressurised environment it can be difficult at times to maintain that well-being and balance.

Maintaining and ensuring your own well-being means that you will lead in a way which means that you can make good decisions and maintain relationships in your work and in your personal life. Leadership in the NHS at this level takes a huge commitment so it is important to stay well enough to maintain that performance and feel great about work.

Resources: Support in Difficult Times offers a range of resources to support senior leaders, including access to confidential mental wellbeing support.

Video: Ted Talk from Civility Saves Lives Ted Talk – Powerful Ted Talk from Chris Turner, a consultant in emergency medicine at University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and founder of Civility Saves Lives; a campaign that aims to raise awareness of the power of civility in healthcare. Though this has a clinical safety focus, the principles are applicable to wider settings.

App: Headspace – meditation has been shown to help people stress less, focus more and even sleep better. This app enables the user to select a good range of high-quality meditations of different durations, it is suitable for beginners with some free elements to get you started.

Expert blog: Amanda Super, occupational psychologist, has been working in leadership and NHS staff development for many years, specialising in coaching people to develop their self-compassion. Read the NHS North West Leadership Academy guest blog on the components of self-compassion.

Website: Action for Happiness – contains hundreds of resources, books, worksheets and exercises to help explore our inner attitude, how we approach our relationships, our personal values and sense of purpose.

Book: On Managing Yourself: Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads – a collection of insights by leaders and writers on how to better manage yourself in our busy working lives. It is relevant to those who are feeling the pressures of daily living to help them perform better at work and develop a better work-life balance.

Book: Self Compassion by Kristen Neff – this seminal book paved the way for bringing self-compassion to the mainstream and is an easy and insightful read which bring self-compassion to life.

Book: Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman – influential text which demonstrates how optimism enhances our quality of life and how anyone can learn and practice it.

Article: Why Is Resilience So Hard? Harvard Business Review

Article: When Executives Burn Out – Harvard Business Review – recognising the signs of burnout, the research behind it and what you might to do combat it.

Video: How to be inclusive while leading in a fast moving service – Prerana Issar Chief People Officer encourages us to consider why leadership is so important during the COVID-19 crisis. In our leadership at the present time we mush highlight the importance of inclusive, distributed leadership that gives a platform to the many voices, communities and stakeholders when making decisions.

Resources: The Guides section of the Our NHS People website has a range of guides which take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete – topics include  resilience, making decisions under pressure, remote working and much more. Some of specific interest might be:

The recovery phase of COVID 19

Creating a 10 minute pause space

Personal resilience: and anchor in the unknown

The do’s and don’ts of caring for colleagues

Well-being Webinars

There are a range of webinars offered by NHS England/ Improvement through NHS Horizons aimed at supporting those in roles in leadership, workforce, occupational health, organisational development and trade union, who have a responsibility for the well-being of our NHS people during and following the COVID-19 response.

Webinars: #Caring4NHSPeople Wellbeing Webinars – listen to previous webinars on topics like improving psychological safety during times of rapid change and the health and well-being of a newly-remote workforce and find out about forthcoming topics here

Leading for Health and Well-being

As a senior leader in your organisation you are responsible for creating a culture which supports staff health and well-being.

These resources from NHS Employers give a great overview of how your organisation can provide staff with an environment and opportunities that encourage and enable them to lead healthy lives and make choices that support their well-being. In addition, the resources below can support your thinking about how the board can support the development of this and the wider culture of openness about health and well-being.

Board Development Masterclass on Health and well-being – The NHS Long Term Plan highlights board engagement in the health and well-being agenda, as central to an organisation’s ability to understand, deliver and sustain workforce health and well-being. A fully engaged board will ensure that health and well-being Leads – throughout the organisational structure have real and tangible support at the most senior level and will fully support the cultural shift required to make clear and sustainable improvements. Presented by Dame Carol Black and Paul Litchfield.

7 Minute Read Blog: Recovery and then renewal: the innovation imperative for health and care Kings Fund 2021

Leading the way and tackling stigmas – Deborah Lee, chief executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, shares her own experience of poor mental health and why she thinks it’s essential that senior leaders encourage open and honest conversations about mental health.

Tackling bullying in the NHS – The best way to foster a supportive environment and have a positive impact is to ensure that line managers lead and provide the appropriate support to staff. This article and research conservatively estimates bullying and harassment to cost the taxpayer £2.281 billion per annum, through impact on our staff health, sickness absence costs to the employer, employee turnover, diminished productivity, sickness presenteeism, compensation, litigation and industrial relations costs. Written by Roger Kline, Research Fellow at Middlesex University Business School and formerly Director of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard and Duncan Lewis, Professor of Management at Plymouth University Business School.

“Flexible and agile working is not marginal to organisational performance, it’s a cultural essential” – National survey of healthcare staff on flexible working. This discussion paper is based on the largest national flexible working survey with healthcare staff. (2019 Report by The Inspiring Leaders Network with thanks to Yorkshire and the Humber Leadership Academy).

Book: Awakening compassion at work: The quiet power that elevates people and organizations. Worline, M., & Dutton, J. E. (2017). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Book: Compassionomics the revolutionary scientific evidence that caring makes a difference. Trzeciak, S., & Mazzarelli, A. (2019). Pensacola Fl: Studer Group Publishing.