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

Leading in an NHS organisation can be challenging and pressured at any time. During this global pandemic it is especially important to take care of yourself to enable you to support and lead staff and ensure the best service for patients – during and beyond this time. There is support available to you and your staff at the Our NHS People website and using your existing peer and regional networks can also be a great support. Thank you for everything you are doing.

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: The Executive Suite 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.

Website: Self-compassion.org – is a key website that offers a variety of guided relaxation exercises and an assessment to enable you to test your current level of self-compassion in real time.

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 and read her top tips www.creatingcompassion.com

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.

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.

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.