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Leadership through a lens of health and wellbeing

This blog, written by co-founder of HWBInspiration Claire Harris, provides a summary of the work they have just completed on behalf of the NHS North West Leadership Academy, exploring the development of a healthy leadership behaviour framework #NWHealthyLeadership

“Back in spring 2020 we were commissioned by the NHS North West Leadership Academy (NHSNWLA) to support them with their Health and Wellbeing Strategy, with a particular focus on identifying the leadership behaviours which promote and detract from employee wellbeing at work.  The reason for wanting to develop a framework was:

  • It can raises awareness of the impact that leadership behaviours have on wellbeing at work,
  • it gives leaders a remit to discuss and promote wellbeing at work (which is aligned with the requirement of the NHS People Plan to ensure from September 2020 that everyone has a  wellbeing conversation)
  • it outlines what leaders can do behaviourally to promote wellbeing at work
  • It allows for the development of interventions to ensure leaders have the appropriate behaviours to promote wellbeing 

The approach we took was to:

The resulting framework contains three competencies / clusters (identified from the stakeholder discussions):

  • How I am (being) Actively engage with opportunities to understand and enhance positive mental and physical health for self and others, sharing own experience, being authentic
  • What I do (doing) Actively support and empower others to manage work and how it’s done
  • What we do together (enabling) Actively empower an inclusive healthy wellness culture that mutually enables us all to bring our whole selves to work

Each competency / cluster contains both positive and negative leadership behaviours (examples given below):

  • How I am (being)
    • Positive – being open, honest and transparent (authentic)
    • Negative – lacking empathy
  •  What I do  (doing)
    • Positive – trusting individuals and teams, giving them the autonomy and control to do their jobs (empowerment)
    • Negative – making decisions without consulting others (e.g., authoritarian /autocratic /command and control/directive style)
  • What we do together (enabling)
    • Positive – creating an emotionally supportive and psychologically safe work environment (positive, caring and supportive climate where people can speak out)
    • Negative – micromanaging others and disempowering them

We are currently discussing with the NHSNWLA, the recommendations that have been developed from discussions with stakeholders about how the framework could helpfully be used to help create cultures of positive wellbeing at work. Some of the stakeholder ideas include:

  • Recruitment – integrate the framework into role profiles, assessment processes
  • Development – integrate the framework into PDR, appraisal, 360, training, induction
  • Day to day – integrate into 1:1 and team conversations
  • Strategy – include in Board discussions to support the HWB guardian role in providing governance around health and wellbeing leadership behaviour

Claire and her team would welcome your views about how you could use the framework in your organisation, so please do get in touch with us here so that we can pass this feedback on.