Unit 1: Leadership skills required for safeguarding


1.15 Wellbeing

An image of a compass with the compass point positioned so it is pointing at the word wellbeing.

In the research discussed in the previous section (Jachens 2019), the biggest contribution to stress is identified not as ‘operational stressors’ that are associated with the trauma of the direct work, but ‘organisational stressors’ deriving from other factors, such as the management and organisation of work, dealing with rapid change, conflict and bullying.

This aspect of stress is therefore amenable to intervention and change and so is very much within the remit of organisational leaders to address. In relation to safeguarding, elements of burnout listed in the definitions in the previous Section, such as mental distance and feelings of cynicism, run the risk of workers adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms or being less likely to engage in the challenging work of dealing with SEAH.

The report Leading Well (IVCA / CHS alliance, 2021) has explicitly considered this issue and in its summary the report identifies ten key practices for leaders in relation to wellbeing:

  • Modelling self-care.
  • Openly discussing mental health with staff.
  • Recognising the contributions of others.
  • Challenging inappropriate behaviour.
  • Using their position responsibly and fairly.
  • Actively listening to different perspectives.
  • Communicating consistently and with authenticity.
  • Prioritising the workload.
  • Giving people space to do their jobs.
  • Cultivating caring, compassionate organisational cultures.

The second part of Leading Well contains the more detailed views and reflections of organisational leaders in the field on the challenges and potential ways forward in creating a supportive workplace culture focused on wellbeing.

Activity 1.8 Wellbeing and stress

Read Leading Well Part 2 and the conclusion, and then consider the following questions using your learning journal. :

  1. Do you recognise the dangers of stress and burnout in your own organisation?
  2. What strategies are already in place to support staff wellbeing? How could this be improved?
  3. What aspects of staff wellbeing do you think are particularly important in ensuring good safeguarding practices?

View comment