Top tips for Managers and Team Leaders

This set of tips for managers and team leaders are intended to help:

  • build psychosocial resilience and wellbeing across teams
  • manage team and individual stress and distress
  • reduce risk of burn-out
  • support those with additional mental health and wellbeing needs

 1) Building psychosocial resilience and wellbeing

Who is responsible for psychosocial resilience, the individual or the organisation?

Psychosocial resilience should be seen as a dynamic process: it changes over time. Seeking support and / or making changes proactively helps to build strong resilience

Practical issues affect psychosocial resilience

Stigma, perceived stigma and acknowledging emotional issues

Threats to psychosocial resilience come from primary task-related work stress and also from secondary stress at home and elsewhere

2) Leadership, team wellbeing, stress and distress

Command and Control

Principle and Values-based Leadership

3) What else can I do to support the team as a leader?

Be a good role model

Decompression; post-event team reviews

Seek advice after stressful events from trusted peers, use buddy systems for team members and/or a mentor:

Look out for signs of team stress. Early warning signs may include:

4) Supporting team members with additional mental health and wellbeing needs

Each service should have clearly defined pathways to access more specialised help and care.

Remember, the aim is to build psychosocial resilience and wellbeing within the team.

Here are three tools briefly summarised here to help you. These three tools could be embedded in your service-wide approach:

a) The Five Rs - a mnemonic to support relationships and psychosocial resilience

  • This is a map, and mnemonic device, for the five key actions that will help your leadership and daily team working
  • Remember to think about relationships, recognising distress, supporting reflection and self-awareness, supporting emotional regulation and building psychosocial resilience together

b) The four principles of “PIES” for support after trauma

    • The four principles of PIES come from experience in the military. They can help you to provide quick support soon after a trauma

c) Psychological First Aid (PFA, World Health Organisation 2020)- simple ordinary steps for everyone

    • Remember to look for signs of distress, listen and support, and consider further links and supports

    • Use good listening skills

Each service should have clearly defined pathways to more specialised help and care

  • Ensure access to occupational healthcare to enable staff in need to receive assessments of those needs
  • Create service level agreements with agencies, that ensure ease of access for certain staff, to timely and reliable GP, and specialist mental healthcare

Resources and references


The content for these tips draws upon four more detailed elearning sessions launched in 2021 for Blue Light Services Staff “Building Staff Psychosocial Resilience and Wellbeing”. We are grateful to the authoring teams for all their input and support, upon which these tips are built.

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