BeUpstanding Champion Perspectives: What Makes a Good Champion

In a previous blog article titled ‘What makes a good champion’ we wrote about some of the qualities that make an effective workplace champion. Previous research suggests that those who have a genuine passion for health and wellbeing and are enthusiastic about the opportunity to inspire others towards a healthier lifestyle (Healy et al., 2018) are the most effective champions.

They must also be committed to making long-term positive health changes in their workplace and display a good relationship with their peers. More general personality traits like outgoingness and motivation have been positively linked to champion performance (Howell, 2005). Highly motivated individuals are also more likely to engage with the content and be prepared to persist when faced with challenges.

As part of the survey champions complete after finishing the 8-week BeUpstanding Program, they are asked what qualities or characteristics they believe make an effective champion in the BeUpstanding program, as well as what characteristics and qualities they possess that they feel helped them be a champion for their team.

Common attributes identified by champions that they believe make a good BeUpstanding champion, based on their experiences, included motivated, approachable, committed, and positive. These qualities and others can be seen in the following selection of champion responses:

  • Organisation – need to keep track of what is required when, time – to be able to send emails and reminders, belief – need to fully believe in the message you’re presenting and walk the talk.
  • Motivating and committed.
  • Someone who is enthusiastic, believes in the importance of regular movement and the benefits to the business. Approachable. Knowledgeable about the topic.
  • Socially connected, energetic, enthusiastic, and influential.
  • Being able to ‘walk the walk’ and implement the key messages, being respected within the organisation, organisational skills.
  • Positive, upbeat, role model, setting example and leading the way. Someone who is organised and creative is advantageous.
  • Good planning, social skills, ability to encourage/influence colleagues.
  • Being able to lead by example, and to engage and participate in action with other participants.  

Being passionate, organised, enthusiastic and a good communicator were commonly identified as qualities that champion believed they possess that they think helped them as a BeUpstanding champion, as highlighted by a selection of our champion responses below:

  • Being organised helped a lot. Keeping track of the weeks and keeping communication up was essential.  Ability to create interesting emails or messages to keep people engaged was needed.
  • Enthusiasm, understanding of health behaviour change, passion for getting people to move more and consider small changes to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
  • Persistent and sociable as well as confident and resilient to negative responses.
  • Interest in colleagues’ wellbeing.
  • Facilitation skills, ability to walk the walk, good relationship with team members.
  • Friendly and personable (and organised).
  • Openness, being flexible, listening to what others had to say about the program.

These qualities seem to be consistent with previous research on the attributes that have been shown to predict positive, long-term changes within the workplace. When considering implementing a health and well-being program that requires an individual or ‘champion’ to deliver or guide the program in their workplace, these characteristics are worth bearing mind when deciding who a suitable person might be to successfully run such initiatives in the workplace.

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