Developing great leaders within an academic organisation
What was the issue? In environments that are complex and are constantly changing to adapt to internal and external changes there is a need for individuals to take personal responsibility to lead themselves and others to adapt and flex as required to ensure continuing success and improvement. This requires a high degree of emotional intelligence and an understanding of self and others to gain buy in and achieve great things by working together to continually improve.
How supported the development and outcomes A Leadership programme aimed at both academic and professional staff already existed but the format and content needed a serious revision. Marie was engaged develop suitable activities such as introducing an internal coach or mentor as opportunities for the delegates to access these resources to support and accelerate their development. Integrated action learning sets within the modules were introduced and generally more focussed and shorter modules were designed creating opportunities for more interaction and support for each other. Fresh, new materials were created and some retained and updated. Other additional materials were introduced as additional optional resources so the leadership delegates could access these easily if they wished to read around particular topics and top up knowledge and skills in between the various modules. The accent was on raising awareness of self and others, underlining the importance of taking personal responsibility for solving issues whilst collaborating to build action plans to make things happen. All efforts to be focussed on benefiting themselves, the teams they work with, and the wider organisation. One output was that the delegates either on their own, or as part of a small team, identified an organisational challenge or issue that needed to be solved. They then engaged in a small project involving research and practical applications to come up with solutions to either implement themselves or recommend to others who were responsible for making changes. All projects were show-cased at an event attended by the Executive team. The impact was, measured using some anecdotal evidence (along-side more tangible measures) and the feedback was that at individual level, a number of staff reported having an epiphany about how to delegate effectively; whilst others reported an increase in confidence in dealing with difficult situations; and an appreciation about emotional intelligence and the fact that different can be good, different can cause conflict and that people need to be managed in different ways.
Leadership Manager Feedback:
“We have noticed that the tools, techniques and skills developed have been used in various ways by the individuals on the leadership programmes for example one delegate reported: ‘Taking part in the programme has brought more clarity to my role as a leader. I’ve added new, practical tools to my toolkit – prioritising, delegating and recognising what motivates my team – this has helped reduce the amount of time I spend picking up others’ tasks, so I can focus on planning, evaluating and informing our activity…’ Feedback from another was: ‘the leadership programme has inspired me to do things in different ways [for example] I ran an Away Day for academics on motivation for 30 plus staff’”