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Senior Leaders Succession Programme

Institution: Pre-92 research-intensive university

Background

The key purpose of the Senior Leaders Succession Programme is to develop senior leadership capacity (eg pro-vice-chancellor, head of school) within the university to ensure it has individuals who are skilled and prepared to take on these senior roles in the future. It is an individualised programme enabling participants to develop in those areas that are both critical to them and identified as essential leadership qualities by the university.

The project

The programme comprises:

Phase 1: initial diagnostic process using a 360º feedback tool, and underpinned by the university's Leadership Attributes Framework. This results in a personalised development plan.

Phase 2: a series of coaching sessions to enable participants to develop those areas identified during the diagnostic phase.

Phase 3: peer learning groups – to help apply their learning to real work issues and gain support from peers. The programme is delivered by the Leadership Foundation who are represented on the programme steering group. The programme is designed to enable participants to take on wider strategic roles across the University and early evidence from internal appointment processes is indicating that the programme is achieving this.

Since 2010 the university and the Leadership Foundation have delivered six cohorts of the programme and are currently planning for the seventh cohort. In this period the programme has supported participants at heads of department level, directors and senior academics who aspire to a more senior role.

Impact

The programme is designed to enable participants to take on wider strategic roles across the university and early evidence from internal appointment processes is indicating that the programme is achieving this.

The university regularly assesses the impact of the programme and interviews participants to gain feedback. From the most recent impact evaluation, when asked about the impact that others may have perceived on their leadership arising from the programme participants felt that they could provide at least one (and some cases up to three) real world examples. These included "addressing a working challenge", "improving their approach to delegation", addressing how they represented themselves – referred to as "personal branding", "speaking and acting with more authority", engaging with some "difficult issues", and being "more effective and focussed upon key priorities". Several stated that they regarded their participation in the programme as a "privilege" for which they were grateful.