There is a clear under-representation of BAME leaders in HE institutions in the UK at all levels but particularly at senior levels. There is also documented evidence of the poor experiences of many BAME academic staff in UK HE including experiences related to leadership roles.
Tackling the under representation of BAME leaders in UK higher education institutions
The Diversifying Leadership programme is designed to support early-career academics and professional services staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who are about to take their first steps into a leadership role. It explores themes of power and influence, demystifying leadership, cultural identity and cultural capital, increasing your visibility and authentic leadership and features leadership stories from high-profile HE leaders.
Ready to apply?
"The benefit of Diversifying Leadership is that it uses an 'asset model' approach to combine four key elements: preparation through a series of challenging development activities; collaboration through action learning with peers; reflection by providing space between modules to think and act strategically; opportunity through access to a sponsor."
Jannett Morgan, Programme Director, Diversifying Leadership
Who is Diversifying Leadership for?
The Diversifying Leadership programme is designed to support early career academics, professional services staff, Lecturers and Senior Lecturers from BAME backgrounds.
How is the programme delivered
The programme comprises three one-day face-to-face workshops, a facilitated action learning set and access to online resources as part of the programme.
Module 1: Leadership, 'BAME leadership' and lessons from the labyrinth.
Module 2: Leadership, power and influence: changing the game.
Module 3 (Action learning set): Speaking actions into existence.
Module 4: Leadership tomorrow: vision, voice and visibility.
What are the programme outcomes
The programme requires the participant to be supported by a sponsor. Institutions wanting to build a more diverse leadership pipeline will gain leaders better equipped to navigate organisational culture and a clearer perspective on their own potential – and the potential of others – and how to access it.
Participants will have explored concepts such as ‘authentic leadership’, allowing the self-identity of their own leadership style and role as a leader to emerge, as well considering their motivation and influences. The programme enables exploration of various elements of leadership and has been designed to provide a safe place in which to discuss issues relating to their experiences of working in HE. As a result, participants build confidence, feel empowered and expand their professional strengths.
As part of the Diversifying Leadership programme, participants are asked to seek out a sponsor from within their institution who will support them throughout (and potentially beyond) the duration of the programme. The time commitment will be negotiated between the sponsor and the participant.
Role of a Sponsor
Sponsorship is a special kind of relationship in which a more senior colleague provides structured support which may include:
- creating research productivity;
- career advice & guidance;
- navigate internal politics & structures; and
- provides access to projects
The Sponsor also uses his or her influence with senior members of staff to advocate for the participant.
Benefits for Sponsors
Acting as a Sponsor can help in the development of leadership skills and characteristics such as:
- Action-Oriented Judgment: by making decisions that moves the participant forward.
- Task Competence.
- Understanding employees and their needs: effective sponsors pay attention to participants and genuinely care about helping them succeed, which translates to others.
- Capacity to motivate people: through inspiring a participant and motivating them to do their best.
- Trustworthiness: participants need to be able to depend upon and trust the person leading them.
- Awareness: DL sponsors learn how to avoid the "protective hesitation" that often prevents aspiring BAME leaders from receiving critical performance feedback, enabling participants to adopt a more strategic approach career management.
- Adaptability and flexibility: by developing an ability to think outside of the box and adapt quickly to changing situations for the participant.
- Creativity: perhaps most importantly in terms of leadership skills, a sponsor not only possesses their own creativity, they are also able to foster creativity in the participant and ultimately among their staff members.
The Sponsor Toolkit is an additional resource for sponsors, consisting of web-based materials and interactive support. It has been made available to ensure sponsors have a better understanding of the specific issues facing BAME early career leaders and are confident to carry out their role in championing them. The toolkit is informed by relevant academic literature and best practice on sponsorship and the experience and development of aspiring BAME leaders.