Preparing future leaders: The Total Leadership Programme

Daniel Goodwin – Senior Associate Fellow

The leadership and management challenges faced by local government have never been greater. Budget constraint, population change, and the need to respond to heightened expectations present future leaders with lots to grapple with. People thinking about taking up the top roles in public service will need a solid foundation of thinking and a great support network to turn challenge into opportunity.

The Total Leadership Programme is an exciting new venture which is designed to help senior local government managers prepare themselves for a chief executive role. It’s a partnership between INLOGOV and SOLACE (The Society of Local Government Chief Executives and Senior Managers), which fills a serious gap in provision nationally. It is open not only to directors in councils but also to people at a similar level within private sector firms who work in the public sector and who might be considering such a move too.

The programme will be delivered by a combination of INLOGOV Faculty members and Associates with significant management education development expertise, practicing chief executives and senior politicians, and experts in particular leadership fields.

Participants will develop a deeper understanding of the local government leadership space which will inform their future thinking in the remainder of the programme. They’ll consider how they will personally develop relationships of trust across the whole system locally and also how they might start to develop a national profile as an ambassador for place. The programme will help them feel at ease with ideas of complexity, collaboration, agency and leverage, and be able to use them to develop further learning.

Through an examination of local government in a non-UK context, participants will come away with reflections on the way local leadership happens in a different but comparable system. They will have thought about what we can learn about the way in which challenges are perceived and addressed. They will also have considered whether there are identifiably different strategies and approaches which might have an impact on their future work. In a module on entrepreneurial leadership, participants will gain a deeper appreciation of the perspectives of those they commission and explore what entrepreneurialism means in the local public sector context.

Finally, participants will consider how to create a positive public leadership narrative which helps them to engage with how people to see them as a leader. They will explore how to offer their leadership to people through a narrative that they can relate to. This will include exploring how engagement with digital media changes and shapes that approach.

All of the modules will be informed by the latest thinking on key cross-cutting issues, including community development and participative social media led democracy, demand management, ‘digital by design’ and new organisational forms.

Participants will have an input into the development of the modules through a design day in June and through ongoing discussions and reflection. They’ll also have access to INLOGOV’s distance learning materials and will be encouraged to engage in learning and networking between the modules. And of course they will also be able to learn hugely from each other, the groups will be kept at an optimal size of around 12-15 people to help develop a strong peer learning network.

The deadline for applications to the first cohort is 31st May and the modules start in September. Demand is high and the programme is already two thirds full. Confirmed participants include directors from a wide range of authority types from across the UK.

To find out more follow this link: www.solace.org.uk/tl

Know your local Councillor Photographs - St Albans - May 2008

Daniel Goodwin’s career has mainly been in local government, starting in libraries and cultural services and progressing through policy and corporate services. He is particularly interested in policy into practice issues, largely relating to local leadership and the politics of communities and place, and is a regular contributor to journals, conferences and seminars.

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