Leadership Development - University

Leadership Development at a Russell Group University

Case Study

Strategic Leadership Programme structure

This leading university has a need to develop their leaders to have:

  • The capability to deliver meaningful outcomes
  • The collaboration and curiosity to catch the trigger points for change
  • The connectedness to embody the vision of the university with all its communities

Leaders at this university have a depth of expertise in their field and a proven ability to deliver results. They have been rewarded by being made ‘top of their tree’. In these environments, the impulse to fall back on one’s expertise is strong, which can get in the way of strategic thinking and collaborative working to deliver commonly agreed outcomes.

The university engaged Hennessy Consulting in close partnership with CA Partners Consulting to deliver a Strategic Leadership Programme which will build the capabilities, confidence and connectedness of its leadership team in order to fulfil its vision of being a world-class, world-changing university

The Strategic Leaders Programme is aimed at senior to middle-tier leaders from all areas of the University, academic and operational. Currently in our second year of running the programme, we take thirty leaders each year in two cohorts through a development process blending deep learning through three core development modules, Agile strategic delivery projects, Action Learning Sets and time for reflection and embedding through 1-to-1 coaching.

In Module One we focus on strategy and the role of leadership in shaping and delivering it:

  • Setting a strategic vision
  • Demonstrating personal credibility
  • Deepening self-insight and reflection as a leader

In Module Two we focus on leading collaboratively and empowering others to act:

  • Empowerment
  • Authentic conversations
  • Collaboration

In Module Three we focus on leading change. This includes organisational culture change, with agility and flexibility:

  • Change models, tools and techniques to support the phases of change
  • Understanding people’s reactions to change
  • Engaging people and gaining commitment to change

Through the Action Learning Sets leaders work to deliver strategic projects supported by their peers, and learning to support and challenge others.

The 1-to-1 Coaching provides another safe space for reflection, development and learning. The participants use the coaching to unpack their behaviours and mind sets and tackle the blockers that may be getting in the way of moving forwards on their leadership journeys.

A Showcase Event marks the end of the programme for the participants where they can:

  • Celebrate their personal learning journey
  • Present how the programme has contributed to their action learning strategic project
  • Share how they have developed and grown as a leader