Blaby District Council: ‘Becoming a Great Leader’

The Story

Blaby’s vision is to help shape a district where people are happy to live and work. The Council’s employees strive to put the customer at the heart of everything they do but Government funding squeeze has made that more difficult. Consequently, more is required of local government managers everywhere. Faced with this challenge Blaby District Council has invested in leadership and management skills training.

After a period of research and familiarisation with corporate culture, vision and values; business objectives; roles and responsibilities of delegates; performance targets and current levels of achievement; relevant policies (including appraisal and / or performance review processes); and Management / Leadership Competencies, we designed a comprehensive 5-day modular programme to align with strategic objectives.

The Programme

The bespoke ‘Becoming a Great Leader’ programme is strongly focused on how to transfer the tools techniques and approaches into day-to-day management and leadership activities. Each day comprised a minimum of direct input by the course leader and maximum involvement and activities by the participants.

Module 1 – 1 day
The Role of the Manager

  • Difference between Leading and Managing
  • Understand your own personality ‘Colour’ coding and how that reflects in your communication and leadership
  • Test out different leadership styles and explore their impact
  • Understand the difference between Push and Pull behaviours
  • Have explored and practiced different styles of influence and persuasion as a leader
  • Understand the need for different approaches to different people and situations
  • Understand the difference between being Responsible and being Accountable and how to use this concept in your role
  • Have created a written plan of action to transfer the learning

Module 2 – 1 day
Performance Management

  • Review of successes and challenges of learning from Module 1
  • The importance, benefits and potential pitfalls of performance management – an overview of the process
  • Planning and managing performance as an ongoing process
  • Performance management meetings – preparation & implementation
  • Agreeing SMART objectives Conducting effective performance management reviews
  • Approaches to managing under and over performers
  • Having difficult conversations
  • Coaching fundamentals
  • Action planning

Module 3 – 1 day
Team Building

  • Review of successes and challenges of learning from Module 2
  • Know the natural attributes that members can bring to the team
  • Be aware of our own strengths when working with a team
  • Experience team development in practice
  • Reflect on our teams back at work and appreciate their strengths and weaknesses
  • Have insight into the generational differences within some teams and how to manage these
  • Develop a plan to gain maximum value from your team’s strengths
  • Understand the theories of motivation and how this knowledge can help us manage
  • Create a personal action plan to put into practice on the return to work

Module 4 – 2 days
Coaching Skills

One of Blaby’s key objectives is to instill a coaching culture. The final two days of the programme focused on coaching in a performance management climate. Understanding what coaching is and is not:

  • Know the benefits of coaching
  • Understand different types of coaching
  • Know how to use GROW, OSCAR and ARROW coaching models
  • Demonstrate psychological awareness as a coach
  • Practice coaching and get feedback on your performance

Keeping Up Momentum

It is too easy to think that the job is done once the course certificates are handed over. Not true. This is when the work starts to keep up the momentum of learning and change. So Blaby has adopted a strategy to maximise the value from the investment it has made.

  • Every course participant keeps a learning and action plan log with specific personal objectives and timescales
  • The line managers are committed to having regular reviews with their reports who attended the programme to support the implementation of change
  • To reinforce the learning after 3-4 months each attendee will make a presentation to their cohort colleagues to demonstrate what they have learned, what they are now doing differently and the impact it is having
  • Cohorts will form Action Learning sets to work on selected projects to improve business performance and progressively report to the Senior Leadership Team

Measuring the impact of the training is a critical element of projects of this nature. Using Kirkpatrick’s levels 1-4, RightTrack is working alongside Blaby to collect and report on the ROE and ROI. The initial reaction rating as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ by delegates to all aspects of the training content and delivery averages 99%.

The Response

“Just another course’, how wrong was I. Occasionally opportunities arise that can make a positive contribution to your life. Becoming a Great Leader was one of those rare opportunities.
The content of the course provided me with the tools and opportunity to realign the way in which I conduct myself in ever day life. It has provided me with a greater understanding into the importance of the impact that I as a leader have on my teams and others around me, the necessity to understand the situation and the people involved, but most importantly for me was the feeling of having the need to step back and look at myself as others may see me. By trying to understand yourself and becoming more self-aware has enabled me to implement constructive changes.
Improvements I have made, and will continue to make as a direct result of the course has enabled me to deliver positive results not just in my work environment but also in my personal life. This is not one to miss out on, thanks for the experience.”

Pete Williams,
Asset/Open Spaces Manager,
Blaby District Council

“Before I went on the Leadership Academy, I could be described as a bit of a mouse, I let things get on top of me and was worried about upsetting people. I let this get in the way of tackling difficult situations.

On day 1 I had a light bulb moment, I suddenly realised that it was only me who could change my future and make it what I wanted. That small actions, could have a massive impact and could make my life better. I realised that in order to achieve my objectives, I had to delegate more, and become more red to get what I wanted. I devised a plan of action for myself which included prompts in my office and car of how I would behave that day at work, I have made it the first thing I think about before coming to work, and it’ s a reminder throughout the day.

One of the best things on the course was the difficult conversations workshop, this has turned me into a lion. I am braver, sort situations quicker, more confident and less anxious about dealing with situations, this is due to me being more structured and conversations being planned.

My team are now commenting on how much more confident I am, and that they know more what to expect from me, they also like the responsibility of tasks I am delegating. I believe I am more focused, am achieving my objectives and my life has become so much easier!!!!

Thank you Brian for empowering me to do this.”

Anna Farish,
Environmental Services Team Leader,
Blaby District Council