London Leadership Programme

Feb 4, 2022

The London Leadership Programme is London Council’s annual flagship development programme investing in the next generation of senior leaders in London. The programme was designed and delivered by the Leadership Centre, bringing together aspiring leaders from London’s boroughs, the Greater London Authority and London Councils.

What did the work set out to achieve?

The programme sought to equip leaders with the skills to be adaptable and collaborate across organisational and professional boundaries to help address the complex challenges that exist across London. This includes addressing inequalities, high levels of deprivation, operating in a highly political environment and serving a mobile and transient population. The programme was co-designed with participants and was designed to be of direct application to London’s challenges. It included peer learning to expand perspectives and foster meaningful long-term connections.

Who participated?

Each London authority nominated one person to join each cohort. The participants must be in an Assistant Director role and must be:

  • Passionate about excellent public service
  • Demonstrate excellent current performance
  • Aspiring to the next challenge
  • Keen to learn and develop

Features of the programme

The programme was separated into six modules each focussed on an important key issue, with visiting speakers from a variety of backgrounds:

1. Leading in the System
Focussing on values and integrity as a leader, systems leadership and systems thinking tools

2. Working in a Political Environment
Focussing on values and integrity as a leader, systems leadership and systems thinking tools.

3. Addressing Inequality
Focussing on the reality and experience of unconscious bias, aspects of diversity, and tackling exclusion and inequalities.

4. Leading in Communities
Focussing on community-led change, movement building theory as well as behaviour and how change happens in communities.

5. Future of London
Focussing on the challenges and opportunities London presents, place-shaping, collaboration and leadership in London.

6. Self in the System
Focussing on presence and impact, public narrative and values-based story telling, along with personal next steps.

Each participant also undertook a system leadership questionnaire in advance of the programme, to assess learning needs. The cohort gathered around a series of systems challenges which they work on in teams throughout the programme, applying their learning. Continuous development sessions were held throughout the programme and mentoring was offered to all participants through a matching process – each of the mentors being trained members of the London Leadership Programme Alumni network.

What impact did the programme have?

Participants spoke of the learning that came from working with their systems challenges and the valuable connections which resulted from bringing together colleagues from across the boroughs. Narratives at the graduation ceremony described significant insight for individuals, new and thought-provoking experiences and the belief that working together in this way offered new possibilities and opportunities. Former participants said:

“We have all found it really rewarding, bringing ourselves out of our comfort zones and enhancing our networks skills and refining our leadership qualities.”

“The programme enables us to learn from each other and deal with those essential professional and personal networks that will bind us together with an opportunity to collaborate.”

Read the full case study.


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