Top Team Development

We design support to give top teams practical ways to navigate complex environments, using systems leadership approaches to help you work effectively in unprecedented uncertainty.


Effective organisations are led by effective top teams. These teams are comprised of individuals with their own responsibilities, expertise, and goals, who come together to build and deliver a collective vision. If you are working at a senior level – whether that’s in the civil service, the NHS, local government, the private sector, or a charity – you’ll already know a great deal about how to lead effectively.

However, the stakes have never been higher: leaders are expected to create lasting positive change in complex, volatile and uncertain environments. This is understood, but the noise, challenge, and complexity that sits around those organisations can make it hard to find the collective space to reflect, remake, and grow as a team.

The Leadership Centre can help. Our adaptive support has been delivered in a variety of contexts over time and embodies the features that top teams are seeking in a support programme.

The programme focuses on team dynamics, working at different spatial levels and navigating complex situations. It introduces systemic leadership ideas, tools and approaches designed to give people the ability to work effectively in uncertainty, where team members need to use influence – including through storytelling and trusted messengers – rather than relying on positional power.

It is also based on the practical application of learning: trying out tools and concepts in real work and in real time, working with others who are facing similar situations. You will work throughout the programme on a real complex issue that you are facing, taking the learning from each workshop, and applying it to the issue.

Key Features

  • Tailored to your organisation and context,
  • Embedded in real work, in situ,
  • Co-designed with you,
  • Assembled through lenses of the individual, team, organisation, and place,
  • Building understanding of team dynamics and how to steer them,
  • Sharpening system leadership and change practice,
  • Using empathy and insight to navigate the overlap between political and appointed leadership, and
  • Culturally competent, supporting top teams to design for inclusion.

Who is the programme for?

The programme is for top teams – new or established – in the following contexts:


  • NHS Trusts
  • Integrated Care Systems
  • Primary Care Networks
  • Local and Combined Authorities
  • Government Departments and Arms-length Bodies
  • Charities
  • Trade Unions
  • Businesses
  • Trade Unions

Focus and Structure

A typical programme is delivered across at least a year featuring in-person workshops, interspersed with support action around challenges and individual and/or team coaching, which can be face-to-face or online.

It includes:

  • How to lead when you’re not in charge: working in complexity and fundamentals of adaptive leadership and systems thinking,
  • Understanding and developing purposeful team dynamics
  • Building a picture of our systems and our key stakeholders to inform action,
  • Understanding and influencing stakeholders to shift perspectives and therefore what happens on the ground: reframing,
  • Using public narrative to build a case for change and garner support,
  • Immunity to change,
  • Compassionate leadership and resilience, and
  • Working with formal and informal power.

Part of each session will include reflective practice, so that participants can notice what they are learning, and how they are changing in their thinking and behaviour.  This will also form the basis for discussion in the individual coaching sessions.

    Benefits for your organisation

    Organisations led by a cohesive, high-performing top team become cohesive and high-performing. The Leadership Centre’s interventions are intended to connect that top team to the rest of the organisation in new ways. Specific benefits include:

    • Increased collaboration
    • People across the organisation feeling empowered to be creative and innovative
    • Growing the space for leadership
    • Increased trust and responsibility beyond the top team.

      Benefits for your team

      The top team programme that the Leadership Centre will build with you is tailored to your team and organisational needs, and rooted in the tapestry of your place, your issues, and aspirations. Benefits to your team include:

      • A stronger shared identity and purpose
      • Understanding and improving team dynamics and performance
      • Increased capability for negotiating and ‘holding’ difference and managing conflict
      • Confidence to move from strategy to purposeful action
      • Greater capability for problem solving and change, including by understanding immunity to change
      • Developing tools, skills, and approaches for working together in new ways
      • Nurturing helpful behaviours and practice that build on existing organisational development work

        Benefits for you

        Our top team programmes give you the space and time to make sense of the issues you are experiencing, and the knowledge, tools, and skills to face them. Through workshops, coaching, team sessions and challenges, our approach benefits you through:

        • A clear view of where your personal development energy should go
        • Improved resilience and style adaptation
        • Increased relational capability including the ability to negotiate through difference and to understand other people’s drivers and triggers
        • Deeper socio-political understanding including using storytelling to galvanise action and surface group dynamics
        • Sharper system leadership including diagnosing and intervening in complex situations


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