An introduction to public leadership
An introduction to public leadership

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An introduction to public leadership

3.3.1 Developing yourself as a public leader

To conclude your brief study of public leadership, Professor Hartley and our panel of police leaders offer their advice on how to develop yourself as a leader in the public sphere.

The key points they make here will provide you with a range of areas on which to focus your skill development:

  • understanding and aligning your values
  • flexibility and adaptability across managerial and operational domains
  • creating networks beyond your immediate working environment
  • cultivating political astuteness
  • stepping back from the cultural norms and analysing the problem objectively
  • caring for the well-being of colleagues and followers
  • developing a sense of authenticity and valuing difference.
Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_police_vid_1051.mp4
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I hope you've enjoyed the course so far and I hope you feel it's inspired you to become a more effective leader. It may even have whetted your appetite for further study. In this final video, our panel of opinion leaders give their top tips on what it takes to become a more effective public leader.
I think the first thing is around the values that we have as a leader. And interestingly, over the last few days I've had a number of conversations with people where leaders have displayed values that go against the values of the organisation. So it demonstrates to me that that strong bond with the values that we hold as key is really important. And they're set out for us in the code of ethics. And they're basically around the Nolan principles with two others added on to that.
You need to be able to be flexible, so one minute to be dealing with the business of policing - money, performance - those areas of work - estates. And one phone call later you're dealing with running what would be quite considerable investigation or we got a job where we are having to manage a threat to a person's life, potentially, or harm. And you have to move, step between the two quite quickly and use your experience which you've gained as a Constable or as a Sergeant or as an Inspector and be able to move your mindset, your leadership mindset, from maybe a managerial mindset to an active leadership mindset where you're commanding a response.
But I think leadership at the very top puts a - requires a set of skills where you will need support and you will need the - you will need to go beyond the policing family to be able to learn how best to discharge the role that you've got. And I think that's the same from any of the, actually, senior positions. Because even one part of the mat is still a significant role. So, you know, I think leadership means you've got to have a very wide view of the world and you can't just stay within your comfort zone.
Really understanding what is important to the public, what is important to politicians, perhaps what's important to different parts of the public, as well, is really important to understand. Because without that political astuteness, it might be possible to misread a context or not give sufficient explanation of why particular action is taken.
The other really key bit around us is that we've had decades, really, of just doing things because that's the way we've done them. Rather than necessarily thinking about, well, is this the most efficient way to do it? What are the service outputs that I get from this? How do they link to the outcomes I'm seeking to achieve? And those are the sorts of skills that I now need everybody in the organisation to have.
We think austerity measures, government cut backs, some terms and conditions are causing problems with our staff. Actually what our staff are saying through survey work is, yeah, although these things impact on them, what's actually making them feel stressed, anxious or depressed is the internal leadership models. So the biggest impact for staff welfare is the first line manager.
I think it's important to bring yourself to work. And when I say bring yourself, that is actually about understanding your history. I come from a people, I come from a Caribbean background. And I remember in the '90s doing a local history course at one of my local colleges and that actually gave me an awful lot of confidence. It changed the way that I stood, it raised my self-esteem, it took me from feeling like a visitor, you know I was born here, to someone who had confidence that my family, my heritage had contributed to making this space, this country what it is.
End transcript
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