At his All-Staff Address on Friday 2 June, President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden emphasised the need to build good workplace relationships as the foundation to achieving our 10-Year Plan.
We need to continue to build a sense of being one team working, planning and delivering together, towards our shared vision. To be able to do this, one of our goals is to provide an excellent staff experience with improved management and leadership at all levels.
Sir Christopher is the Executive Sponsor of the Leadership and Management Development Framework. Designed in 2016, in partnership with a cross section of staff from across the University, the Framework is underpinned by Our Southampton Behaviours which help support greater collegiality, one of the key principles at the heart of the ‘Simply better’ strategy.
The Framework has been developed into modules which are being rolled out to staff in a phased approach, in line with the 10-Year Plan. The first training priority was identified as supporting managers with change. This was also supported by the results of the 2016 Staff Engagement Survey, which highlighted that employees were not confident with the way the University managed change.
In order to achieve our ambitions of securing and maintaining a place among the world’s leading universities, we are going to need to adapt, continuing to make improvements and developing a culture of trust and empowerment.
Two modules, ‘Understanding Change’ and ‘Enabling Change’, have been developed to support line managers when navigating, and leading others, through change.
This 20-minute eLearning module has been designed to raise personal awareness of the reactions to change. It provides some context by looking at what is happening today at the University and highlights opportunities to recognise your own reactions to change and sharing approaches that you can use to support your own journey.
Enabling Change is a four-hour workshop which builds on the Understanding Change eLearning module. Enabling Change is designed to strengthen your ability to lead, manage and successfully enable your people to work through change. Providing a range of tools, approaches and techniques, it will support you to communicate change messages, identify and resolve potential conflict, support others through change and enable you to articulate a plan of action for your area of change.
250 line managers have attended the modules since they were launched in March 2017. A number of workshops are planned between now and the end of 2017, which line managers can book onto using the links below:
Feedback from participants
Feedback from the participants has been very positive so far, with many valuing the opportunity to meet with others, hear their perspectives and understand the various challenges line managers are facing when working with change. Participants also value the opportunity to spend time focusing on supporting both themselves and their people.
It was a very good workshop, and I learned some useful things, one of which I’ve already put into practice!
It made me reflect on whether I have fully taken my team with me and been clear about my objectives and reasons for change.
What happens next?
Following the workshop, the support continues; each participant receives a newsletter with hints, tips and further reading on change. Participants are also invited to attend a short follow-up session to explore or work through specific areas of interest in relation to change in more detail.
Through these activities, it is hoped there will be an improvement in the way change is managed across the University. We are raising personal awareness of change and supporting managers to understand the key steps required to navigate and enable their teams to work through change successfully; from communicating the change vision through to embedding the change and making it stick.
The next workshop, ‘Maximising Contribution’, has recently been launched. This workshop is designed to support and develop line managers’ confidence and ability to have more regular and effective discussions about performance and to enable team members to maximise their contribution.
The workshop focuses on building skills in three key areas: setting clear expectations; providing balanced, fair and accurate feedback; and having effective and confident performance conversations. Those who have already attended the Enabling Change module will be the first ones invited to attend this next workshop.
The framework will be developed over time and in the future will provide development opportunities for all levels, with a particular focus on developing management and leadership skills in the short- to medium-term.
If you have any queries about this article please email: Leadership and Management Development.