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Resourceful Leadership

Leading for outcomes in a time of shock

Resourceful Leadership - Leading for outcomes in a time of shock


Public sector leaders are experiencing a series of ‘shocks’ to their system unparalleled in modern times. The triple drivers of unprecedented funding reduction, radical policy reform and the new localism are forcing the public sector to transform itself at a much greater rate than in recent memory. These shocks are putting public sector leaders under continuing stress.

Drawing from National College commissioned research over the period of the 2010 and early 2011, this report explores the behaviours of successful public sector leaders during this time of shock and change.

Key findings

Our report explores how resourceful leaders shape the environment around them, regardless of context, to deliver outcomes effectively. Resourceful leaders do this by identifying, and seeking and to widen, the pool of resources available to them.

There are eight core behaviours of resourceful leaders. Part of the skill of ‘resourcefulness’ is both to develop these behaviours (in effect, broadening the internal resource pool), and to select the right combination of behaviours for a given situation or problem.

Contrary to what might commonly be expected, public sector leaders responded positively to the shock to the system, often viewing cost reductions, policy changes and new delivery models as an opportunity to make positive reforms to the way services and institutions are configured. These public service leaders valued pragmatism over ideology, and ruthlessly retained a strong focus on improving outcomes of service users, often by reaching out more widely to potential partners as a means to manage the funding shock to the system.

The report concludes with a set of critical questions designed to aid public sector leaders in reading their local context effectively, assessing the capability of their organisation, and identifying resources for the future.


Download  Resourceful Leadership: leading for outcomes in a time of shock (PDF)

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