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"Systems Leadership the quickest route to improved public services"

New Cass research looks at ways to maximize leadership impact

New research by Cass and the Colebrooke Centre for Evidence and Implementation suggests that the quickest route to improved public services is via effective systems leadership. Systems Leadership is an emerging theory of leadership which looks at how the impact of leadership across an organisation can be maximised.

The research was commissioned by the Virtual Staff College, the professional development arm of the Association of Directors of Children's Services. It puts emphasis on leadership as collective endeavour, which differs from past 'hero leader' models. In the new approach, shared values and positive intentions take priority, rather than technical competencies outlined in traditional leadership rulebooks. The approach has been successful at senior levels of local councils.

Carol Chambers, Chair of the VSC Board and Director: People at Rutland County Council said: "Public services are no longer provided by simple organisations that can deliver at the press of a button, and service improvement can no longer be achieved by compliance with a set of rules, however skillfully devised.

"What we need is a much more sophisticated approach which recognises the complex times we are living in where demand for services is up and tolerance of failure is down. Increasingly, there are multiple sources of authority for the delivery of public services and those in leadership positions are increasingly working in a context of ever growing complexity and ambiguity."

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