Leading and managing people in Higher Education can be complex and challenging. To navigate effectively in this culture, people managers need to have confidence, clarity, and agility to harness the experience and diversity offered by their team members. Managers need to understand what motivates each person in their team and why they come to work each day. This was the approach our Organisational development team took in developing Salford Managers, our management development programme, aimed at both new and existing managers at our University. It was designed to support managers in their role, and help to strengthen their skills, knowledge and capabilities overall in people management and leadership.
It was co-designed with a group of existing leaders to build in live examples and capture what it’s like to be a leader at Salford.
Some recent Salford Manager graduates share their experience...
By the time it came to the final session I really did feel confident in my ability to lead a team
"Usually, when I am about to attend a new course, my mind whirls through how I will cope with the anxiety of learning in an environment in which I often don’t feel comfortable.
By the end of day one, I had a complete u-turn in my thoughts and feelings. Yes, there was still some level of anxiety but on the whole I looked forward to the next sessions to see what nuggets of information I could get to help me improve. The course adapted to styles of learning for everyone, mixing and blending all of these different methods into each of the sessions which kept the learning really interesting.
The facilitators were, as usual, very supportive and by the time it came to the final session I really did feel confident in my ability to lead a team. We have also continued with our Action Learning Set which I believe is a testament of how successful the course was and its success in bringing different people together from around the University to help each other grow and develop."
The balance of identifying strengths and areas for development in a constructive way enabled me to reflect on how I might do the best I could by the team, organisation and myself in this role.
"I approached being enrolled on the Salford Manager Programme with ambivalence, I largely saw it as something I felt I had to do rather than wanted to. From the beginning it became clear my view would be challenged and I moved from this position to using the time, space, support of the facilitators and group to help me think about my role and its purpose. The balance of identifying strengths and areas for development in a constructive way enabled me to reflect on how I might do the best I could by the team, organisation and myself in this role. It is a work in progress and has been impactful in a way I did not imagine at the start".
The Salford Managers programme is an amazing journey, that teaches you not only about management but also yourself.
"It helps you value and appreciate your own individual style and see how this can be of value to the organisation. It then gives you the tools to fill areas you might lack.
Led by the fantastic OD team, who help the participants to feel empowered to follow the Salford behaviours. It challenges and supports you in equal measure and gives you a safe space to experiment, explore and learn. The fact that they work for Salford means the training feels relevant and not generic.
In conclusion, it’s a fantastic course that has helped me learn, gain confidence and feel supported as a Salford Manager. I would recommend to anyone at any level within the organisation."
Within the next few weeks I could begin to see changes in my leadership style. Areas which I was not aware needed developing suddenly came to the forefront and it was a revelation!
"I must admit to being very dubious about the Salford Managers Programme having experienced many a ‘managers’ course previously within my NHS career. After day one however I was completely bowled over and knew this was something completely different that I was going to enjoy. Within the next few weeks I could begin to see changes in my leadership style. Areas which I was not aware needed developing suddenly came to the forefront and it was a revelation! Adapting and learning new skills and being given the freedom to try new things enabled me to see things in a different light. The way this programme is delivered and the support you get from the team is outstanding.
One of the key activities I enjoyed were the action learning sets; a fantastic way to develop individual skills. Our action learning set group really bonded and a year on we still are close. Meeting individuals from all over the University and working through problems together has been a huge source of strength for me."