Sheffield Leader: Essentials Development Programme

The next intake of our Sheffield Leader Essentials programme will resume with nominations taking place in Spring 2022.

Sheffield Leader: Essentials is designed to complement Sheffield Leader: Impact for Executive Team Development. Sheffield Leader Essentials will enable identified individuals from across the university to develop the foundational knowledge, practical skills and behaviours to consistently perform and succeed in their leadership and management role.

These skills will enable individuals to manage and lead their people and their resources, to ensure that they are delivering in line with the University’s focus on excellence and ambition.

Entry Requirements

Sheffield Leader: Essentials is for Professional Services staff who are Grade 7 or above, with line management responsibilities.

Other key considerations for this programme include:

  • The programme is for staff who have high potential, with an emphasis on those who directly and actively manage teams.
  • The programme schedule requires participants to complete 6 digitally blended learning modules across a period of about 10 months. Attendance at all workshops is required.
  • Participants will be organised into smaller “Support and Challenge” groups that they will work closely with throughout the programme on both formal and informal development activities. Participants will be required to manage their own commitments and arrange “Support and Challenge” sessions between themselves in their assigned group to attend at mutually beneficial times.
  • There are also additional Explore and Apply sessions available towards the close of the programme that participants are encouraged to attend in line with their own availability.

Programme Content

The programme is currently underway, with a number of cohorts progressing. Nominations are sought at agreed points in the year, by approaching heads of department across Professional Services and Faculties. If you would like to be considered for this programme, please discuss this with your line manager in the first instance.

If you have any questions or need further information on this development offer, please contact your HR Manager or the Sheffield Leader: Essentials team on, who will be happy to help.

Other key information for individuals considering this programme is presented below:

SL Essentials Summary


All modules throughout the programme seek to embed the Sheffield Leader Behaviours. For further information on what each module covers in more detail, please see below.

Workshop 1 – My Leadership, My Landscape

My Leadership, My Landscape is the starting point of the Sheffield Leader Essentials programme. This is a workshop that will use the feedback you receive from your (i) Personal Insights Questionnaire, and (ii) personal reflection (Pre-Work) on what kind of leader and manager you are currently and where you want to be. There will also be a heavy focus on what actions you need to take to continuously improve yourself as a leader at the University.

The objectives of this workshop are:

  • To introduce the Sheffield Leader Essentials programme, setting up expectations and commitments
  • To expand self-awareness, particularly in terms of what is important to you as a leader and manager, and how this shows up day to day in your behaviours and how others experience them
  • To assign trios for Challenge and Support sets, and allow for agreement of preferred ways of working for the duration of the programme and beyond
  • To agree key objectives and focus in the programme and back in the workplace
Workshop 2 – Strategy, Objectives & Communicating Vision

Managers at the University of Sheffield are expected to sustain an environment of continuous improvement, proactively seek out opportunities for growth and innovation as well as driving and being responsive to change. You will be asked to consider this in line with existing and upcoming strategy and objectives, and how you can encourage and enable others through sharing vision and effective planning.

The objectives of this workshop are:

  • Understand the difference between Vision, Goals and Objectives and learn how to translate a vision into a Strategic Objective
  • Be clear as to why we need Objectives and their importance in connecting everyone with the University Ambition
  • Be able to effectively identify and write departmental Objectives that are closely aligned to the overall University Ambition and those of your line manager
  • Understand the place of great objectives in setting the highest standards, motivating your teams and holding people to account and the practicalities of how it fits into the SRDS process
Workshop 3 - Conversations that Count

This module will equip you with the understanding about the different types of conversation to be had, the value of each and how to hold conversations that count effectively. At the end of this module you will:

  • Feel enabled to recognise and take accountability for having transactional and transformational conversations
  • Explore and practice the key skills required to hold conversations that count
  • Understand possible areas of conflict (including internal conflict) that may occur in having these conversations and the opportunities for development
  • Encourage and enable the giving and receiving of effective feedback
Workshop 4 - Using Judgement and Making Decisions

This module will encourage you to consider the importance of making effective and impactful decisions, and exercising judgement to support the successful delivery of your objectives. By the end of the module, you will:

  • Understand the differences between control, influence and compliance as a leader and manager, and how these concepts are essential in exercising effective judgement and making effective decisions
  • Identify and judge risk, and how as leaders and managers we can hold ourselves accountable in minimising and communicating around this
  • Understand how delegation can assist to increase accountability in others and ultimately improve performance and enhance development
  • Be clear on stakeholder and staff positions and interests, and how this can aid decision making and communicating outcomes for increased positive reception
Workshop 5 - Leading Successful Teams

This module will explore principles around creating an environment and culture that minimises team dysfunction and maximises trust. By the close of the module you will:

  • Understand University principles and practices on inclusivity, and feel comfortable to hold yourself and others accountable to these standards
  • Be able to create, manage and sustain teams with high levels of trust
  • Be clear on what a successful team constitutes in terms of values, behaviours and committed actions
  • Be able to manage your teams well by having those conversations that count
Workshop 6 - Managing Change and Resilience

Throughout the Essentials programme, dealing effectively with change will be implicit and integral to the success of a manager and leader. In this module there will be a practical focus on how to plan for, manage and embed change, in a way that allows for optimal engagement and resilience of those we manage, and ourselves. By the close you will:

  • Feel comfortable with leading, managing and communicating the need for change
  • Understand the impact of change on individuals in the workplace and how any potential triggers for stress or resistance can be identified and addressed early (noting the differences between pressures and stresses)
  • Be clear on the support and services that are available to managers and employees to support through change processes