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From good agency leaders to great system leaders

The big challenges facing the State Services require leaders who can operate at both an agency and a system level. Leaders need to understand different organisational cultures within and outside the State

Services, and think differently about how agencies collectively achieve outcomes. As a result, there is a renewed emphasis on people management - how to attract, develop and retain people, as well as help them be most effective. The shift in leadership SSC seeks is defined in Table 2.1.

Within the senior leaders work stream, SSC is developing people for senior leadership. Key highlights across this work stream includes:

  • From July 2015 there has been a consistent talent management process for all senior leaders across the Public Service. This will be extended to include all Public Service employees by 2017.
  • A Talent Management Information System has been procured and by December 2015 will be implemented. This will support the Career Board process and more effective deployment of senior leaders to where they are needed most, both for system critical roles or to support their development.
  • SSC has worked with an assessment provider to develop a common approach to assessment and benchmarking. This will enable us to develop a better understanding of the current leadership capability in the Public Service and the strengths and development needs of individual leaders. This common assessment approach is called Leadership Insight. The assessment of senior leaders commenced in August 2015. By December 2015 SSC plans to have all tier two leaders and a number of tier three leaders from across the system assessed using this tool.
  • The basis for the Leadership Insight assessment approach is the Leadership Success Profile. This has been updated to ensure it is reflective of the needs of our leaders and the challenges they face. Over the 2015/16 year this will be implemented in a range of people management processes by SSC, the Leadership Development Centre and agencies.
Table 2.1 From good agency leaders to great system leaders

From good agency leaders...

To great system leaders...

  • Leaders who operate with authority over things they are accountable for (Agency Leaders).
  • Leaders who lead their agency and are mostly internally focused.
  • Leaders who are focused on managing risk and delivering results safely.
  • Leaders who consult the community on their solutions.
  • Leaders who get everything expected of them done.
  • Leaders who focus on agency achievement and protect their resources.
  • Leaders who ‘manage' their senior team members.
  • Leaders who operate with influence over things they feel responsible for (Public Service leaders).
  • Leaders who lead in the cross-sectoral and wider State Services context and are mostly externally focused.
  • Leaders who reflect and respond to the needs of diverse New Zealanders.
  • Leaders who know when to take calculated risks and are not scared to experiment and learn from failure.
  • Leaders who engage the community in their questions.
  • Leaders who concentrate their resources on their top priorities.
  • Leaders who also contribute to collective achievement.
  • Leaders who build powerful teams and who lead highly engaged organisations.

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