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The Leadership Statement - 10 things you could do to make it live

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The Departmental Leadership Exchange (DLE) is a cross-government group which has met on a monthly basis since March 2015. They discuss the latest developments in leadership, share good practice, and take actions to improve the way we deliver services.

To mark one year since publication of the Leadership Statement, and to encourage its expected behaviours and values, the group has developed a ‘Top 10’ list of leadership initiatives that could be applied more widely or replicated in some form.

  1. MoD gathers senior leaders for regular conferences led by the Permanent Secretary. By repeatedly sharing the department’s vision and discussing the leadership behaviours, senior leaders have a clear narrative and useful tools for bringing the statement to life. Do your leaders set a clear vision? Could you use this to encourage something similar with your team?

  2. Jo from MoD recently ran a session with the DLE on the importance of storytelling. Try this to kick off your next team meeting - tell each other about your favourite song - but don’t name the artist or title. See how much emotion we put into describing something we are passionate about? How could you use this in your day job, as a leader in the organisation? MoD believes so passionately that they created the “Defence Story”, which can be used by anyone in the organisation and helps staff understand the department’s history, purpose and direction.

  3. MoJ label their activities with Inspiring, Confident and Empowering (ICE). They want to show how the statement’s behaviours are beneficial to regular activities that support the organisation’s goals. Many of the things we do already demonstrate good leadership behaviours. But is there something you’re really proud of, and could share more widely?

  4. DCMS developed the ICE Academy, embracing the statement’s behaviour’s in full. The academy aims to help staff of all grades develop an understanding of leadership and its place in delivering objectives. Understanding the Leadership Statement can help us learn from experience. The last time something went wrong, did people around you take time to reflect?

  5. HMT’s senior leaders have made themselves known and visible to all staff. They support initiatives outside their own business area to help raise the profile of grassroots change. We’d be really interested in hearing examples of visible leaders in your organisation, to help others learn. 

  6. DfT launched “Velocity”, a 12-month development programme, in partnership with Civil Service Learning. It aims to make a real difference to participants’ confidence in their day-to-day work and give them core tools to help them succeed. Have you ever lacked confidence? It can feel an elusive quality, but there are steps we can take to improve it.

  7. BIS partnered with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Whitehall and Industry Group to successfully deliver programmes on “Becoming a Flexible Leader” and “Building Confidence and Resilient Leaders”. It’s important to focus on the skills staff need to deliver with the resources available. Both of BIS’s courses were designed in this way and received excellent feedback from staff.

  8. HMRC's "Building our Future" programme sets the expectation for leaders to define and communicate the future of the organisation, with bespoke development support from a new Leadership Academy to manage change and embody the Leadership Statement. What would be your development focus to help you step up and describe the future of your organisation?

  9. DfT bring together all Senior Civil Service staff at “Momentum: DfT Senior Leadership Academy”. The academy aims to ensure senior leaders have the capability to engage and motivate their teams to deliver. How much do you think you motivate your colleagues and friends?

  10. DCMS asked their SCS to deliver leadership workshops for all staff. The workshops focus on what the Leadership Statement means for individual roles and the part they play in achieving departmental goals. What do you take from the Leadership Statement? Its behaviours were chosen following input from thousands of civil servants, and aim to benefit staff at all levels and everyone around them.

As you can see from this list, much good practice is already in place, and group members do a lot to share with and learn from each other.

Every major government department has its own programme, and your team and organisation would benefit from hearing what improving leadership capability means in every area. And why not find out more about the support that's available in yours? Or suggest some ideas of your own, sending them to


Bullet point 8 in this article was amended on Thursday, 11 January 2016, at the request of HMRC, to reflect the supportive role of their Leadership Academy.

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  1. Comment by Angela Ashmore posted on

    Read the 10 points above which I found quite inspiring only to read the 'comments' to find this clearly isn't happening! We have some fantastic things going on in CMG around Changing Futures leadership which our people find inspiring; down to our highly motivated faciliators. An update on this forum would be good to back up what has been said!!

  2. Comment by broke whilst working for the CS posted on

    Building Our Future in HMRC is one of those slow impact car crashes you see on TV - you know what's going to happen but your powerless to do anything. It certainly isn't inspiring it's staff - more like terrifying them.

    The only empowerment I see both as a union rep and ordinary staff member is with bullies, a problem prevalent within HMRC. Sometimes senior management are riding roughshod over national standards and procedures to make life more miserable. Even when they are found guilty of bullying all that happens is they are moved and often promoted.

  3. Comment by Martin posted on

    This is a top 10 list of leadership initiatives. Number 3 on the list says
    "Many of the things we do already demonstrate good leadership behaviours."

    So number 3 on the list of leadership iniatives is "Well, we show good leadership behaviours already". If you're going to make a Top10 list of BS, at least take the time to finish it properly, and not run out of ideas at number 3. But apart from that, these sound like really productive meetings, almost as good as my team meetings.

  4. Comment by Jo Sheppard posted on

    Re the MOD Defence Story - more than happy to share copies if you want to email me direct. Dawn - yours has gone today!

  5. Comment by Colin posted on

    These examples are all abstract and aspirational: where are the examples of leadership resulting in "actions to improve the way we deliver services"? If the Leadership Statement has made a real difference in the past 12 months one would expect that specific and practical examples of better leadership producing better results would be readily apparent to most if not all of us (and readily quotable by the DLE).

  6. Comment by mohammed qureshi posted on

    Kevin you are absolutely right and were i work the status quo can not be challenged.

  7. Comment by Saul McIntyre posted on

    Unfortunately HMRC's "Building our Future" initiative entails closing all local offices and expecting people to travel further to regional centres.

    Other departments had better hope that this particular initiative isn't applied more widely.

  8. Comment by Kevin posted on

    Building our Future is not delivering on its promises. It's a fantastic idea, but unfortunately, all empty words with nothing of any substance to back it up. When it was delivered there was no impression at all that our leadership team actually believed in what they were delivering.

    There is going to have to be a paradigm shift in management culture. Otherwise we are not going to see the department evolving to the extent it needs to in order for the vision of Building our Future to be realised.

    Warmest regards.

  9. Comment by Baz posted on

    Should have obviously read "I HAVE to agree"

  10. Comment by Baz posted on

    I ahve to agree with Dawn & Jackie above Defence Story's a new one on me!

  11. Comment by mohammed qureshi posted on

    I applaud on how hard DWP is working on its leadership programme but unfortunately what i have seen working working within the department it has a very very long way to go.

  12. Comment by Dawn Grimwood posted on

    'MoD believes so passionately that they created the “Defence Story”, which can be used by anyone in the organisation and helps staff understand the department’s history, purpose and direction.'

    I am a MOD employee. I am not aware of this initiative and would like to see it. Can someone send me a link or tell me how to access this 'Defence Story'?

    • Replies to Dawn Grimwood>

      Comment by Jackie posted on

      I work for MOD as well and can't say I've heard of the Defence Story either. Judging by the MYS results for 2015 it doesn't look like it's had much of an impact either!

    • Replies to Dawn Grimwood>

      Comment by Joanne Sheppard posted on

      Dawn, Jackie, Baz,
      This product has already been launched at both the Band B and SCS conferences. Each SCS member was tasked with telling this story in their area of the business. We are at the moment working on a “voice over” version for the intranet – but if you would like a copy before this then please do drop me an email and I am happy to provide it on a disk (Joanne Sheppard – Head of Leadership and Engagement at the MOD).