The Northern Rail Leadership Development Programme (NLDP) was developed in response to strategic reviews conducted across the business. Its aim was to develop a consistent approach and standard of leadership across the organisation, beginning with senior managers, followed by all levels of management.
The main objectives of the NLDP, which was delivered in association with Real World Group (RWG), were: to provide an excellent standard of leadership development for all senior managers; to enable senior managers to feel valued, and to strengthen their confidence as leaders of the business; to promote the importance of self-development; to encourage cross-functional working between senior managers; and to build on existing management and leadership skills.
To ensure maximum impact and outcomes for this project, the following principles were applied at all stages of the programme, from launch to delivery, to evaluation: practical and rooted ''in the real world; underpinned by cutting-edge research; relevant; inspirational; challenging; focused and measurable; highly motivational; integrated with other aspects of the wider programme; and business-critical, with a customer excellence focus.
The programme comprised three main elements:
Part of the programme was designed to enable leaders to immediately put their new leadership skills into practise on a project of their choice, engaging their team in new and more effective ways. The success of these was showcased at an event to celebrate the programme end.
As an example, one of the projects was intended to increase passenger usage on Sundays on a particular line during the run-up to Christmas. To achieve this, managers utilised their increased engaging leadership styles to great success. This took the form of: explaining the nature of the project to staff; discussing the practical implications with staff; and asking for volunteers.
The project was successful, not only in the result – an efficient service, run profitably – but also in the way it was achieved, which included an increased staff pride and commitment in their work, demonstrated by staff voluntarily taking time out to clean and scrub the rolling stock and other facilities, and deciding to dress up in seasonal costumes, and distributing mince pies to passengers en route.
Evaluation of the significant difference the programme made to the leaders and their teams was also gathered, and included examples such as these: