Using the Leadership Framework and Supporting Resources

How can I use the Leadership Framework exercises?

The Leadership Framework is based on ideas and suggestions from managers across Oxford to establish a shared understanding of what effective leadership and management look like. It is intended to strengthen leadership and management community and practice at the University.

To support its use, a toolkit for managers has been developed providing guidance on key topics. A set of interactive self-access learning materials have also been designed, incorporating two exercises for each of the 18 elements in the framework.

Using the Leadership Framework...

Begin with the self-diagnostic tool to assess your strengths, critical roles, and development priorities. Consider seeking feedback from others to gain a rounded perspective. The diagnostic will guide you towards the most relevant exercises to focus on initially.

Alternatively, if you already have a sense of your focus areas, proceed directly to the relevant element or explore the exercises for pertinent content.

Explore our Managers' Toolkit guide, especially the section on 'Developing yourself', for additional insights.

Reflect on areas for improvement and utilise the reflection sheet to consolidate your learning. Keep track of identified actions and learning points. Regularly review your progress and consider discussing it with your line manager or a trusted colleague.

Ideas for Managers:

  1. During one-to-one meetings, integrate framework discussions naturally. For instance:
    • If discussing delegation, explore relevant exercises like:
      • Element 1: 'Achieves agreed objectives, using resources and deploying staff'
      • Element 2: 'Thinks ahead, planning and delegating work, and leading change effectively'.
    • For tricky relationship issues, consider elements like:
      • Working with Others, Element 1: 'Builds effective relationships'
      • Element 4: 'Encourages and values feedback and contributions'.
  2. Alternatively, review elements together. Encourage your team member to select one for discussion, allowing them to lead. Conclude with actionable steps and follow up in the next one-to-one.

Ideas for Direct Reports:

  1. Share successes or challenges using framework context. Note relevant elements and discuss during one-to-ones.
  2. Prompt your manager to assess your work against the framework. Incorporate their feedback and attempt relevant exercises.
  3. Utilise the framework to pinpoint areas for skill enhancement. Discuss your progress and insights during one-to-ones.
  4. Identify skills needed for career advancement using the framework. Focus on bridging skill gaps between current and desired roles.

A PDR, or Performance Development Review, is a comprehensive one-to-one discussion focusing on the past and forthcoming year.

Refer to POD’s website for details. It covers objective review, setting new ones, and offers an opportunity for reflection, considering progress and broader developmental needs.

Prepare by reflecting on framework elements to pinpoint strengths and areas for development. Reviewers can outline specific feedback using the Example, Effect, Change, or Continue (EEC) model. Use the leadership framework within the PDR development planning to explore and document leadership behaviours and competencies. Note: Some may need encouragement to recognize leadership, while others might overlook growth opportunities.

Implement a personal learning plan to translate aspirations into tangible plans. Collaboratively plan framework resource use, identify support, and establish check-in and follow-up procedures.

Use the Leadership Framework and resources with your team or multiple members.

Remember, leadership behaviours aren't exclusive to managers or project leaders. Anyone suggesting improvements or identifying opportunities is demonstrating leadership. Encouraging feedback and collaboration also showcases teamwork skills.

Suggestions for team development:

  1. Ahead of a team meeting, assess framework elements together. Use a RAG rating to identify strengths and areas for improvement. Discuss implications and plan follow-ups.
  2. After a meeting or project review, reflect on demonstrated framework elements. Agree on next steps and encourage individual development using relevant resources.
  3. Many learning activities in 'Getting Things Done' and 'Working with Others' are adaptable for teams. Choose exercises based on team analysis, discussing ideas and recording learnings for future follow-up.

Recruiting for managerial roles presents challenges in defining specific selection criteria.

Simply asking about managing experience is vague and open to interpretation, potentially leading to missed opportunities for qualified candidates. The framework offers recruiters a structured approach to delineate desired managerial capabilities, providing concrete criteria for effective leadership and management. Consider these three examples to guide your recruitment process.

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

What will this person need to be able to do?

Give the team a clear sense of purpose; they’ve undergone so much change recently that they feel a bit adrift

Help team members feel that their opinions and idea matter; their last manager relied too much on her own ideas and there’s some untapped potential in the team.

Work with senior members of the dept to engage them in supporting new ways of working;

How is that described in the framework?

‘Articulates a clear vision, engaging others in the process’ (Being a Leader, element 2)

‘Encourages and values feedback and contributions’ (Working with others, element 4)

‘Influences stakeholders to achieve desired change’ (Getting things done, element 3)

What might a selection criterion look like?

[The successful candidate will be able to…]
Articulate a clear vision, engaging others in the process

[The successful candidate will be able to…]
Encourage feedback and contribution from the team

[The successful candidate will be able to…] Influence stakeholders to achieve desired change

What might we ask at interview?

Can you tell us about a time when you’ve had to help your team to have a clear sense of purpose? 

Sometimes team members can be reluctant to stick their head above the parapet; can you tell us about your experience of encouraging people to speak out with their feedback and ideas?

[Prompt if needed] Can you give us an example of feedback from a team member that you’ve found useful?]

Please tell us how you’ve worked with senior stakeholders and others to get things done, especially when you’ve been driving change.

[Prompt: what about change that might meet resistance?]

What will we be looking for?

Show that they understand links between vision, values and behaviours; can engage people in vision (not just tell them)

Show that they understand the value of feedback (and preferably can give an example of feedback they’ve received and found useful, preferably from a team member)

Know the importance of understanding your stakeholders so that you can meet their needs and influence them;


Alternatively, consider including the leadership framework in the application pack. Highlight key elements and ask candidates to refer to the framework in their application statement. Alternatively, request candidates to share examples demonstrating framework elements in their application.

New members of staff need to understand what is expected of them in their role, otherwise problems may arise with successful completion of the probationary period.

For those starting new manager roles, you can use the Leadership Framework to set out the expectations for leadership and management behaviours. You can signpost them to the framework and you can ask them to use the diagnostic or ask them to look at element exercises related to specific management behaviours which you feel are a priority for the role, or which their application process indicated could be a personal development area. Include reference to the framework in the induction plan and probation documentation.

When you review the probationary period, invite the new manager to share any learning, development or future goals in relation to the elements in the framework.

For further information on induction and probation, please see HR pages and the Manager Toolkit guide.

Diagnostic tool

To help identify priority areas for development, download the checklist analysis of needs