About the Centre

For leaders, by Leaders: Strengthening leadership and improving management in Canada's public sector

The Opportunity

Canada is recognized as a world leader in public service. Whether at federal, provincial, territorial or municipal levels, Canada is known for the integrity, quality and capacity of its public services. However, responding to globalization, technology and demographics puts increasing strain on governments and on the leaders who lead and adapt these institutions so they are capable of more complex policy-making as well as responsive to the changing demands of citizens for better levels of service.

In a competitive global economy and in a country that relies extensively on government for a wide array of programs and services, it is increasingly urgent that future generations of public managers be effective, productive and flexible as they respond to the challenges of managing in the 21st Century. Recognizing this, the University of Ottawa has established the Centre on Public Management & Policy as a focal point where theory and practice interact to create a rich learning environment for promising executives in the next generation of leaders.

Aim and Objectives

The Centre on Public Management & Policy provides advanced professional development opportunities for promising executives to enable them to perform effectively in different roles now and in the future. This aim is achieved by offering programs and courses that collectively achieve the following:

  • Create Capacity: Build institutional capacity by supporting the formation, development and maintenance of a leadership cadre within a public service;
  • Build Competence: Build individual capacity by providing opportunities for promising executives to build, expand, and refresh their leadership practice and foster their engagement and commitment to public service;
  • Results-based Development: Provide development that ensures that the leadership cadre has the ability needed to obtain the results that facilitate accomplishment of institutional goals now and in the future;
  • Values-driven: Nurture a leadership cadre that forms intentions to practice and actively reflect public service values and commitments, that has the capacity to create a healthy workplace, and that is committed to fostering and promoting employee well-being.

Scope of Practice

The programs and courses provided by the Centre are professional development opportunities. They are intended for individual practitioners wishing to prepare themselves for positions of greater responsibility. The programs will be of interest to practitioners within the top three or four reporting levels of an organization.

The opportunities we provide encompass different types of formal and informal learning, including action learning, the case method, syndicate work, coaching, and study tours. They are planned to build on existing experience and are focused on building competence, which we define as the know-how needed to achieve a result.

Our Approach

Our work in the Centre helps promising leaders prepare for positions of greater responsibility. We provide an environment within which senior leaders can come to a better understanding of the demands on them and the responses expected of the institutions they lead and manage. Working in Odell House under the aegis of the Chatham House Rule, participants in our professional development programs listen, probe, debate and reflect on the challenges of public service in the 21st century.  

Our approach emerges from our thinking that there is no one model of leadership or method of management that is inherently superior to another. There are many sources of insight and strength and we feel that that preparation for greater responsibility must necessarily include developing abilities across a broad front.

Our approach comes from an idea that over the arc of a career a leader acquires varied experience, develops knowledge and skills, and deepens their belief in public service. Over time, this repertoire comes to define their identity as a leader. It shapes their character and becomes their style, and it defines how they lead and manage. We call this a leadership practice. We think it is a personal professional asset that is unique to an individual leader. The choice to invest in and expand one’s practice is one that we hope every leader will make. The Centre isin the business of providing both structured and informal opportunities for participants to grow their practice so that it can support them in positions of greater responsibility.

Our Leadership Practice Framework has four dimensions: experience, competence, ethos and energy. Each of these has a number of different elements and the complete framework consists of 16 different ways to describe someone’s unique approach to leadership. The framework is flexible and dynamic and one of the early tasks for participants is to validate or adjust it. When a good fit has been established, participants are asked to use the framework to assess their progress at three points during the program: at the start, in the middle and at the end. Sponsors validate the self-assessments and program staff provides detailed written and verbal feedback. In this way we can see where development is happening, provide some assurance that the program is achieving a desired result, and that leadership capacity is being enhanced.

 

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