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By GreaterSport | 02 September 2021 | TAGS: leadership, GM Moving, Research and learning

GM Moving has facilitated and hosted a system leadership programme. Initially this ran through the spring/summer of 2020 before being repeated and offered to a wider stakeholder group from October 2020 to January 2021.

This programme, was designed to help grow leadership capacity, building on the GM Moving principle that ‘everyone is a leader’. It included the following modules:

  • Values and Leadership
  • Values and Story Telling
  • Introduction to Systems Leadership
  • Public Narrative
  • Systems Leadership Behaviours

In addition, there were reflection sessions, mainly focussed on those closely involved in the Local Pilot Programme (LP). There have been 57 attendees on the programme modules (35 on the LP, 22 from the wider system) with 41 supported in the reflection sessions (37 of these were from the LP).

Qualitative interviews with participants highlighted that they engaged following receipt of information from GreaterSport and/or colleagues closely linked to the LP. Participants who are not working closely on the LP highlighted that they attended based on close professional relationships with colleagues in GreaterSport or because their colleagues/bosses recommended the session.

Those attending, who were not closely linked to the Local Pilot, all remarked that they had not been sure if the sessions were for them. This was initially based on expectations related to the content and superficial understanding of who the sessions were targeted at.

“I’m not a leader, I’m quite low down in the pecking order”.

“I turned up and must admit I wondered if I was in the right place. They all knew each other. But, I’m so glad I stayed it was really helpful”.

 “I didn’t think if it was for me because everyone there works in health or public health. I think it was useful for them to hear about the challenges supporting communities from my perspective.”

Participants were quickly reassured by the session lead and other attendees. This should be noted, as if the ambition is to widen the reach of the sessions further, more description of who is welcome, and why it is so open, would be recommended.

The sessions were broadly appreciated and contained useful content that encouraged participants to reflect on their current challenges. The opportunity to apply the learning to participants own issues and to talk them through with peers was particularly appreciated. Some remarked that the sessions were too long (anything over 90 mins was deemed too long) which meant that they were saturated with information and found it difficult to fit in amongst other responsibilities.

The impacts of the training have been varied. Qualitative data suggests that participants found it useful to understand why they were finding certain situations frustrating. The training that supported them to understand and appreciate their own values and perspectives – but also understand others, gave them new insight and strategies to deal with these situations.

“I understand my situation better – before I was frustrated but this has helped me understand why it is the way it is.”

"I would have given up and that would have been the end of it, but I was able to talk through the issue I was having and they encouraged me to see if from a different perspective. I used some of the coaching techniques and we ended up doing a really good piece of work together.”

“It helped me to really see what the charity was and how it fitted in the system. I drew this chart which goes all over the place, but it actually really helped me to see what direction I needed to take the club”.


The participants broadly encouraged colleagues driving GM Moving to continue to invest in the leadership programme. In particular, they felt it could be offered to senior colleagues who abide by particular operating models which they now consider not fit to address complex issues. It was advised though that this might duplicate local ‘offers’ because systems is a buzz word. Another related course of action could be to take the leadership module content but work with local groups to apply it in place.



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