Using the Leadership Framework and supporting resources

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 new managers has been developed providing guidance on key topics, and mapped to the framework.  A set of interactive self-access learning materials have also been designed, incorporating two exercises for each of the 18 elements in the framework. 

This guide is intended to support colleagues, especially those who are responsible for managing other managers with using the framework with your team members.

The best place to start is with the self-diagnostic.  This gives you a chance to consider where your current strengths are, what is critical in your role at the moment, and where your development priorities lie.  To round out your perspective you may want to gather feedback from others.  The diagnostic will signpost you to the most useful exercises for you to focus on first.
Alternatively, you may already have a sense of where you need to focus. If so, you can head straight to the element that feels most useful or browse the exercises to see if something feels particularly relevant.
You may also be interested in our Managers' Toolkit  guide to refresh your thinking on ‘Developing yourself’. 
Take time to think about where you would like to get better and reflect on what you have learned (you can use the reflection sheet for this).  Keep notes of your identified actions and learning.  Take time to review your progress regularly and if possible discuss this with your line manager or a trusted colleague.

Ideas for the manager:
1.    During the one-to-one meeting, look out for opportunities to refer to the framework, e.g.  
If the discussion has focused on how to delegate more effectively, ask your team member where they see their strengths and areas for development in relation to delegation more broadly, and invite them to look at the exercises related to the relevant elements:
Getting Things Done Element 1: ‘Achieves agreed objectives, using resources and deploying staff’ flexibly and Element 2: ‘Thinks ahead, planning and delegating work and leading change effectively’.
If the discussion has focused on a tricky relationship, invite your team member to consider which framework element might be involved, e.g. Working with Others, Element 1, ‘Builds effective relationships’ or Element 4: ‘Encourages and values feedback and contributions’.
2.    Alternatively, take a few minutes to review the list of elements together.
Invite your team member to select one that feels like a useful current strength or area for development to discuss.  Let your team member lead the discussion, and discuss fully, including providing constructive feedback.  Finish the conversation with an action or commitment to reflect further.  Don’t forget to follow up with them in your next one to one. 

Ideas for the direct report:
1.    If you have a success or challenge you want to share, consider highlighting this in the context of the framework.  Identify which elements are relevant, and make notes on how you demonstrated this, or where you feel you have not met this.  Bring your thinking to your 1:1, discuss and ask your manager’s views.   

2.    Ask your manager to think about your work in relation to the framework, and bring their ideas to the meeting for a feedback discussion.  Ask your manager which areas they feel you could work on and have a go at one of the exercises for this element.  
3.    Having selected an area you wish to build your confidence and skills (through the self-diagnosis or discussions, work through one of the Leadership Framework exercises.  Bring your thinking and learning to your 1:1 for discussion.
4.    If you want to focus on your next career steps, you can use the framework as the basis for identifying skills you have and skills you would like to develop. What do you need to focus on to close the gap between your current and desired future role?

A PDR can be described as a high level one-to-one a discussion that focusses on the past and future year, rather than the past and future month or few weeks. See the PDR pages on POD’s website for further information.  You will be reviewing objectives and setting new ones, it’s also the perfect opportunity to reflect and think more broadly, to reflect on progress, and consider together what further development is appropriate and how it will take place, as well as focusing on the core competencies we should be demonstrating. 
When preparing for the PDR, reviewers and reviewees can reflect on the framework elements and identify some strengths and areas for development against these.  
Reviewers can note down some specific feedback examples to share using the Example, Effect, Change or Continue (EEC) model, ready to talk through with the reviewee.  Use the leadership framework within the PDR development planning section to explore and record thinking about leadership behaviours and competencies.  NB: Some people will need encouragement to recognise leadership in what they do; others may overlook opportunities for growth and improvement. 
Use a personal learning development plan make sure that aspirations turn into firm plans. Plan together how you will use the exercises in the framework resources, what support is available and how you will check in and follow up.

You can also use the Leadership Framework and resources with the whole team or several team members.  For more ideas on team development, take a look at our website here: 

Remember that although it is likely to be more immediately relevant to those who manage others, or who lead projects or initiatives, anyone can display leadership behaviours. Someone who comes up with a good idea for how you could improve a process is seeking to do things better.  Someone who spots an opportunity, or a risk, brings it to the team’s attention is thinking ahead and taking an open and long-term view of possibilities. Team members who encourage and value feedback and contributions from their colleagues are showing their capabilities in working with others. 

Please see below for some suggestions for using the framework in team development:

A. Invite the team to look at the elements in advance of a team meeting and consider how relevant do they think it is to them? Could they see ways in which it could be used? Which areas seem like team strengths or areas for development?  You can use a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) rating to determine a picture of team strengths and priority development areas.  Discuss the implications together, and invite the team to identify next steps together.  Be clear on how you plan to follow these up.

B. At the end of a team meeting or during an away day, or when reviewing a project together, invite team members to consider if as a team you demonstrated any of the elements in the framework, what was demonstrated and what the learnings are.  Agree next steps together and how you plan to follow these up.  Encourage team members to use the relevant resources to further their own development.

C. In Getting Things Done and Working with Others, many of the learning activities are intended to be easily adaptable to a team environment.  For example, Getting things Done, Element  2: ‘Achieves agreed objectives, using resources and deploying staff flexibly’ (Exercise A), you can explore attitudes to planning together and how well the team collectively plans work , or in Element  3: ‘Influences stakeholders to achieve desired change’, you can use Exercise B to build your collective understanding of team stakeholders, or use the communications channels analysis exercise in Exercise A, Working with Others, Element  3: ‘Facilitates open and transparent communication to strengthen internal and external communications’. 

Using your analysis, or drawing on the team’s analysis of strengths and areas for development, select an appropriate exercise to use with the team.  Share the activity and invite team members to discuss their thinking in pairs and then bring ideas to the whole team.  Be clear who is recording learning and how it will be shared, used and followed up.

When recruiting to jobs that involve managing people, it can be hard to create selection criteria that are specific enough to be really useful in the recruitment process. Asking prospective applicants whether they have experience in managing others is so vague, and so open to interpretation, that it is unlikely to be helpful. You may miss out on good candidates because they don’t know exactly what you are looking for, so can’t tailor their applications effectively. 

The framework gives you the opportunity, as a recruiter, to think in detail about the things you want a new people manager to be able to do. It is designed to give concrete terms for the capabilities required for effectively leading and managing others and in many cases you will be able to use their wording as criteria with little or no change.

Here are three examples of how you might work through the process, with help from the framework:

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, you could include the leadership framework in the application pack.  You could also highlight some key elements.  Ask candidates to refer to the framework in their application statement, or ask candidates to share an example where they have demonstrated one of the 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.

We encourage you to explore the materials and use them creatively to support and develop your team.  Share your experiences with us at

Self Diagnostic Tool

To help identify priority areas for development download the diagnostic tool


Contact us

If you have any feedback or questions about the toolkit please email us at