The Confident Manager Series

"The course was interesting and provided a great opportunity for discussion amongst other University colleagues. I would highly recommend this course for anyone in a management role."

"This course has helped me to reframe my thinking and ‘think like a manager’ instead of muddling my way through and hoping for the best!”

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The Confident Manager Series is a modular management skills programme focused on people management excellence, where participants shape their learning journeys around key areas relevant to their role and context.  

You can tailor your learning by signing up to individual modules, do one or many, and complete them in any order. This means that you can focus on what matters most to you at any given time, and continuously strengthen your people management knowledge, skills, and practice by: 

  • Developing core people management capabilities, focusing on developing yourself as manager at the University of Oxford, and in the changing world of work 
  • Maximising your impact as a People Manager, enhancing the effectiveness of your team, and supporting your team members’ personal development
  • Practising what matters in a safe environment and through learning from peers across the University

If you are managing a team for the first time whether in your career or for the first time at Oxford, ‘Managing at Oxford’ is a great place to start.

TCM structure with modules

The core modules are:

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Understand and demonstrate the core skills and behaviours needed to effectively Manage at Oxford

Explore how to adapt your management approach to support, engage and empower others to perform

Build and manage highly effective Teams

Introduce the role and benefits of Coaching, and when and how coaching skills can be used to support effective line management practice.

Engage and support colleagues during Change taking account of the people side of change

Introduce managers of research staff to key responsibilities and people skills needed to create a healthy and productive research environment.

To supplement the modules, we will also be offering several short online Masterclasses with subject matter experts.

Each module includes a mix of presentation, peer discussions, hands-on exercises, and time for critical reflection. Keeping in mind most learning happens within your own working environment, we will encourage you to reflect on how you can transfer your new knowledge there, embed new working practices and how to involve your manager in helping you do this.

The series aims to support managers at all levels, whatever your role and wherever you sit in the University. 

Managers who want to further their knowledge and skills and those managers who are confident but want to continue their learning by accessing ongoing support, the latest thinking in the field of people management and facing new challenges. 

While the Confident Manager Series has been designed as a ‘pick and mix’ programme, if you are managing a team for the first time whether in your career or for the first time at Oxford ‘Managing at Oxford’ is a great place to start.

If you are a new PI (Principal Investigator) or manager within the Researcher community, the “Essentials of People Management in Research” has been specifically designed for you and will be a great place for you to begin.

All managers should lead by example – demonstrating a growth mindset and always searching for ways to support the personal development of those in their team. Regardless of experience, managers will be:-

  • Reminded of their responsibilities as a manager,
  • Reassured of the good practices they already have in place, and
  • Introduced to new ways of doing things which are more appropriate in a working world which has changed and continues to do so. Gaining confidence around core management capabilities should be seen as a strong foundation for leadership roles in academia and other sectors.

We expect all participants to discuss and agree their training needs with their line manager prior to booking.

Managing at Oxford 1 day 10am – 4pm approx
Enhancing Performance 1 day 10am – 4pm approx
Essentials of People Management in Research Half day 10am – 1pm approx
Developing Teams Half day 10am – 1pm approx
Coaching Skills Half day 9:30am – 1pm approx
Managing Change Half day 10am – 1pm approx


Masterclasses will run online and be approximately 90 minutes in duration.

We aim to run 2 sessions of each module per term and add further sessions should demand be high. 

Our intention is for the programme to be accessible to all those who wish to attend. It includes options to attend in person sessions at Littlegate House, and online Masterclasses. The programme provides access to POD’s online resources and signposts managers to external resources. 


COVID aware: 

POD will follow the University’s guidance on COVID. The seminar room at Littlegate House has a wall of windows which allows ventilation and we have also invested in HEPA air filters to offer greater protection against the spread of COVID and other airborne viruses. The programme has been designed to take into consideration equity of provision whether you attend in person or online.


If you participated in either of the original strands of the programme (‘You as the Manager’ or ‘Reaching your Potential’) during the academic year 2022-2023 please see attached guidance on which modules to consider attending. 

Download document

How to manage your booking(s)

We ask you to please manage your booking(s) carefully and plan in advance. Sessions will run multiple times per term across the year so there is the opportunity to sign up for a session that best fits your development needs, at a time that suits you best across the year.

Booking a place

  • Once you have discussed and agreed your training needs with your line manager you can book a place on any of The Confident Manager sessions via CoSy. The dashboard at the bottom of this webpage links directly to CoSy for booking.
  • We ask you to please only book a place on a session if you are genuinely committed to attending it. We want as many managers from across the University to access the sessions, and cancellations mean we might end up running a session that isn’t at maximum capacity.
  • Please note that cancellations and no-shows will be monitored.

Cancelling a place

If, due to unforeseen circumstances, you need to cancel your place please do so via CoSy as soon as you can (and ideally at least 3 working days prior to the start of the session) so that your place can be allocated to someone else.

Waiting list

We operate waiting lists for each session:

  • You can add your name to the waiting list if a session is fully booked.
  • If you have a place on the waiting list, please hold the time in your diary and work on the basis that you might be given a place.
  • If you can no longer hold the time, please cancel your place on the waiting list as soon as possible. This will ensure that places are given to those who are able to attend the session.

Dates for Michaelmas term 2024 will be available for booking from Monday 29th July.


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