Good practice approaches to leadership in councils

Good practice approaches to leadership in councils
08 April 2015

New ACELG research entitled 'Council approaches to leadership: Research into good practice' explores the elements of successful council-based leadership programs, highlighting key themes for contemporary local government leaders to consider.

Councils around the country invest significant resources into staff leadership development initiatives. They want to ensure the effectiveness of such programs and continue to explore ways to keep them relevant, strong and sustainable. 

Three aspects of a 'good practice approach' to an in-house leadership initiative are highlighted in the research:

  • A leadership ethos that is 'values-based' influences the culture of the organisation. It is fundamental to guiding behaviours, staff wellbeing and organisational potential, and needs championing by senior management to be sustainable and reflect local and sector contexts.
  • A good leadership program will have robust support structures with tailored content and methods of learning that is relevant to the organisational context.
  • Measuring the progress of a leadership program helps understand and assess its organisational impact and return on investment. This area of evaluation is identified as a particular challenge to further develop and improve.

In addition to these foundational areas, examples of innovation and ideas for leadership programs for local government are outlined within the report from the eight councils involved in the project: Fairfield City Council (NSW), Knox City Council (Vic), Logan City Council (QLD), Maroondah City Council (Vic), City of Marion (SA), City of Melville (WA), Randwick City Council (NSW) and City of Salisbury (SA).

The research was prepared by the UTS Centre for Local Government for ACELG and its Governance and Strategic Leadership program.


Council Approaches to Leadership: Research into Good Practice

Media release

Project blog: Approaching leadership in contemporary local government


Sophi Bruce - Program specialist (Leadership) | UTS Centre for Local Government | [email protected] | 02 9514 7867

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