In conversation with Kristina Murrin
Kristina Murrin is the Chief Executive of the National Centre for Public Sector Leadership and will be delivering a keynote session The link between leadership and sustainable productivity at the Public Sector Solutions Expo on 26th June 2019.
Can you give a brief overview of the National Leadership Centre and your remit as CEO?
The new National Leadership Centre was launched by the Chancellor to help public sector leaders in England to work together to improve public services. My remit is to launch a flagship leadership programme, create a thriving network of peer-learning, and lead cutting-edge research into the links between leadership and productivity.
The Centre will help leaders (defined as Chief Executives or equivalent, or those who are within a year of transitioning into this top role) from across the entire public sector to navigate challenges such as weak productivity, disruptive technology, increasing scrutiny, and changing demographics.
What do you think are the qualities that separate outstanding leaders from competent leaders in the Public Sector?
Building on extensive interviews with senior public servants and a wealth of research into public service leadership in the 21st Century, the Centre has outlined five leadership qualities that mark an exceptional public service leader. We propose that outstanding leaders are those who are adaptive, connected, questioning, purposeful and ethical. They are able to respond to ambiguity, build strategic relationships across multiple systems, seek the views of others, convey clarity of mission, and engender trust. This list of qualities is not set in stone and we will be developed throughout our leadership interventions.
How important is it for Public Sector Leaders to form strong relationships across organisational boundaries?
It is vital that public service leaders are able to build strong relationships beyond sector and geographical boundaries. One of the Centre’s key ambitions is to combat siloed working and improve collaboration across the entire public sector.
A number of case studies highlight that better collaboration between services can improve delivery and outcomes, from reducing hospital admissions to drastically tackling knife crime. The Centre will further explore the impact of cross-sector working on organisational productivity by commissioning original research, funding place-based pilots, and forming partnerships with world leading academics, think tanks and other research bodies.
What are your main priorities for the National Leadership Centre for the remainder of 2019?
I’m excited to launch our first residential leadership programme in September which will involve partnering with world-leading institutions such as Harvard and MIT to improve the leadership of 100 senior delegates.
In early autumn, the Centre will also create a peer network for the 1,500 public senior leaders working across the length and breadth of the country. The purpose of the network is to ensure knowledge-sharing across services while also helping to tackle the isolation that many senior leaders face. My final key priority for 2019 is commissioning and conducting research which develops our quantitative understanding of public service leadership and its interplay with productivity.