Top manager programme

A transformational five-week programme for senior leaders in health and social care – public, private, third sector – who are and who want to be system leaders.

The Top Manager Programme (TMP) has a 30-year history of developing senior leaders. Health and social care services continue to face increasing economic pressures, changing demographics, increasing public expectations and all the time health inequalities are widening.

We are now in the second year of the NHS five year forward view; 50 vanguard sites are developing and testing new models of care; 14 localities have been working as Integrated Care and Support Pioneers since Spring 2013; Devo Manc is moving forward with everyone looking keenly on. We are learning more and more about the kind of leadership challenges and opportunities these new ways of working bring, and the type of leadership practices needed now and into the future.

Drawing on the best available evidence, TMP enables you to develop, test and embed these leadership practices.

I can honestly say that TMP has been a life changing programme for me. It stretches way beyond traditional forms of learning and has helped me understand myself as a leader, as a person, and how I can be more effective. The programme helped me make a significant career shift to clinical service management. It’s been the best investment in my personal and professional development in my 20 year career so far.

Chief operating officer, NHS trust

Who is it for?

This programme is for senior people in any health and social care organisation – public, private and third sector. You may already be a director, or aspiring to be one, or a clinician in a leadership or managerial position. Your role will require you to lead across boundaries within or across organisations.

We know that organisations flourish and new ideas come when the workforce is diverse. We also know that particular groups are underrepresented in senior leadership positions. We therefore especially encourage people from BME backgrounds, in senior clinical roles or from third sector and local government organisations to join the programme.

Why this programme?

How will you benefit from this programme?

In 2015 the Rose and Smith reviews recommended that development programmes for leaders in health and social care should:

  • be substantial enough to allow people time to reflect on what they have learned and to form cohorts with peers
  • focus on how to handle change and uncertainty
  • develop the ability to lead in a networked or group structure
  • be open across all health and care sectors with a focus on systems leadership

TMP meets these recommendations.

The learning is multi-layered: you learn a lot about yourself and how others see you; you experience and learn about the dynamics that arise within systems and organisations and develop the practices to help you lead well in times of uncertainty and complexity.

There is a focus on connecting with and creating shared purpose and developing the political and emotional intelligence needed when leading in senior roles in an increasingly demanding environment. The external context is held in mind throughout; the programme provides you with access to key players working in the forefront of health and social care policy. It also provides access to people and services leading the way in thinking differently about the provision of health and social care.

Developing resilience and compassion are key both for yourself and in working to create cultures that will sustain and nurture those working in and served by your organisations.

The programme is not about gaining basic technical managerial skills – we assume that as senior leaders you already have these.

What will you do on this programme?

Drawing on the Tavistock tradition, group work provides the core learning approach in TMP. For the duration of the programme, the TMP community creates a temporary system, with all of its inherent dynamics. This provides a live system in which to study, learn, practise and experiment. Through your active participation in the different study groups you develop your self-awareness and explore how you relate to others and them to you, how you take up and use your authority with integrity and authenticity and what happens between different parts of a system.

Issues of power, authority, conflict, role, difference, change and transition are examined in depth.

In addition to the study groups you will participate in experiential workshops; visit different organisations, including those that create policy and frontline community services; debate ideas with guest speakers and apply your learning to the changes you want to lead in your workplace and system.

The learning continues beyond the programme. There are alumni events, and many TMP alumni remain in contact with fellow participants throughout their careers, calling on each other for ideas, support and challenge.

What makes TMP different to other courses?

TMP participants explain what sets this programme apart.

Not what you're looking for?

You may wish to consider our Athena programme for executive women, or, if you are a senior clinical leader looking to develop with colleagues in a similar role, you should consider our Senior Clinical Leaders programme.