Top manager programme

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The Top Manager Programme (TMP) has a more than 40-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.

The November 2022 cohort is now sold out. Please register your interest for the next cohort starting June 2023.

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.

Find out more: Dilys Lai discusses how the programme helped her to make the transition from NHS clinician to manager

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. TMP is delivered as a hybrid learning programme meaning there is a mixture of virtual and in-person learning to leverage the strengths of both formats.

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.

Find out more: co-director Allison Trimble discusses the benefits of the programme.

What will you do?

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.

Programme directors


Allison Trimble

Senior consultant, Leadership and organisational development


Matthew Rice

Senior consultant, Leadership and organisational development


Mark Patterson

Senior consultant, Leadership and organisational development


Mandip Randhawa

Senior Consultant, Leadership and organisational development

Find out more and apply