Winning an election is hard enough, but leading effectively and getting to grips with governing is a whole other challenge – one that can require a completely different set of skills to those used on the campaign trail. Many new ministers adjust remarkably quickly and achieve great things in office, but are nonetheless struck by the enormous challenges the jobs brings. However, there is little support and advice in place to help ministers navigate these roles and perform them effectively.
Since 2008, the Institute for Government has been active in supporting current, and future, ministers from all major parties to better prepare for, and perform, leadership roles in government. In practice, this involves offering ministers structured self and team development opportunities – such as 360 degree appraisals and team away days – that help them reflect on how they are doing their job.
This work has given us unrivalled access to a range of politicians, an unusual perspective about the world in which they operate and some interesting insights about what works when it comes to supporting ministers develop in their roles. This paper shares these insights and seeks to stimulate a conversation about how ministers can be better supported in the future.