This section focusses on concepts to consider throughout your improvement journey, to ensure successful change occurs. 

Leadership skills are needed across the improvement journey:
Improvement Journey with Leadership circled
Topics in Leadership for Improvement

The six leadership capabilities support and encourage people to think about how they exercise leadership in everyday roles as well as formal management positions. Here is a brief summary of each of these capabilities. A full description of them can be found in the Leadership and Management Zone.


Self-leadership means recognising, exercising and improving your own leadership.  It is about you,  your qualities  and your willingness to examine and change these.

Whether local, regional, or national, the changes that lead to improvement require individuals to change themselves.

Creativity and innovation

Creativity is about opening up the mind to new possibilities, while innovation is finding new ways to improve the current ways of working.

Improvement needs people to be prepared to take risks that move their work or organisation forward, people who like to solve problems and have an open mindset.

Collaborating and influencing

The world we work in is complex, requiring input from numerous individuals.   Working together effectively is what collaborating and influencing is all about.

Effective collaboration for improvement requires the ability to influence others to see things differently or open up to alternative courses of action.


The 3 Step Framework for Scotland’s public services identifies a vision as “capable of stirring the heart of the community and able to serve as a constant reference and anchor point as the change moves forward”

A clear vision requires successful leadership.  It focuses our attention, so we can prioritise what matters most, enabling us to solve current problems, set goals and carry out plans that lead towards improvements in the services we deliver.

Motivating and inspiring

People who motivate and inspire do so by setting a personal example, recognising and valuing the contribution of others, and focussing on quality. 

Leadership for improvement drives the development of an improvement culture and maintains the momentum of improvement activity when the going gets tough.


Empowering means enabling others to develop and use their leadership potential.

To support successful change, this means recognising that people can be leaders regardless of their position or role within the team, department, or organisation.

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