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How Leadership and Management Impact UK Civil Services

Published by at January 23rd, 2024 , Revised On February 5, 2024

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The different independent reports, empirical studies, and best practices from the civil and private sectors depicted the significance of strong leadership in the critical performance of organisations (Trottier et al., 2008).

In embracing the change for the civil services department in the UK, the leadership (both individual and corporate) role is crucial. In determining the role of leadership in the context of the UK Civil Service, this study critically evaluates the characteristics of leadership in making future leaders a role model for the citizens of the UK.

The study also analyses how leadership can successfully shape civil servants’ future to enhance the UK’s civil service sector.


Leadership is defined as the activity, ability or methods for leading a group to a particular position, vision or goal where achieving the final terms is attainable. At the same time, management is defined as the organisation and coordination of the different processes in a business environment for achieving the organisational target, mission and goal.

The UK Civil Services involves the processes of policy-making, implementing laws, and executing policies, which certainly depicts the public management roles of civil service in this context.

The structure, size and management role of the UK Civil Services has evolved over the past few years. The importance of Civil Servants in the growth of the economy is very crucial, they just made up 2 per cent of the total workforce in the UK, with 10% of the public sector as a whole (OCED, 1999).

The role of UK Civil Service workers is widely open as they facilitate the general public by implementing the laws and executing policies framed by the local Government. Policy formulation is another key aspect of the UK Civil Service Department.

Various challenges highlight the need for leadership within the Civil Service department to ensure the effective and sound implementation of key strategic plans.

In this context, leadership is essential because Civil Servants’ ability to influence others’ behaviour, inducing the subordinates to work with confidence and zeal, can be highly transformed through leadership in a management context.

According to Leslie and Canwall (2010), effective leadership is narrowing the gap between management in the context of the Civil Services of Europe by improving outcomes for all.

However, leadership and public sector management are central elements of the political agenda; on the contrary, they are effectively embraced by the private sector in challenging situations to enhance performance management.

Burns (1978) gives the transformational leadership theory, which suggests that a leader works with the team to identify the need for change, followed by a vision guided by inspiration while executing with the committed members of the group. This theory is an integral part of the leadership model;

This theory highly emphasises the different traits(specifically, the Civil Service Sector), such as articulation of the vision, creating emotional challenges for the followersand establishing commitment with credibility to the vision (Ugaddan & Park, 2017).

According to (Whitton, 2001), the Civil Service is directly linked with the management of the different ethical and legal implications; hence, the responsibility of the Civil Servant involves all the major attributes of the leader.

As leaders also focus on eloquence, determination, and inspiring visions, so does the management of civil services, which involves the innovation of principles and instilling good operational practices for the implementation and execution of law processes.

By integrating the leadership and the civil services of the UK, a competitive advantage can be achieved, and it can transform the future of UK nationals because civil services play a significant role in regulating the laws and policies all across the region.

Similarly, the integration of leadership and public management practices could be consequential for the effective influence over the structures of the different public administration-based organisations.

As the civil service sector of the UK is integrated with the cabinet secretary and head office, leadership is highly emphasised in this sector because it is responsible for the future management of the people.

The former British Civil Servant Jeremy John Heywood, who also served as Cabinet Secretary to David Cameron, insisted on prioritising public relations management for the UK’s civil service sector and transforming through leadership characteristics.

Sir Jeremy Heywood (2021) argued that three essential characteristics of the leaders for the effective deliverance of the Government’s programs by living the Civil Service’s Values and administering the public;

  1. The “Inspiring” leadership trait is essential for Civil Servants to value and model professional excellence and expertise to help the public.
  2. “Confidence”, is the second trait which highlights the need to be a team player while offering service and being a civil servant, supporting and cheering for the team
  3. Lastly, the “Empowering” trait shows the visibility, approachability, and welcoming challenges for the public by the Civil Service, recognizing the value of the public.


This study critically evaluated leadership and public management characteristics, which integrate to enhance the service provision. The Transformational Leadership theory also suggests that there is a significant need for leadership traits and practices for embracing change in organisations and individuals.

Lastly, the study concluded that leadership is crucial for the civil service sector to innovate the future of the economy and generations because civil servants rule the people, and they have the strength to change the way of living for the general public.


Burns, J. M. (1978). Transformational leadership theory. Leadership.

Leslie, K., and Canwell, A. 2010. Leadership at all levels: Leading public sector organisations in an age of austerity. European Management Journal, 28(4), 297-305.

OECD. 1999. Structure of the Civil Service Employment in Seven OECD Countries.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, C., 2021. Better leadership in the Civil Service: a statement of intent – Civil Service. [online] Civilservice.blog.gov.uk. Available at: <https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2015/02/12/better-leadership-in-the-civil-service/> [Accessed 14 March 2021].
Trottier, T., Van Wart, M., and Wang, X. 2008. Examining the nature and significance of leadership in government organisations. Public administration review, 68(2), 319-333.

Ugaddan, R. and Park, S. 2017. Quality of leadership and public service motivation: A social exchange perspective on employee engagement. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 30(3), 270-285. Available from: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJPSM-08-2016-0133/full/html

Wajdi, B. N. 2017. The differences between management and leadership. Sinergi: Jurnal Ilmiah Ilmu Manajemen, 7(1).

Whitton, H. 2001. Transparency International February 2001.

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