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The National Leadership Evaluation Initiative – a common national tool for leadership evaluations in the public sector

As part of the 2019 agreement between the Danish Government, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions on “leadership and competences in the public sector”, King Frederik Center for Public Leadership currently contributes to developing a common national tool for leadership evaluations in the public sector.

The aim of the tool is threefold. First, the tool is intended to support leadership development in the public organizations that use the tool. Second, the data generated by the tool will be used to enrich the public debate on public leadership in Denmark. Finally, the data will be used for research purposes to increase our knowledge about public leadership in Denmark. The ambition is to make the leadership evaluation tool available to all public organizations in Denmark on a voluntary basis. Organizations, individual leaders and employees will be anonymous in the aggregated analyses.

The tool is inspired by multilevel feedback tools (e.g. 360o evaluations) and will consist of obligatory questions as well as voluntary blocks of questions (grouped in themes) addressing the most pertinent leadership issues for Danish public organizations. These themes are developed based on the international literature on public management as well as extensive consultations with different stakeholders across the Danish public sector. It will also be possible to insert specific questions for individual organizations. The questions in the multilevel feedback tool can be addressed to the leaders themselves and their superiors, employees and peers both within and outside the public sector, including citizens, private sector collaborators and politicians.

The tool will be available on a website along with materials aimed at supporting the public organizations in every step of the evaluation process, including e.g. PowerPoint templates that leaders can use to prepare their employees for the evaluation. The materials also include research-based suggestions for action points in relation to the different themes of the evaluation and templates for agendas for the meetings between the evaluated leaders and their superiors and employees. The ambition is to support the organizations that use the evaluation and give them the best conditions to follow through on the evaluation.

The tool will be supported by an IT-tool, which will allow the public organizations to organize their own evaluations and carry them out with limited support. We are currently preparing a tender for the purchase of the system.

King Frederik Center for Public Leadership is leading the development of the evaluation working in close cooperation with the Danish Government, Local Government Denmark and the Danish Regions. The development of the tool includes reviews of different literatures as the basis of the themes of the evaluation, large-scale pilots of the evaluation tool on a number of Danish public organizations, qualitative and quantitative tests of survey items and qualitative tests of the different process materials. Associate Professor Caroline Grøn is project leader.