3 April 2024 |

Inclusive Leadership Programme For The University Of Cambridge

Read more about our work with The University of Cambridge to develop leaders who embraced difference and practised inclusion in their day-to-day role. The impact? 97% of leaders who participated in our programme demonstrated more inclusive behaviours.

Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. Today it has 18,000 students and over 12,000 staff.


As part of the University’s continued focus to promote an inclusive culture, its leaders were recognised as having a key role to play in shaping day-to-day experiences of colleagues, and as instrumental for supporting the development and progression of staff.


Working in partnership with the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Personal and Professional Development (PPD) teams, we developed a bespoke Inclusive Leadership Development programme, with elements tailored for Professional Service Staff and Academic / Research staff.

Blending the programme with digital, each participant received personalised feedback on their inclusive leadership style via PK:INDYNAMICS Leader, which combines detailed feedback for each participant on their potential risk areas around inclusion (personality), and how inclusive they are currently perceived to be (360 feedback). This allowed each participant to begin the programme with a clear idea of their strengths, and a focus for their development.

Based on the Pearn Kandola Inclusive Leadership Model, the programme included three parts:

  • Culture
  • Decision making
  • Relationships

Each session introduced new concepts, facilitated knowledge sharing between participants and practical skill development, including use of coaching, giving effective feedback, having difficult conversations and how to challenge others constructively.

To support behaviour change, participants identified ‘quick win’ actions between sessions, and inclusive practices to embed locally over a three-month period.

The programme has been delivered face-to-face and virtually via Zoom, with feedback remaining comparable across both formats.

Participant experience 

Feedback from the programme has been very positive, with 98% of participants saying that they would recommend the programme to a colleague.

Participants particularly valued the insights and feedback gained from the KANDOLA+ inclusion tools and the practical tools they were provided with to promote inclusion.

“The inclusion assessments give you a chance to challenge your perceptions of oneself, compared with the perceptions of people working for you.”

Business impact

To measure the impact of the Inclusive Leader programme leaders invited re-completed the KANDOLA+ 360 assessment inviting those who had given them feedback previously to rate how their behaviour had changed since completing the programme. 

The results showed that 97% of leaders had demonstrated more inclusive behaviours following the programme.

Additionally, data analysis found that leaders’ team members had observed statistically significant changes to behaviour including:

  • Enhanced Psychological Safety
  • Improved team cohesion
  • More diverse and inclusive relationships
  • Greater openness around discussing bias and inclusion