Firstline leadership diagnostics

The Firstline leadership diagnostics provide feedback on your strengths as a leader from the perspective of those you work with. They also help you identify potential areas of focus across the programme. We run the diagnostics both at the beginning and end of the programme to show you where you have improved and what changes have been observed by your colleagues.

The Firstline diagnostics will start after you have been offered a place on the programme and before the first residential. If you have any questions that are not answered below please get in touch with us at

1. You tell your colleagues about the process


We find that the process of collecting feedback works best when your colleagues understand what is being asked of them and why. This lets them know what to expect and makes it more likely that they will complete the feedback within the allocated time. If they have any questions, please direct them to the FAQ for colleagues or invite them to get in touch with someone in the Firstline team at

2. You complete the survey about yourself and nominate colleagues
You will receive the link to a survey where you will be asked to reflect on what you think are your own areas of strength and what you might want to develop further. The purpose of this is to help prepare you for the first conversation you will have with your leadership development advisor (LDA). It also allows us to compare your own responses to your colleagues’ responses in the report.

In this survey we also ask you to nominate between six and twelve of your colleagues. We recommend that you nominate at least two (but preferably all) of your direct reports, at least two of your peers and at least two people who are more senior than you. This helps to give you a range of feedback and means we can compare the responses of these groups in the report. Note that you can nominate people you work with outside your own organisation provided you work together closely enough for them to offer useful feedback.

3. Your colleagues complete the survey
Once you have completed the survey, we will send a copy of the same survey to the colleagues you have nominated. Your colleagues will have between two and four weeks to complete the survey. The sooner you nominate your colleagues, the more time they will have to complete the survey. We will send your colleagues at least one reminder but we would encourage you to also prompt them, to ensure that you get a good number of responses. If you do not have at least four responses from your colleagues by the deadline, we will get in touch with you and ask you to follow up with them.
4. We analyse the results and send the report to your LDA
Following the deadline for responses from your colleagues, we will collate your responses into a single report and send this to your LDA. The report will show you ratings and comments for each of the leadership capabilities. We will separate the ratings so that you can clearly see your own responses compared to the responses from your direct reports, peers and senior managers.
5. Your LDA will discuss the feedback with you in the first session

Your LDA will discuss the feedback with you in your first leadership session, which will take place shortly after the first residential (the leadership session is the one-to-one session you have with your LDA in your local authority). We recognise that receiving feedback from your colleagues can be challenging – it can be uncomfortable, unsettling or surprising. Your LDA is well-equipped to take you through it and will provide a safe space to share the feedback with you.



Who should I nominate to give me feedback?

We recommend that you nominate between six and twelve colleagues who you work with closely enough for them to provide you with feedback on your leadership skills. We recommend that you ask at least two (but preferably all) of your direct reports, at least two people who are more senior than you within the organisation (preferably including your manager) and at least two peers (people who work at the same level as you).

It may be helpful to also ask someone who works outside your local authority (for example a head teacher or police officer), provided that you work closely with them. The survey they will receive is the same as the one you complete, so you can use this to gauge whether you think a colleague will be able to answer these questions about you.


What happens if I have recently joined a new team?

Ideally the people you nominate will have been working closely with you for at least three months. If your current colleagues have been working with you for less time than this, we suggest you ask colleagues from your previous team if you feel they will provide you with more useful feedback.


What should I do if I want to nominate a colleague who is on leave until after the deadline?

If you would like to receive feedback from a colleague who is unavailable or on leave until after the deadline, please get in touch with your programme officer or the Firstline team at If you explain the situation we may be able to extend the deadline for individual colleagues.


How will I know if my colleagues have given me feedback by the deadline?

It is your responsibility to make your colleagues aware that you are asking them for feedback and to encourage them to complete it. We will send a couple of reminders to your colleagues before the final deadline. If you have feedback from less than four colleagues by the deadline we will make you aware and ask you to do one final chase. We find that colleagues are more likely to give you feedback in time if they understand why they are being asked and why their feedback is important to your development.


Will I know who the feedback has come from?

We do not include the names of your colleagues in the report that you will see. In some cases you may be able to work out who has provided a specific rating or comment. If you know that only one colleague in a specific group has given you feedback then you may be able to decipher their individual ratings. Similarly, you may be able to work out who has left a specific comment if they have said anything that identifies them.

We realise that it might feel more useful to you to be able to understand who has provided a specific piece of feedback. However, we try to keep it as anonymous as possible to help ensure that your colleagues feel comfortable giving honest feedback. We encourage you to use this process as a starting point to prompt more open and honest feedback within your team – your LDA may be able to help you think of creative ways to do this.


Do I have to ask the same people to complete this at the beginning and end of the programme?
Ideally you should ask the same people for feedback at the beginning and end of the programme, as this makes it easier to compare your feedback and see if you have made progress in the development areas you have chosen to focus on. We recognise that this is not always possible as teams do not necessarily remain stable over a 10-month period. It is still valuable to collect feedback from your colleagues if you know they will be leaving, as they will still be able to offer feedback that gives you insight into your leadership skills.

It might not be beneficial to ask colleagues for feedback if they have only been working with you for a matter of weeks rather than months but we suggest you make this judgement on a case by case basis, depending on what you think will be most helpful to your development.

Can I save my responses and finish them later if I run out of time?

Yes, the survey will take you 20-30 minutes in total. We appreciate that it is not easy to find a chunk of time to complete this so you have the option to save your responses and return to the survey later. To do this, click on the box which you can see at the top of each page, Save my progress and resume later. You will be asked to enter your email address and a password so that you can resume your form later. Please save the link and remember your password!

If you forget your password you can get in touch with us at and we will send you a new password. When you return to the link you will see an empty form, but if you click the blue hyperlink at the top of the page Resume a previously saved form you will find your previously saved responses and can continue to fill in the form.