The UQ Leadership Framework identifies 7 key capabilities that define leadership in the UQ context.

The framework aligns with UQ's strategic direction, and mission, vision and values.

Read how to use the framework to find out more about the aims of the framework, who it’s for and how it was developed.

 

Achieves results and drives accountability

Leaders ensure engagement and performance, and motivate and empower others to achieve results.

This could be exemplified by a leader who

  • Builds productive working relationships and supports a strong, motivated team.
  • Takes responsibility for personal decisions, actions and outcomes, and holds others to account.
  • Earns technical and professional credibility by demonstrating a track record of achievement and authority in their area of expertise.
  • Defines clear performance expectations, provides necessary support and resources, and delegates authority to empower others to achieve.
  • Fosters the safety, health and wellbeing of our people, and ensures effective stewardship of UQ’s financial and organisational assets for long-term sustainability.

Why this capability is important

UQ’s reputation is built on our achievement of quality teaching, research and student outcomes. The continued pursuit of excellence is one of UQ’s values, and underpins the work that we do in all these areas. Leaders not only strive for their own achievement, but encourage and support those around them to maintain motivation and productivity.

What it looks like when it's done well

  • Team environments are productive, safe and healthy.
  • Leaders make considered and timely decisions and accept accountability for their outcomes.
  • Leaders provide opportunities for others to achieve, provide the resources and support they need to succeed, and inspire them to reach and exceed their goals.
  • All team members clearly understand the individual and team outcomes they are expected to achieve or contribute to.
  • Unconstructive behaviour is not accepted. Leaders speak up or act to manage any instances of inappropriate conduct.

Strategies for developing this capability

  • To build a cohesive team, focus on identifying team purpose and common goals, and clearly identifying complementary roles. Where possible, distribute tasks according to both strengths and interests.
  • Invest time into planning work, particularly major projects. What are the goals? How will we know that we are successful? What is the timeframe? Do we have the resources that are needed to achieve the goals? Then start to implement, systematically and following the plan. Review regularly to take into account factors that may have changed. If necessary, consider undertaking some formal project management training.
  • Use a structured decision-making process to ensure you have considered all relevant factors and improve your decision quality.
  • Focus on having respectful, robust conversations about performance and outcomes. Attend the Recognition and Development or Academic Career Progression for Heads of Schools and Senior Staff courses. If performance is a particular issue, consider the Managing Performance course.
  • Read up on UQ's information about occupational health and safety and sustainability.

Resources and readings

Communicates and collaborates with influence

Leaders engage others in open and honest dialogue about important issues and actively seek common interests and goals.

This could be exemplified by a leader who

  • Confidently articulates key messages, actively seeks input and feedback, and is authentic and honest in communications.
  • Engages people in decisions that affect them and their work, and listens carefully to ensure different perspectives are heard and understood.
  • Cascades ideas about UQ’s future to engage and inspire staff, students, industry partners and stakeholders.
  • Negotiates persuasively, using evidence to build a convincing case and seeking opportunities for mutual benefit.
  • Recognises opportunities to collaborate across internal and external boundaries, and acts in a collegial manner to realise them.
  • Actively questions and challenges individual and organisational assumptions and practices, to ensure equitable and consistent treatment of staff.

Why this capability is important

In an increasingly complex environment, it’s essential to be able to effectively share information about what’s important, what we’re doing, and where we’re going. Our students expect a seamless experience, where the many areas of UQ that they engage with are operating together. Our research depends on integrating multiple perspectives and working with others around the world to produce outstanding outcomes.

What it looks like when it's done well

  • Leaders engage in open discussions about important topics.
  • People know that they are able to safely ask questions and voice opinions.
  • People feel heard and understand that their input or feedback is valued.
  • Leaders actively seek to work with others outside of their team or organisational unit, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Leaders challenge organisational practices to ensure all staff are able to contribute, and are treated equitably.

Strategies for developing this capability

  • Ask questions to ensure you really understand the other person’s position. Even if you disagree, exercise the discipline of exploring their perspective before you offer your counter argument.
  • Look for common ground, particularly in negotiations or disagreements. Ask whether there is anything you agree on. Look for the needs underlying different positions. Is it possible to satisfy them in a manner other than what is being asked? Try to see things from the other party’s perspective.
  • Clarify your key messages for any given project, change, or piece of work. Your own clarity will make it easier to respond to queries consistently, and to ensure that you remember to get the most important points across. For important projects, create a stakeholder engagement and communications plan (DOC, 33KB) to help ensure you cover all the relevant information, for the relevant people, at the relevant time.
  • Balance formal and informal communication. Sometimes it’s important to target a broad group of people. Sometimes it’s more important to talk to people one-on-one so you can connect on an individual level.
  • If formal communication presents a challenge, consider attending the Presentation Skills course.
  • Check whether you, your team or your organisational unit have some practices that unintentionally exclude some people or groups. Is some information available only to people who are in the workplace at a particular time? Do you offer opportunities through an informal process that might only reach some people?

Resources and readings

Exemplifies personal credibility and integrity

Leaders strive for personal achievement and are visibly proactive and ethical in their dealings with others.

This could be exemplified by a leader who

  • Leads by personal example and delivers on their commitments.
  • Earns credibility and respect by demonstrating trustworthiness, integrity and transparency in word and action.
  • Is resilient and maintains composure even in time of setbacks or difficult circumstances.
  • Demonstrates personal and professional ethics and values when making tough decisions, and builds this into their team’s way of working.
  • Demonstrates respect for others, creating a work environment where all employees are treated with fairness and equity.
  • Acknowledges mistakes and areas of weakness, treating them as learning opportunities.

Why this capability is important

Leaders who are personally credible and act with integrity are able to create a constructive workplace culture where everybody is treated with fairness and respect. UQ is committed to promoting a culture of fair and ethical behaviour and to encourage the reporting of behaviour which is not in alignment with this culture.

What it looks like when it's done well

  • Leaders uphold personal and professional ethics, taking into account UQ’s values.
  • Leaders promote and actively create a culture of fair and ethical behaviour.
  • Leaders act as a role model for others in demonstrating integrity and fairness.
  • All employees contribute to a workplace which upholds the highest ethical standards.
  • Leaders show respect toward all persons including staff members, students and the general public.
  • Leaders take appropriate action if ethics or values are compromised, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Leaders are open to feedback and seek opportunities for development.
  • Genuine mistakes are treated as learning opportunities and reviewed to inform future practice.

Strategies for developing this capability

  • Become familiar with UQ’s values and our Code of Conduct.
  • Complete or review UQ training programs, such as the Ethics Awareness Workshop or EO Online.
  • Facilitate discussions within your team or organisational unit about team values and ethical practice.
  • Remember that perceptions can be very important in ethical situations. Maintain as much transparency as possible about decisions where conflicts of interest or ethical dilemmas may be perceived.
  • Think carefully before making commitments. Are you going to be able to honour your commitment? Do you want to?

Resources and readings

Fosters learning, inquiry and innovation

Leaders nurture an environment that allows for multiple perspectives and challenges assumptions, and model openness to new ideas.

This could be exemplified by a leader who

  • Demonstrates willingness to explore creative solutions to problems and investigate new ways of working.
  • Supports a learning-centred team, encouraging ongoing development of individual and team capability.
  • Cultivates their own discipline-specific, technical, or professional knowledge.
  • Actively seeks and utilises feedback to build personal effectiveness.
  • Creates a learning and research environment for our students, staff and alumni which rewards excellence and innovation.
  • Values a diverse workforce and creates an inclusive work environment that encourages a broad range of ideas and perspectives.

Why this capability is important

Learning is at the core of UQ. We aim to create an environment that fosters learning in all its forms, for our students, for our researchers, and for our organisation as a whole. We encourage our staff across all areas of UQ to ask questions and look for better ways, and to continually seek to innovate in teaching, research and organisational practices.

What it looks like when it's done well

  • Leaders encourage those around them to look for improved ways of working.
  • All UQ employees are able to contribute suggestions that are taken seriously.
  • Ideas and practices are open for respectful debate, regardless of who contributed them.
  • Leaders seek feedback about how they are performing, and use this feedback to improve their own effectiveness.
  • All staff are encouraged to continue developing their personal and professional capability.
  • Teams are learning-centred, continually investing in improving their effectiveness.
  • Leaders appreciate, actively seek and utilise a diverse range of perspectives, including those informed by different backgrounds, experiences and personalities.

Strategies for developing this capability

  • Model personal learning by seeking out projects or assignments which you know will stretch you. Encourage others around you to do the same.
  • Review both successes and failures for potential learning and improvements. Give major projects a full evaluation, or for more day-to-day work activities, consider using a ‘Keep, Stop, Start’ method – after an event, identify one thing that was effective which you should keep doing, one thing that was ineffective that you should stop doing, and one thing to start doing (something you didn’t do which would have been useful).
  • Regularly set aside time for idea generation and innovation. Use this as a space to be creative, to think laterally and to look for new ideas. Set yourself up to think differently – this might mean using a particular idea or object as a stimulus, changing your environment or getting outside, or talking to somebody you wouldn’t normally talk to about a question.
  • Use structured thinking tools such as a fishbone analysis to uncover the root cause of problems, or Edward de Bono’s 6 thinking hats to generate new possibilities.
  • If you are responsible for appraisals and performance planning, ensure that you give adequate consideration to the capability development conversation. Look for projects that will enable your team to develop the capabilities they need to work towards their career goals.
  • Where appropriate, adopt a coaching orientation with your team. Coaching considers that coachees have the answers that they require, so the role of the coach is to support coachees to work through the dilemma.
  • Consider mentoring as an effective means of development. Learning from others is highly effective and mentoring need not be an onerous or long-term arrangement.
  • Encourage teams to discuss work or dilemmas with a broad range of people to gather diverse perspectives.
  • Try looking for answers outside of your own field. If you are a scientist, what would an economist think about your dilemma? What can our HR, and Marketing and Communications teams learn from each other?
  • Try small experiments with new ideas or innovations. How can you ‘pilot’ an idea to test and refine it before you implement more broadly?
  • Learn from what’s already working. What are the characteristics of successful projects or initiatives in your area? What makes them work, and how can you apply this to other areas of your work?

Resources and readings

Purposefully leads change

Leaders initiate and lead change and improvement agendas, modelling behaviour which embraces innovation and change.

This could be exemplified by a leader who

  • Initiates change by proactively and systematically reviewing systems, behaviours, policies, procedures and compliance.
  • Clearly and consistently articulates the reasons for and benefits of change, to motivate and engage.
  • Drives implementation of change processes, managing and balancing both the structural and people aspects.
  • Personally models change behaviour by actively championing and embracing change.

Why this capability is important

Change is a healthy part of a university's growth and it enables us to meet the emerging needs of our students, employees and community. UQ is committed to creating a culture that encapsulates our values and that is responsive to constructive organisational change.

What it looks like when it's done well

  • Leaders look for and initiate improvements and personally embrace change in a positive way.
  • Information about proposed changes is shared in a timely manner and the reasons for proposed changes are communicated effectively.
  • Leaders support people through change, addressing their concerns and involving them in decisions that affect them.

Strategies for developing this capability

Resources and readings

Thinks and works strategically

Leaders create and communicate a clear direction for the future, aligned with UQ's vision.

This could be exemplified by a leader who

  • Visibly enacts and champions UQ's vision, mission, values and strategic direction.
  • Is future-focused, assessing how the environment is changing over time, and the likely impact on UQ.
  • Proactively identifies opportunities and risks and acts decisively to adapt strategy and tactics.
  • Actively builds a constructive culture that supports the achievement of UQ's strategic objectives and the pursuit of excellence.
  • Promotes engagement with local, national and international communities that builds credibility and academic capability.

Why this capability is important

The environment is constantly changing, and higher education is being transformed. UQ's challenge is to build on our history and move into this changed future with confidence. UQ leaders must look ahead to envision where we want and need to be in the future, and put strategies in place to adapt and continue to achieve our goals.

What it looks like when it's done well

  • Leaders look for future changes and the opportunities that these present, and make plans to be able to take advantage of them.
  • Leaders talk positively about the future of UQ and the goals we strive towards.
  • There are clear links between the work being done and the bigger picture of UQ's goals and environment.
  • Changes in the environment are expected, planned for, and adapted to.
  • Decisions are made with consideration to the impact on other areas and strategies.

Strategies for developing this capability

  • Make a habit of understanding the changes in the environment. Read analysis of the higher education sector or the industry you are engaged with and consider the likely impact on your own work.
  • Investigate common strategy tools (e.g. Balanced scorecard, PEST analysis) and apply them to your own scenario.
  • Familiarise yourself with the UQ Strategic Plan and identify the strategic goals that your work contributes to. Are there opportunities for you to support additional priorities? Can you collaborate with other areas to enhance their contributions?

Resources and readings

Values people and builds culture

Leaders create a positive, constructive workplace where people feel connected and valued.

This could be exemplified by a leader who

  • Shows empathy and concern for the welfare of their colleagues, supporting individuals and advocating for the team.
  • Has insight into their own behaviour, and the impact they have on others.
  • Creates an environment which empowers people, and supports them to achieve their aspirations.
  • Engages effectively with people with different backgrounds, personal characteristics, professions and perspectives.
  • Meaningfully recognises effort and achievement to foster a constructive, performance-focused organisation.
  • Lives the UQ values by proactively building a constructive culture.

Why this capability is important

The UQ workforce underpins all that we do across learning, discovery and engagement. In order to achieve our objectives and realise our vision we depend on the outstanding performance and contribution of all staff. We know our people can achieve even greater things with a positive and supportive culture. We are committed to creating a culture where employees are proud of UQ and UQ is proud of every employee.

What it looks like when it's done well

  • Leaders treat all other people fairly and with respect, work effectively with those who differ from them, and expect the same of those around them.
  • The differing contributions of all staff are valued and celebrated.
  • Leaders speak up when they observe unconstructive or inappropriate behaviour, either directly or by raising their concerns through appropriate channels.
  • Leaders encourage and support others to develop themselves both professionally and personally.
  • Leaders actively role model the University’s values and consciously act to build a positive, constructive culture.

Strategies for developing this capability

  • Familiarise yourself with UQ's preferred culture and the program of culture work, and begin considering how you can build such a culture in your area. Contact UQ Leadership for advice and support if needed.
  • Look for creative ways to recognise the efforts and achievements of your team. Consider both individual and team recognition, and remember that small, authentic means of saying thanks can add up to a big impact.
  • Take time to understand what is important to your team members and colleagues. Aim to help them develop professionally and personally.
  • Aim to understand the beliefs that might influence your behaviour. Read about how you can identify and avoid unconscious bias.
  • Take time out to review your impact on others after tough situations, difficult conversations, or workplace conflict. Reflect on the impact of your words and actions. What were the most effective things you said or did? Were there moments that could have been handled better? How?
  • Seek feedback from others about your management and leadership style. Asking for feedback demonstrates an openness to discussion, provides opportunities to improve your understanding of your effectiveness, and models this behaviour for others.
  • If you’d like to create an opportunity for more rigorous and accurate feedback, consider undertaking an anonymous feedback process such as the UQ Leadership Survey that will support you to understand the perspectives of those you work with.
  • Attend the Bullying and Discrimination Prevention and Resolution course.

Resources and readings