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 is this capability 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 does it look 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 the Organisational Development Team 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. Start by taking the Implicit Association Test to identify your own areas of 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 would 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 & Discrimination Prevention & Resolution course offered through the Staff Development Program.

Resources and readings

  • Blanchard, K., Lacinak, T., Tompkins, C., & Ballard, J. (2002). Whale Done!: The Power of Positive Relationships. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.
  • Gentry, W. A., Weber, T. J., & Sadri, G. (2010). Empathy in the workplace: A tool for effective leadership. [Centre for Creative Leadership White Paper]. Retrieved from http://www.ccl.org/leadership/pdf/research/EmpathyInTheWorkplace.pdf.
  • Jones, Q., Dunphy, D., Fishman, R., Larné, M., & Canter, C. (2006). In great company: Unlocking the secrets of cultural transformation. Sydney: Human Synergistics Australia.
    UQ Library record
  • Lundin, S.C., Paul, H., & Christensen, J. (2000). Fish!: A remarkable way to boost morale and improve results. New York: Hyperion.


Explore the seven leadership capabilities:

Have feedback on the framework? Suggestions for improvement? Resources to share?
Email the UQ Leadership team.