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 the University’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 is this capability 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 does it look 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 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 offered through the Staff Development Program.
  • 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

  • Blanding, M. (2014). Negotiation and all that jazz. Retrieved from http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6949.html.
  • Busine, M. & Watt, B. (2012). Driving workplace productivity through high quality interactions. Retrieved from http://www.ddiworld.com.au/productivity.
  • Devora, Z., (2010). Networking for people who hate networking: A field guide for introverts, the overwhelmed, and the underconnected. San Francisco, CA : Berrett-Koehler Publishing.
    UQ Library record
  • Scott, S. (2002). Fierce conversations: Achieving success in work and in life, one conversation at a time. London: Piatkus.
    UQ Library record


Explore the seven leadership capabilities:

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