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Leadership and Management Principles

The English translation is provided for convenience purposes only. The original German text fully prevails.


The University of Zurich (UZH) is a knowledge organization, which independently regulates its academic and organizational business with the relevant management structures. It aims to achieve a high degree of self-organization and to ensure joint responsibility on the part of its members. This requires a leadership and management culture that strikes a balance between the liberty that is necessary for engaging in research and teaching on the one hand, and the economic requirements with regard to administrative matters on the other. Led well, UZH creates ideal conditions for research and teaching as well as for the provision of services, and thus offers its entire staff an inspiring working environment.

At UZH, leaders and managers are supported appropriately to allow them to develop a clear understanding of their role in terms of the strategic positioning, organization, and management of their unit and staff, and conditions are created to enable them to fulfill this leadership role. The following principles have been developed on the basis of UZH’s mission statement and strategic goals to achieve a common understanding of leading at the UZH. They are aimed at all members of UZH’s academic or administrative staff who hold a leadership position or management function.

Leadership and Management Principles at UZH

  1. Leaders and managers are aware of their role as a leader at UZH and of the fact that they thus serve as a role model for others. They always represent the values of UZH within as well as outside the University.
  2. Leaders and managers reflect upon their role and are prepared to acquire the management and leadership skills required for their tasks. UZH provides the relevant leadership tools and training for them to do so.
  3. UZH leaders and managers encourage and support their employees by empowering them to perform well as well as recognizing their readiness to take on responsibility and shape their area of responsibility, and by giving them the opportunity to do so. They foster their employees’ development and include them in the decision-making process as appropriate at the various levels.
  4. Leaders and managers communicate and act in a transparent, appreciative, and solution-oriented way as appropriate at the various levels. They manage actively and express what they expect of their employees in terms of performance and behavior in tangible terms. They evaluate their employees and give timely, clear, and objective feedback.
  5. Leaders and managers assume the duty of good faith that UZH as an employer has towards its staff.
  6. Leaders and managers know the relevant legal provisions as well as their tasks, competencies, and areas of responsibility (A/K/V). This applies to permanent as well as temporary or lateral leadership and management relationships.
  7. Leaders and managers set goals for their area of responsibility on the basis of the strategic goals of UZH and of their unit. They develop measures to achieve these goals and ensure that the employees know and are able to implement them. They create clear, functional organizational and management structures, plan the use of resources sustainably, and shape the organizational, personnel, and cultural changes in their area of responsibility.
  8. All leaders and managers at UZH are jointly responsible for successfully shaping and developing the University: Professors are leaders and managers in their work units. UZH’s ability to organize itself is made possible by the professors, who take on specific leadership and management functions on a temporary basis. The leaders and managers in the offices and departments make their expertise and services available for the benefit of UZH and its members.

Explanatory note

“Leadership and management” is used in four contexts in the leadership and management principles and the relevant leadership training courses:

  • Self-leadership and self-management in the sense of requirements for leaders and managers with regard to perception, recognition, and ability to reflect on their own role and behavior, work organization and prioritization, as well as required internal and external communications
  • Leading and managing employees in the sense of a targeted interpersonal influence on employees to achieve the organization’s goals together
  • Management of organizational units of UZH (including their positioning)
  • Specific leadership and management situations (temporary and lateral leadership and management relationships, intercultural management, bottom-up leadership, etc.)

“Leaders and managers” within the context of these leadership and management principles means:

  • Persons with operational and financial responsibility for organizational units of UZH
  • Persons who are solid or dotted line managers of one or more employees
  • Persons who have temporary leadership and management functions or de facto or lateral leadership roles, for example in specific projects.