Leadership Framework

The UW-Madison Leadership Framework was developed by faculty, staff, and students from across campus in order to articulate ways of engaging in the act of leadership. It provides a structure for our university to understand how the action of leadership can result in positive changes in beliefs, values, and behaviors in individuals and organizations.

The framework is founded on guiding principles of leadership. It focuses on institutional values and leadership competencies, which when enacted, can lead to an infinite number of positive outcomes.

Framework Components

  • Leadership is an action-oriented endeavor not based on position or level of authority.
  • Context matters and each situation requires unique engagement.
  • The act of leadership is the phenomenon of positive change in an individual, group, or community’s beliefs, values, or behaviors.

The values included in the framework represent a set of cultural beliefs or ideals that are consistent with our University’s history and mission. These values serve as a foundation for the framework.

Transparency and truth are central touchstones for integrity. We aim for transparency of information and processes because we believe openness and accessibility facilitate trust, particularly when there are diverse and divergent perspectives on an issue. We hold ourselves accountable to reach decisions through an ethical process and accept responsibility for acting in the interest of all stakeholders.
Inclusive Engagement
The heart of leadership is the art of inspiring active, informed engagement, and decision-making in the pursuit of the common good. Inclusive engagement is the process by which we strive to seek and value the input of all, thereby realizing the benefit of the breadth of intelligence among us. At its core, Inclusive Engagement values the crucial knowledge, experiences, and contributions of us all.
Connection and Community
Leadership requires working with communities rather than working on communities by identifying, aligning, and pursuing goals that are mutually beneficial for all people impacted. With humility, we seek to foster active partnerships rather than imposing solutions.

The framework competencies encompass skills, abilities, and/or knowledge sets that can be taught or developed. All competencies can be observed and measured.

Consistently self-reflecting in order to reveal strengths, limitations, beliefs, values, and attitudes that generate engagement; Committing to personal development in order to provide greater understanding of multiple identities and experiences that affect the ability to facilitate change
Interpersonal Communication
Developing essential relationships through listening, considering, and responding to the needs of individuals and the situation; Having the ability to communicate in tactful, compassionate, and sensitive ways to enable these relationships to evolve
Supporting Learning and Development of Others
Developing the capacity and engagement of individuals and groups through feedback and coaching
Honoring Context and Culture
Seeking to understand the organization, culture, system, politics, and dynamics, and their influence on actions needed to achieve the group’s goals
Arriving at decisions that impact others and the organization in which the decisions are made; Employing critical and strategic thinking to enable creative solutions to be considered and pursued; Recognizing that with important systemic dimensions, analysis and ideas from multiple sources give way to implementation and evaluation
Fostering Bridge-Building and Collaboration
Through cooperative participation, encouraging everyone to take ownership of the work that is being done and the outcomes that are created; Creating an environment where differences are appreciated, knowing that conflict can serve to expose new solutions to complex problems
Moving Ideas Into Action
Offering a compelling vision that inspires groups to engage in the ambiguous transformation process; Being aware that co-creation processes focused on common goals require steady, yet flexible, interventions based on evaluation and the needs of the group

Leadership outcomes are detailed, specific, and measurable/identifiable positive changes in beliefs, values, and behaviors.