New UZH Journal

Competent Leadership

The May edition of the UZH Journal is dedicated to the topic of leadership. The University of Zurich has developed eight Leadership and Management Principles which were approved by the Extended Executive Board of the University in April. They contain specific recommendations for leaders and managers, and ideas to help them reflect on their own leadership style and behavior.


“Leaders and managers communicate and act in a transparent, appreciative, and solution-oriented way as appropriate at the various levels,” reads one paragraph of the Leadership and Management Principles. (Illustration: Niklas Briner)


Countless books and articles have attempted to provide answers to the question of what constitutes good leadership. Klaus Jonas, professor of social and business psychology at UZH and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, is an expert in this area. In his view, managing employees well boils down to a simple formula: “Good leadership consists above all in assessing employees’ performance and job satisfaction, and thus finding out whether they are fulfilling their potential.”

Responsible leaders and managers, according to Jonas, try, for example, to find consensus in their team, to motivate their employees, and to support them in their professional development. They encourage cooperation and mutual respect and establish clear working processes. They explain the reasons for and aims of reorganization, support collective learning, and take their team members’ interests into account. “With a modern evidence-based approach to leadership, a dominant personality is not the main thing that counts,” says Jonas, “but rather goal-oriented and at the same time employee-focused behavior.”

UZH has drawn up eight Leadership and Management Principles which were approved by the Extended Executive Board of the University in April and are presented in the latest edition of the Journal. The principles are intended to raise awareness of the topic of leadership, and contain specific recommendations for leaders and managers and ideas to help them reflect on their own leadership style and behavior. “It is essential that UZH has a leadership culture that combines the freedom necessary for research and teaching with the operational business requirements at the administrative level,” says President Michael Hengartner. 

“Competent leadership is the basis for good working relationships – that is true for researchers and teaching staff just as much as for the administrative and technical staff,” say Vice President Gabriele Siegert and Director of Finances and Human Resources Stefan Schnyder. UZH supports its employees to develop and improve their leadership and management skills. For Head of Human Resources Karin Bertschinger: “Leadership is a skill that can be learned.”  Human Resources, together with the Office for Continuing Education, have developed a range of courses in this area. These courses are also featured in the current UZH Journal.

Other topics in the UZH Journal:

Perspectives for the non-professorial academic staff

The increasing number of junior researchers poses a number of challenges for universities and funding bodies. Academics are seeking clear career paths and permanent positions. President of the National Research Program of the Swiss National Science Foundation Matthias Egger, head of the Graduate Campus at UZH Claudine Leysinger, and co-president of the Association of the Non-Professorial Academic Staff (VAUZ) Georg Winterberger debate possible solutions in the Journal.

“I enjoy teaching”

...says winner of the Teaching Award, political scientist Silja Häusermann. Her inspiring and motivating teaching style saw her students select her to receive this year’s award. The Journal team talks to the instructor and researcher to find out more.

Sought-after dolphin expert

Dolphin researcher Angela Ziltener is closely connected with UZH, but most of her time is spent not in Zurich, but at the Red Sea. She has completed over 1,000 dives and discovered that dolphins have incredible abilities and, in her experience, also display individual personalities.

Digital native of the first order

Twenty-two years ago, UZH alumnus Andrej Vckovski founded the company Netcetera along with four fellow students. The company has enjoyed sustained growth since then and has made a name for itself with software solutions for digital payment transactions.

Striking UZH lapel pin

Those who carry their affection for UZH not only in their hearts, but also want to wear it on their sleeve, should get themselves a UZH lapel pin. This elegant accessory, as featured in the Journal’s UNIDING column, is the perfect complement to any blazer or sports jacket.

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