Leadership at the UU

At Utrecht University, we value leadership very highly. We believe that effective leadership is a vital factor in creating a safe and inspiring working environment as it boosts employee motivation, helps us achieve our goals, facilitates cross-border collaboration and enables UU to help make the world a better place. 

Leadership plays a role in all kinds of issues, both big and small. It's about how various levels within UU communicate with each other. It's about how you give feedback to your colleagues. It's about constructively identifying things that could be done better, taking other people's viewpoints and feelings into account and giving direction. 

Three dimensions of leadership at UU

There are many dimensions to leadership, each of which features its own key competences. Every dimension has its own individual perspecitive, although they are all applicable to your everyday duties as a supervisor. What makes you a good leader and what is necessary for you to be(come) one? At UU, we define three dimensions of leadership. 


  • Self-reflection
  • Cultivating mutual trust, giving and taking responsibility
  • Recognising and nurturing diversity of employees
  • Clear communication

You and your team

  • Collaboration (interdisciplinary or otherwise)
  • Reinforcing the culture of improvement
  • Encouraging development
  • Results-oriented

You and the organisation

  • Setting objectives for your own unit and connecting them to UU objectives
  • Realising objectives in the UU Strategic Plan
  • Taking responsibility for the bigger picture

How does the UU work on leadership? 

As an organisation, we stimulate the discussion about leadership with discussions in various forums and with all kinds of target groups. In this way we both align our goals and translate them into practice, for example about recognition and appreciation or diversity. In addition, strategic personnel planning helps to create a strategy about (future) leadership and to stimulate its development. It is up to each manager to fill in the details of their own leadership dimensions in daily practice. The UU offers multiple leadership courses for its employees with many different learning paths and training courses. 

Leadership development programmes

Utrecht University offers several opportunities to enhance your professional qualities in the field of leadership:

Development programmes support staff
Development programmes academic staff
Centre for Academic Teaching

UU Leadership Track: "it's about a culture of openness, diversity and recognition"

Department head Annemiek van Gorp and professor Fran├žois Kristen are  following the new UU leadership track for senior managers at Utrecht University. How do they now look at their role as leaders?

What are you most excited about so far?

"I like the fact that this programme does not say: this and this is a leader at Utrecht University, but that it is about establishing a culture of openness, diversity and recognition"

More information

For more information, see the brochure (pdf) on leadership at the UU and the video (English subtitles possible) in which Annetje Ottow, former Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board, invites all UU managers to engage in the leadership conversation.