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Human Resources

UZH Leadership Circle

Managers and leaders have to deal with complex questions to which there are often no clear-cut answers. They are expected to make the right decisions from a wide range of potential solutions and implement long-term ideas.

The UZH Leadership Circle enables managers and leaders across all faculties and Central Services units to expand their leadership skill set and tackle challenging leadership situations together.

The Möbius strip, a seamless loop with only one edge and one side, symbolizes the continuous nature of leadership as well as the multitude of perspectives with which issues are tackled in the UZH Leadership Circle.

In addition to achieving their own goals, managers and leaders are also expected to take care of their team’s needs and develop their employees’ skills. They have to deal with complex leadership situations, in which interests and expectations often diverge. Or they may be faced with conflicts for which there is no blueprint and which can’t be solved by the book. Dealing with these kinds of situations often requires managers to consider more than the purely rational aspects. To find solutions, they also have to take into account people’s underlying interests, emotions and values, which are less obvious and often go unexpressed.

The UZH Leadership Circle offers an approach for dealing with such issues by getting leaders and managers to meet up in small, unchanging peer groups at regular intervals throughout the semester. This creates a specific setting for participants to discuss complex and sensitive leadership issues outside of their everyday professional contexts.

Approach and content 
The UZH Leadership Circle is mostly based on collegial peer coaching, a solution-oriented approach that facilitates professional exchange and reflection among peers. It focuses on actual cases from the managers’ own leadership experience and typically follows a pre-defined process that is overseen by a specialist who ensures that all the steps required for coaching to succeed are completed. At the end of the program, participants reflect on the coaching process, which promotes their self-directed learning and improves the quality of coaching on an ongoing basis.  

Participants in the UZH Leadership Circle get to analyze specific leadership challenges and develop, assess and apply different solutions and strategies. In addition, they benefit from hearing a variety of ideas concerning their case and developing innovative approaches to solving their leadership and management problems. They learn how to become more aware of their own emotions as well as those of their team members and how to deal with them. Discussing issues within a group of peers helps leaders critically reflect on their own management role, address relevant concerns and doubts, challenge their own way of thinking and explore any “blind spots” they may have. The course is also an ideal opportunity to network with colleagues from different organizational units at UZH, which can be helpful when it comes to overcoming leadership and management challenges in the future. Participants also get the chance to arrange individual coaching to explore solutions developed as part of the course in greater depth.  

Leaders interested in joining a UZH Leadership Circle must be willing to present a situation (in anonymized form) from their own professional experience. They are required to actively take part in coaching sessions and take on different roles within the process. An openness for and interest in self-reflection is as important as a willingness to engage with others in a constructive and critical fashion. Full attendance and a confidential setting – both during and beyond the course – are the keys to fruitful collaboration.   

The UZH Leadership Circle is run in German and English.
Registration is possible at any time.  

Further details about the UZH Leadership Circle are available at the following link: 
UZH Leadership Circle

Ephraim Appius, Expert in Leadership Development and Change Management, Human Resources