UCL Human Resources


Grade 10

Supporting Indicators and Steps to Development

The Supporting Indicators and Steps to Development provide examples of typical behaviours that support or hinder the Ways of Working, and ideas for development.

Use these to support activities such as recruitment, appraisals and personal/ professional development. See more below or download the pdf document.

Personal Excellence – Supporting Indicators

Click to find steps to development.

Ensuring that teams are equipped to respond positively and effectively to needs.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Personal Excellence:

  • Underestimating needs in resource planning so that the task and/or the teams are negatively impacted.

  • Not providing sufficient support to teams to enable them to respond effectively.

Steps towards development: 

  •  Put a thorough long term resource planning cycle in place that includes plans for development and equipment needs for teams.

  • Regularly review any resourcing issues that teams are facing, supporting them to come up with strategies to ensure they are able to respond effectively.

Able to focus sharply on crucial issues, and follow through with action.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Personal Excellence:

  • Spending too much time focused on minor issues, while risking losing sight of the bigger picture.

  • Making impactful decisions too quickly without fully considering the key information, or the extent of the potential consequences.

Steps towards development: 

  • Map where your time is being spent, identifying where there may be excess focus on minor issues. Establish where you will bring most value and impact.

  • Review your decision-making processes, to consider whether you are gathering enough information to make crucial decisions. Seek feedback from your manager, colleagues and stakeholders as to whether they see you focusing on the crucial issues.

Having a clear commitment to leadership and people, setting a positive and emotionally intelligent example that motivates others to follow..

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Personal Excellence:

  •  Being a reluctant leader who may not like to lead or to see themselves as a role model.

  • Taking a task-based approach to leadership without visible awareness of empathy or relationship management.

Steps towards development:

  • Spend time reflecting on what your leadership role means to you, and how you want to lead. Attend a leadership programme, or connect with a coach to hone your leadership skills. What are your strategies for building your self-awareness? How do you gain feedback? Look at ‘emotional intelligence’ and consider your how your ability to be self-aware impacts your relationships with
  • Consider how you are spending your time as a leader, seek feedback from your team, and fully understand what motivates the people you lead. Speak to your HR expert about getting coaching, training or 360 feedback.
  • Encourage your team to discuss their career goals and to seek development while encouraging their teams and colleagues to do the same. Seek to attend a UCL mentoring training session via UCL Organisational Development or via your own faculty/department, so that you can guide others in their professional development and progression based on your own experiences.
Demonstrating commitment to diversity, inclusion and (inter) cultural sensitivity at UCL through all actions.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Personal Excellence:

  •  Talking about inclusion without always fully understanding or engaging with the issues, or not taking it seriously, or being a habitual cynic.

  • Tending to think of inclusion as someone else’s responsibility, rather than as a leadership issue.

Steps towards development:

  • UCL is London’s Global University. Our colleagues, students and partners come from all over the globe. Building on our collective knowledge and expertise requires us all to treat each other with respect and fairness. This ensures we can all contribute our best ideas and excel at work. To achieve this, each of us needs to develop our awareness of and commitment to (inter) cultural sensitivity and agility.

  • Upskill yourself on what UCL means by inclusion and (inter) cultural sensitivity. Consider key areas where these issues are directly relevant to your area of work – and how they impact people activities from recruitment and progression to how you run your meetings and seek feedback.  Think about how you and members of your team understand inclusion and (inter) cultural sensitivity. Consider whether you have created an environment where all colleagues and partners are treated fairly and with respect? How do you plan to assess the inclusivity of your leadership? Review your leadership strategies to find opportunities to be more inclusive. Consult your team, colleagues and partners on how to bring this to life in your day to day work.

Promoting a culture of innovative working.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Personal Excellence:

  •  Tending to set potentially unrealistic standards at the expense of individual wellbeing. Not appreciating the change impact and adapting to the various stakeholders involved.

  • Showing reluctance to review current approaches with a view to doing things differently, despite there being potential for improvements for team and/or outcomes.

Steps towards development:

  •  Have regular, planned meetings and check-ins with the team to ensure that standards and timelines are realistic and that you understand and can respond to any risks to staff wellbeing.

  • Work with your team to regularly review key practices, establishing solid measures to support your understanding of performance success and areas for improvement.

Pro-actively taking action to prevent bullying, harassment and discriminatory behaviour in teams and with partners.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Personal Excellence:

  •  Downplaying potentially bullying, harassment and discriminatory behaviour.

  • Not being aware of issues relating to bullying, harassment and discriminatory behaviour in teams.

Steps towards development:

  •  How self-aware are you around how you are perceived to respond to these issues? What are you basing your opinion on?  Ensure that you pay full attention to, and follow through on, any indications of bullying, harassment and discriminatory behaviour. Regularly refer your team to UCL channels such as ‘Report + Support’ and ‘Full Stop’.

  • Vocalise your stand against bullying, harassment and discriminatory behaviour in teams, ensuring your team are aware of your position and understand that you are committed to eliminating these behaviours. Recognise patterns of behaviour that disadvantage specific groups of colleagues, staff, students and partners.

Demonstrating a range of strategies to build and support resilience in self and team

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Personal Excellence:

  • Lacking in self-awareness around the impact of stress on one’s behaviour

  • Putting pressure on staff to practice resilience rather than dealing with issues that are causing stress.

Steps towards development:

  • Consider how self-aware you are around your stress triggers and responses to change. Do you recognise when you are stressed and the impact of that behaviour on others? Are you able to identify appropriate resilience techniques that can support you when you are feeling challenged at work? If you are unsure, seek feedback and work to identify resilience strategies that are effective for you.

  • How do you support your team in responding positively to stress and change? Different people handle stress and change in different ways, do not assume that their strategies will be the same as yours, and encourage them to identify and practice their own resilience techniques.

  • Part of resilience is to recognise early signs of stress and seek support and to encourage your team to do the same. Familiarise yourself with the UCL policy on Managing Stress at work. Use LinkedIn learning or resilience training opportunities to understand how different techniques can boost your resilience.


Working Together – Supporting Indicators

Click to find steps to development

Empowering others through promoting a culture of trust .

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Working Together:

  •  Holding on to responsibilities that should be delegated, so that others feel their competence is doubted.

  • Delegating responsibilities that others are not yet capable of assuming and without providing a safe space for trial and error

Steps towards development:

  • As a leader your words and actions will be pivotal in establishing a culture of trust. Consider the following questions as a starting point. How self-aware are you around your ability to build trust? How will you know when you achieve a culture of trust? What signs will you see? How close to that do you think you currently are? Applying humility and being open about your own mistakes is the first building block to creating trust. 

  • How does your communication promote trust? Do people feel they are treated fairly?  What further work should be done? How do you role-model empowering leadership and how do you encourage effective delegation? Are you providing sufficient clarity on what is expected of others, and when you need to be involved on key decisions?

Ensuring teams understand, and are supported in, the need to take care of themselves and others.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Working Together:

  • Not recognising when you or others need support.

  • Setting an expectation of task needs coming before people needs.

Steps towards development:

  •  Think about your expectations of others, and whether you appreciate their different needs, styles and concerns.  How can you encourage open conversations amongst teams around supporting each other’s varied needs? What systems might you be able to put in place to ensure these conversations happen appropriately and that your staff are trained to respond appropriately. 

  • As a leader you are often in the public gaze, even when just at your desk. How do you role-model work behaviour? Do you stop to chat and build rapport with the team, to get some fresh air, to have lunch? Consider what people are learning by observing you and think about how you might be more conscious of your actions.

Taking measured risks, and being prepared to learn through mistakes.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Working Together:

  •  Ignoring identifiable risks when making decisions.

  • Being too risk averse to make changes to existing practices.

Steps towards development:

  •  How do you assess risk in work-related decision-making? Who do you consult or work with to understand potential fall-out and benefits from calculated risks? How comfortable are you with accountability for possible failure? Reflect candidly perhaps with a manager, colleague or coach on your past and current approaches to risk and how that might change in the future. 

  • Consider how you might expand your thinking or establish ways of thinking about risk management outside of existing practices.

Providing career-focused growth and learning opportunities for everyone.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Working Together:

  •  Not prioritising career conversations, and playing down the importance of learning over business as usual.

  • Not enabling staff to make positive links between development and progression.

Steps towards development:

  •  One of UCL’s key strategic enablers is the personal development needs of all staff through mentoring, training and development and other mechanisms. 

  • Development at UCL is viewed around the 70:20:10 model where 70% of learning is ‘on the job’, 20% is through ‘interactions with others’ and 10% is in ‘formal training’. Ensure that you are encouraging staff to have a development plan that covers all of these three areas and is linked to their future progression plans. Make sure your line managers are trained and enabled to have positive career conversations with their direct reports. Consider succession planning as a key part of development and ensure that UCL has the right future talent in place.

Pro-actively influencing people and ideas to arrive at outcomes that are beneficial to the organisation.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Working Together:

  •  Manipulating others through power and control

  • Being unable to follow through on goals because you are not able to get the necessary buy in from others

Steps towards development:

  •  Good influencing is underpinned by having a vision of the optimum outcome. How strong is your vision? Will it stand up to counter-arguments or alternatives? How ready are you to provide convincing evidence to support it? Ensure that you are clear on the vision and how it benefits others, particularly if you find yourself unable to find buy in. Rehearse a few strategies and approaches that will appeal to people with different styles and priorities.

Being able to have difficult conversations with a view to resolving issues.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Working Together:

  • Avoiding difficult issues by turning a blind eye.
  • Being insensitive to others in the way that things are discussed, and failing to demonstrate (inter) cultural awareness.

Steps towards development:

  • Resolving issues can mean having conversations that feel difficult or uncomfortable. Are you self-aware of any problems you experience in carrying out these conversations? These conversations can often end up being delayed, incomplete or abrupt due to desire for harmony or pressures of time. For those of us working with international groups and partners difficult conversations can become even more complex with different ways of communicating and working.
  • The general rule of thumb is that unchecked issues do not resolve themselves and that bringing the issues into the open is usually the best approach. Think about how you resolve difficult situations. How do you do it? Does it work? How do you know? Do you seek feedback or reflect on your approach?
  • For those of us working with international groups and partners difficult conversations can become even more complex with different ways of communicating and working.

  • There are plenty of online resources to read on approaching difficult conversations. Seek out approaches that suit you. Start with through LinkedIn Learning or leadership development training.

  • A coach can help you develop your approach. Look at these basic tips. Which do you find hardest to achieve?
    - Be direct and specific
    - Be objective and evidence based
    - Plan out the conversation.
    - Offer a solution.
    - Manage your emotions.
    - Be empathetic
    - Allow the other person to ask questions.

Reviewing and appreciating well executed work

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Working Together:

  • Appearing unaware or unappreciative when a project or work has been a success.
  • Failing to give feedback or praise around improvement.

Steps towards development:

  • While most managers and leaders know how to feedback on average or poor work, many struggle to appreciate and praise. Take time to consider what your appreciation strategy is. How many times in the last few weeks have you directly appreciated or thanked a member of staff for their work? Think about ways in which you can do this. Are the team clear on what you consider well executed work?

  • Appreciation strategies can range a simple public ‘thank you’ to thinking about how this success may lead to a meaningful opportunity for the individual concerned. Sometimes giving of your time is the way to appreciate, spend some time listening to them over a celebratory coffee. Acknowledge their success more widely in a public meeting, nominate them for an award or mention them in a newsletter.

  • If you are stuck for ideas consult the team on how they would like to be appreciated.


Role-modelling the seeking and giving of feedback

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Working Together:

  • Happy to give feedback to others, but not being open/receptive to feedback yourself.
  • Not sharing constructive feedback on other people’s work.

Steps towards development:

  • Feedback is a positive way to raise self-awareness and give others the opportunity to understand how they are perceived by others.

  • Giving positive feedback can motivate, develop, build understanding and make people feel highly valued. Think about how you can do this more, and role-model doing it well for your team. Giving more constructive feedback can be harder. Look for resources or training to support you to do this better – LinkedIn Learning is a good start.

  • Reflect on what you currently do – is your feedback planned and timely?  Are you straightforward, using clear examples and rationale? Do you listen to their perspectives and seek collaborative solutions? Do you ask them for feedback on your performance?

  • How do you deal with receiving constructive feedback yourself? 

  • UCL offers 360 feedback as part of some leadership programmes, this is often an effective way to gain varied feedback in an organised way.


Achieving our Mission – Supporting Indicators

Click to find steps to development.

Taking accountability for tasks and teams. 

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Achieving our Mission:

  •  Blaming others when things don’t go well.

  • Not holding people to account for mistakes.

Steps towards development:

  •   If you want to create a culture of accountability, then it starts with you. You need to model the behaviours that you want to see in your own teams. Consider how you proactively do this and how you might build on it.

    You can let the team know that they will be held accountable for the activities by setting up regular review sessions. These will also give the opportunity to provide support in case things start to go awry and the opportunity to offer praise and encouragement to move people further if things are going well. Holding reviews after key projects with your team is another way to demonstrate a healthier approach to continuous improvement and accountability.

Acting to ensure productivity and results-orientation in team.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Achieving our Mission:

  •  Satisfied with mediocre performance from the team.

  • Over-demanding and setting unrealistic goals.

Steps towards development:

  • There are many aspects to performance management that need leadership and oversight, including performance reviews to make sure employees stay on track. As a leader, your responsibility in a performance appraisal is to motivate, coach, and mentor through communication and recognition. Are you and your line managers working to ensure that best practice appraisal reviews are happening? Are you confident that your goals are realistic and achievable? Do you ensure alignment with domestic and global partners around objectives and expectations? How can you make this clearer?
  • Are your team motivated to be productive and results-orientated? If not, why not? What can you do to better motivate? Individuals and teams often need to see how their work affects the bigger picture. They often require context and value they will bring.  How could you go about doing this? 
Reflecting the needs of UCL and the wider mission in your communication.

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Achieving our Mission:

  •  Following one’s own agenda without reference to the wider needs of UCL as an institution.

  • Exclusively follow wide UCL needs without challenging on behalf of the independent needs of own people or area of responsibility.

Steps towards development:

  • How frequently do you as a leader refer back to the UCL mission and vision, and think or talk about how the team supports wider institutional needs?
  • How do you support these conversations happening at different levels of the team between different colleagues? Think about how you might encourage and enable these wider conversations, what benefits this might bring and how you might take action
Presenting a powerful, strategic vision that aligns with long term aims of UCL

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Achieving our Mission:

  •  Being vague about how your strategy complements and supports UCL’s wider goals, or Painting a vision of the future that is unsustainable.

  • Being unable to influence others to positively engage with your vision.

Steps towards development:

  • How clear is your strategic vision?  Does it excite your team and differentiate them from competitors? How often is it reviewed and shared? Is it understood and respected by all levels of staff and does it serve to underpin their decision-making and work activity planning?
  • Consider what steps might need to be taken to review and embed your vision to ensure a clear and dynamic image of the future
Seeing opportunities that come with change, and influencing others accordingly

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Achieving our Mission:

  •  Being unable to influence others to accept positive change, or seeing change is being too disruptive. .

  • Pushing through change for the sake of it without strong data to support your case.

Steps towards development:

  • How do you demonstrate leadership in the ways that you understand and communicate change? How do you evaluate the need for change and innovation?
  • Consider changes or opportunities for change that have impacted your area over the last 12 months and think about how you responded. Can you identify any themes to your current approach? How have your influence others to buy in? Can you see any room for development? There are lots of great books and articles that talk about leadership in change that can support you to refine your approach. Seek out leadership training that includes approaches to change.
Ensuring robust project/task review and demonstrate evidence-based action-planning

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Achieving our Mission:

  •  Making changes to plans without full analysis, strategic knowledge and feedback.

  • Spending too much time in review without leading to any change in direction.

Steps towards development:

  • Review your current approach to action planning with your manager/ colleagues/ team. How effective is the current approach? How well does it allow you to anticipate and respond to changes? Do you have quick access to the right information and data to inform decision-making? How does your planning align with other pieces of work and where there are dependencies? What is the process for review and change, and is it transparent? How will you measure and report on success?
  • Seek out different project management approaches to see what suits your needs. LinkedIn Learning would be a good place to start.
Clearly and proactively articulating expectations and goals to teams, colleagues and partners to empower them to work towards solutions

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Achieving our Mission:

  •  Assuming that others automatically know what is needed or directing excessively so that others feel their competence is doubted.

  • Being unable to influence others to buy into and follow your expectations and goals

Steps towards development:

  • Expectation setting is crucial for successful projects and teams. A lack of clear expectations from a leader not only undermines performance and results, but also impacts negatively on engagement, relationships and teamwork.
  • How do you regularly set and review objectives with clear expectations. Are they written down and agreed?
  • Are they developed in collaboration with the individual? Do you discuss both performance and behavioural expectations? Do you think about development through supporting stretch goals? Are you confident that your line managers mirror this approach?
  • What are your team’s expectations of you? Are you delivering on them? Create some time to consider whether all these things are happening in the right way, get some advice from your manager or HR expert and discuss any changes with your team.
Encouraging teams to work and communicate across UCL where practical and beneficial

Examples of behaviours that may hinder Achieving our Mission:

  •  Sticking what has been done before without looking for opportunities to work more widely across UCL.

  • Promoting unnecessary meetings and working groups.

Steps towards development:

  • UCL’s mission relies on high levels of collaboration to be successful.  This can often mean decentralised working and working in teams that cross organisational divisions between employees and departments.  

  • This approach brings many development advantages, including improved collaborative outcomes, opportunities for staff development and exposure to learning about other areas of work and cultures. As a leader, encouraging this approach to work is important where practical. How well do you seek out and review these opportunities? How do you encourage staff to take them up, and how do you measure their benefits?

  • Consider your approach, and talk to peers about the way they make things work in their own areas. What are the barriers and how might you innovate to overcome them?