Leadership at U of T

Leading people is a significant milestone in person’s career. It’s a rich experience, but also a challenging one.

In addition to a Management learning stream that covers the important processes & tasks in the employee life-cycle, we are building a Leadership stream, which focuses on what it means to be a U of T People Leader.

The U of T
People Leader

Leadership starts with self. Everyone in every role at the University can be a leader – it’s a set of behaviours, not just a title. It’s about accountability, self-awareness and continuous learning. How can you lead others if you can’t lead yourself?

People leadership means leading yourself AND coaching, nurturing and developing your team’s talent. People Leaders are authentic, make their employees feel valued and are aware of the impact of their own behaviours on others. Most importantly, they create inclusive workplaces, where everyone feels they have a voice.

The plan

Because leading teams is different as you progress to more senior roles, we have envisioned our new leadership-learning model to meet the different leadership needs of the various roles.

As team leaders move into more senior positions, there will be a need for both more strategic and relationship building skills, which will be supplemented by coaching programs where needed and budget permitting.

This ambitious leadership development model will be built over the coming three to five years.  We are beginning with an overhaul of the current Manager’s Academy, with the first change occurring in November 2019.


Self-leadership, the foundation, is for everyone whether you lead teams or not. As described in the organizational competencies, it’s about how you show up at work. Are you accountable, self-aware and a continuous learner? For those who aspire to lead teams, this will be critical preparation for your future roles.

People Leadership

People Leadership will be a new learning stream.  The focus will be on the “people” skills all managers need to effectively get things done through people.  Regardless of tenure, experience or level, all people leaders will go through the People Leadership program to set expectations about what it means to be a U of T People Leader. We want to make sure all people leaders are on board, so all employees can have a great experience, feel valued and feel heard.

As team leaders move into more senior positions, their focus turns outward towards collaboration across departments, where their ability to influence, negotiate and leverage partnerships becomes important.   Senior leader acumen learning will be available to help people leaders make the leap from people leader to senior leader.


New team leaders will need to learn “the business” of leading a team, including how to write job descriptions, how to recruit new employees, how to manage performance, etc. We’re taking a fresh look at our Manager’s Academy, and re-focusing it on these types of tasks and targeting new managers only (new to U of T, or new to management).

Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership thinks more broadly and wider than people leadership.  Leaders at this level are concerned with the long-term, getting ahead of emerging trends and creating the big picture, multi-year plans for the university. This stream of the leadership programming will be available in the medium term.