Illinois Model of Leadership
A list of competencies provides goals, directions, and outcomes for leadership educators and learners. Competencies help the campus to inclusively define the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for effective leadership practice, and they provide a structure to communicate how leadership-specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes are inter-related. Dr. Gayle Spencer, Director of the Illinois Leadership Center and Dr. Beth Hoag, Associate Director, can be found discussing the Illinois Model of Leadership below.
History of the Illinois Model of Leadership
The Illinois Leadership® Center strives to be an internationally acclaimed provider of leadership education. The ILC has always relied on a clear mission, vision, philosophy of leadership, and a set of core leadership skills to ensure Illinois students are learning what is necessary to be a more effective leader. Before the doors of the ILC opened in 2002, a committee of faculty, staff, and students were charged by then Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Pat Askew to create a set of guiding doctrine to inform and shape the practice of the leadership at Illinois. This committee created the Illinois Philosophy of Leadership and 11 Skills & Attributes, in which the ILC utilized to develop the center's curriculum and programs for over ten years. This same committee also worked to create and structure the initial plans for the ILC, which later included formally establishing this committee as the Illinois Leadership Coordinating Committee.
In 2014-2015, the ILC sought out to reimagine the doctrine that guided the ILC and the broader University’s practice of leadership education. In the fall of that year, four sessions of Campus Conversations on Leadership Education were held. Over 260 faculty, staff, and students participated in the task of identifying the skills, value, attributes an Illinois graduates should demonstrate. Over 3000 post it notes were generated, which then provided themes for competencies and approaches to cultivate leadership on campus.What resulted was a white paper on “An Illinois Model of Leadership Education”, which includes four elements:
- philosophy of leadership,
- leadership learning and practice,
- leadership competencies, and
- a leadership assessment.
The cornerstone of our work is based on the Illinois Philosophy of Leadership.
Leadership Philosophy at the University of Illinois
Leaders are individuals who work with others to create positive change. Leadership can be practiced by anyone interested in making a contribution, regardless of formal authority or position.
Leadership development begins with self-knowledge—understanding one’s passions, motivations, strengths, limits, and personal values. Leaders are committed to continual self-discovery, reflection, and learning.
Learning to work with others is essential, since leadership never happens alone.
Leadership is exercised as members of teams, business, civic, and community organizations, and as global citizens. Leaders recognize and value the multitude of voices, opinions, experiences, and identities in our workplaces and communities, and as leaders, we work to promote greater inclusivity and respect.
At the University of Illinois, students learn and practice leadership in their academic coursework and out of classroom activities.
The Illinois Model of Leadership consist of four levels of practice:
1. PERSONAL/SELF LEVEL
The practice of effective leadership begins within oneself. Leaders work to develop a set of individual skills and attitudes necessary for being productive members of society. To review resources related to this level of practice, visit the library's libguide.
2. INTERPERSONAL/TEAM LEVEL
Effective leadership requires working with and influencing others to achieve common goals and shared vision. Leaders need to develop skills for building personal, authentic, and productive relationships. To review resources related to this level of practice, visit the library's libguide.
3. ORGANIZATION LEVEL
Significant accomplishments achieved within organizations are the result of teams interacting together. Leaders must navigate systems and influence people when they do not have interpersonal relationships with all others. To review resources related to this level of practice, visit the library's libguide.
4. COMMUNITY/SOCIETY LEVEL
The values and actions of individuals, teams, and organizations interact with and affect the broader communities in which they are situated. Leaders are role models and influencers with several communities simultaneously, and must possess skills and attitudes consistent with success in this larger context. To review resources related to this level of practice, visit the library's libguide.
Leadership education at the University of Illinois consists of developing competence in a set of skills and attitudes within each Level.
Illinois Leadership Competencies
The practice of effective leadership begins within oneself. Leaders work to develop a set of individual skills and attitudes necessary for being productive members of society.
Possesses an accurate sense of one’s current interests, values and goals in life
- Describes how one’s choice of academic major is personally significant
Can describe one’s personality, interests, strengths, and weaknesses
- Is able to articulate the skills that they can bring to a team
Manages one’s self and actions with a healthy attitude and productive relationships
- Recognizes when they are frustrated in an argument with another, and can ask for a break in the discussion
Consciously identifies one’s goals and works towards them
- Identifies what type of lifestyle they would like to lead in five years
Starts work on one’s goals and plans
- Rarely requires time extensions on project deadlines
Proposes new ideas or actions after consideration of options
- Consistently volunteers for ad hoc tasks within a group
Considers past experiences and current situations to inform current and future actions
- Identifies specific examples in their life that define their leadership
Utilizes past mistakes and actions as learning opportunities to improve skills
- Regularly asks, “What can we do better next time?”
Understands the perspectives of others, without necessarily agreeing with them
- Sees a supervisor’s point of view in why they did not receive an assignment
Recognizes and acknowledges the emotional context of interactions
- Recognizes the nervousness of a new team member
Values new experiences and people
- Is excited to meet someone of a different background and learn new things
Maintains a strong sense of personal values while being responsive to new ones
- Authentically considers and evaluates a perspective contrary from their own
Acts to do the “right” thing consistently
- Can be trusted with privileged information
Possesses a strong personal character
- Is respected by most people
Effective leadership requires working with and influencing others to achieve common goals and shared vision. Leaders need to develop skills for building personal, authentic, and productive relationships.
Facilitates conversations within groups to agree upon goals and tactics
- Reminds the team of its core priorities as it decides on its future goals
Builds a sense of commitment from team members
- Facilitates activities and discussions that help team members bond interpersonally
Shares perspectives and gathers viewpoints, in both formal and informal environments
- Ensures open understanding of team and individual priorities
- Balances the priority to be understood with the priority to understand
Engages in active listening
- Practices empathy when team emotions are high.
Builds and maintains healthy and productive relationships
- Seeks to learn about the interests, values, and goals of others
- Creates communication structures to stay in touch with colleagues
Adapts personal interaction style to build relationships in a variety of environments
- Introduces oneself to others in both formal and informal settings
- Connects to various student communities by developing friendships/networks
Recognizes how relationships within groups change and accordingly adapts personal leadership style
- Knows how to facilitate ice-breaking conversations for new teams
- Senses when a team is ready to focus on tasks or relationships
Manages interpersonal conflict appropriately
- Compromises and accommodates others
Supports other leaders and their initiatives
- Works productively to support and shape initiatives
Challenges the group and other leaders with respect and consideration
- Confronts or challenges one’s supervisor in a respectful way
Possesses the skills, knowledge, and attitude necessary to create authentic relationships with those from different cultures
- Builds relationships with people outside their dominant cultural group
- Explores new cultural experiences
Recruits diverse membership within groups or teams
- Facilitates cross-cultural understanding within groups
Significant accomplishments achieved within organizations are the result of teams interacting together. Leaders must navigate systems and influence people when they do not have interpersonal relationships with all others.
Creates successful change in organizations with a planned and disciplined process
- Develops transition plan for next leader(s)
- Uses organizational meeting time to provide updates and status reports of ongoing projects
Engages others in developing a strategic future
- Works to develop an organizational strategic plan with other members
Promotes a culture of diversity to make organizations stronger
- Engages underrepresented populations within the organization in discussions focused on improvement
Advocates for processes that are inclusive of diverse cultures
- Moves an event that would occur during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan
Creates events and celebrations that teach the value of diversity of cultures
- Plans an International Night to celebrate diverse cultures
Creates sustainable standard processes for ongoing tasks
- Establishes a procedure for approval of budgetary expenditures
Organizes the work of others in a systemic and consistent manner
- Defines people’s roles to avoid overlapping responsibilities or ambiguous functions
Values continuous assessment and improvement
- Asks, “What can we do better next time?” at the completion of an initiative
Challenges the traditional ways of doing things
- Balances the need for stability with the goal to improve an annual program
Changes processes and structures with purpose and meaning
- Questions the need to change something before considering changes
The values and actions of individuals, teams, and organizations interact with and affect the broader communities in which they are situated. Leaders are role models and influencers with several communities simultaneously, and must possess skills and attitudes consistent with success in this larger context.
Recognizes the worth of all people
- Adopts an attitude of reciprocity when interacting with others
Ensures their human rights are a priority
- Motivates group members to treat others with respect
Engages in opportunities to learn about privilege, and the distribution of wealth and resources within a community
- Attends a rally on the Quad to increase awareness of human rights
Strives to reduce economic, political, and social inequality
- Creates a member recruitment process that reduces inequality in its policies
- Plans a Hunger Banquet to educate members on issues of poverty
Recognizes and understands the value of global perspectives
- Interacts effectively with people from people from geographically diverse communities
Respects local cultures within a global context
- Is excited to learn about local history when visiting a new place
Finds meaning in their work through service to others
- Communicates how their work contributes to the health and wellness of others
Models service to others by engaging in actions that serve others in and outside of their community
- Volunteers time at a local animal hospital
Ensures the impact of work benefits the organization as well as the broader society
- Considers the human impact of budgetary decisions
- Considers whether a project might negatively impact a local community
Improves environmental conditions within their community
- Plans a community garden to increase local access to nutrients while reducing carbon dioxide emissions
- Works with facilities staff to install “smart” thermostats in campus residences