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Husky Leadership Initiative

Dear Students

As a public institution, the University of Washington creates and disseminates knowledge for the greater good. We address contemporary and stubborn challenges. We dive head first into the statement, “I don’t know” and begin to find solutions to big, interconnected problems: sustainability, global health, urbanization, social responsibility, economic justice to name a few. Part of our responsibility is to pay serious attention to these and other leadership issues that sustain a healthy democracy.

Students at the top of a mountainAs you progress through the University, we want you to learn about the grand challenges of our time and of all time. We want you to find what you care about. And we want you to act on your knowledge and passion.

We want to know: What grabs your heart and shouts, “Urgent!” In what way do you want to must you change the world?

The Husky Leadership Initiative aims to help you connect your leadership experiences into a personal leadership philosophy and approach. How does your work in the classroom, on campus, and in the community converge into a coherent whole? We want to elevate the profiles of existing leadership opportunities on campus; increase student access to current leadership programs; and provide new leadership curricular and co-curricular offerings so students can grow as thinkers, leaders, and doers.

Check out the list below—it’s what we think you should learn to become an effective and socially responsible leader. What do you already know and how do you want to grow?


Husky Leadership Initiative Steering Committee


Learning Objectives


  • Know your guiding values, motivations, passions, purpose, and ethics.
  • Increase your self-awareness and understanding of your leadership styles, strengths, weaknesses, stressors, and emotional and physiological reaction to stress.
  • Define leadership for yourself and identify where you are as a leader.
  • Understand leadership theory to deliberate and contemplate your leadership efforts objectively.


  • Increase your self-expectations.
  • Be willing to take risks.
  • Exhibit a strong work ethic.
  • Commit to an ongoing examination of your social location and its influence on your engagement.
  • Develop confidence and perseverance.
  • Embody care, empathy, and a sense of responsibility for the well-being of all people.
  • Be committed to equity for all people.
  • Value and seek out the inclusion of diverse people, perspectives, and ideas.
  • Develop a zest or passion for life!


Intrapersonal skills necessary to have strong self-awareness and the ability to manage yourself:

  • Reflect and critically evaluate yourself as a leader.
  • Manage your emotions and reactions to stress.
  • Set goals and identify strategies and pathways to achieving those goals.
  • Organize your life and responsibilities.
  • Manage and cope with change and uncertainty.
  • Maintain a healthy way of life.

Interpersonal skills necessary to work effectively with others:

  • Communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
  • Exhibit active and effective listening.
  • Make persuasive arguments for your ideas.
  • Manage people, delegate tasks, trust in others, identify the strengths and weaknesses of others.
  • Have empathy and respect for others.
  • Use communication and decision making skills necessary to resolve conflicts.
  • Understand ethical practices and be able to make ethical decisions.

Organizational skills necessary to accomplish goals while working with others:

  • Conceptualize and organize ideas in order to actualize programs, events, projects, etc.
  • Implement and execute ideas, programs, events, projects, etc.
  • Effectively and efficiently manage resources.
  • Build community.
  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your team.
  • Identify potential in others.
  • Understand your audience.
  • Maintain the balance between big picture items and tasks necessary to achieve goals.
  • Be a productive and engaged follower.
  • Adapt to change.
  • Collaborate with others.

Professional development skills important to the longevity of your leadership practice as well as the longevity of your organization after you depart:

  • Develop a network of support for yourself and your organization.
  • Build relationships with mentors.
  • Productively mentor others.


  • Identify opportunities to lead.
  • Take initiative and action to engage in leadership in a variety of settings.
  • Push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors as a leader.
  • Think clearly in times of ambiguity and navigate change effectively.
  • Lead for the common good of others.
  • Hold yourself accountable for both successes and failures.
  • Constantly apply, evaluate, and modify your leadership practice.
  • Be humble.