Printed on: 02/15/2019. Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.

Assessing the Performance of Senior Leaders

Administrative Procedure


The University is committed to fostering the success of its senior leaders and enhancing their effectiveness in a constructive way. Performance reviews are a means to support this commitment and are the responsibility of the appropriate responsible administrator. The Administrative Policy: Performance Management for Academic Professional and Academic Employees mandates assessment of administrators, including senior leaders, in a relatively uniform fashion. Responsible administrators are expected to conduct and budget for appropriate performance reviews and will be held accountable for doing so.

The following review procedures are applicable specifically to the review of senior leaders (other than deans, whose assessment is covered under a separate procedure). The process accomplishes the following:

  • Supports both developmental and evaluative outcomes;
  • Supports the broad goals of leadership excellence and managerial accountability; and
  • Allows for efficient use of resources.

The review and evaluation of senior leaders involves a developmental review using a 360-degree process with follow-up coaching.


The following performance criteria have been organized into four leadership competencies for senior leaders. It is recommended that the responsible administrator share this set of core performance criteria and leadership competencies during the interview and subsequent hiring process for new senior leaders, and during subsequent annual performance discussions.


Shapes Strategic Focus

Formulates effective and progressive strategies aligned with University mission and values; determines objectives and priorities and acts as a catalyst for institutional innovation and growth.

  • Develops and aligns the functional area's strategic priorities with those of the University.
  • Creates and communicates a clear vision of the functional area's future.
  • Surveys the horizon to determine important state, regional, national, and global activities and trends.
  • Encourages evidence-based decisions that are aligned with strategic priorities.

Demonstrates Financial Acumen

Understands the meaning and implications of key financial indicators; manages overall financial performance; uses financial analysis to evaluate strategic options and opportunities.

  • Identifies key future developments likely to affect the financial demands of higher education.
  • Identifies patterns, trends, and benefits of alternatives before making decisions.
  • Understands the implications of financial decisions when leading the functional area.
  • Effectively communicates the value of services provided by the functional area.

Ensures Alignment

Ensures that University strategies and plans are integrated and aligned for success; supports the President and Board of Regents by providing timely, direct, and critical insights on initiatives, political positioning, and public perception.

  • Scans the internal and external environment for potential risks in order to provide timely feedback to the President and Regents.
  • Readily shares professional judgment with senior leaders and the Board of Regents.
  • Shifts the direction of the functional area when dictated by strategic shifts at the University.
  • Meets the information needs of the President and Regents.


Ensures Execution

Anticipates change, conveys clear priorities, and aligns efforts across functions; addresses barriers, takes action, and holds self and others accountable for results.

  • Creates or modifies enterprise infrastructures to support strategic objectives.
  • Takes action, even when risk is great, and balances tradeoffs appropriately.
  • Balances the achievement of day-to-day results with the accomplishment of key initiatives.
  • Ensures that others have the resources, information, authority, and support needed to achieve objectives.
  • Holds self accountable and ensures accountability in others for achieving results.

Leads Change

Uses data-driven decision-making to generate insights, alternatives, and opportunities for success; fosters a continuous improvement environment; makes novel use of existing ideas, approaches, technologies, or products.

  • Fosters an environment that promotes innovation, continuous improvement, and managed risk-taking.
  • Anticipates and then addresses the impact of large scale changes on morale and productivity.
  • Champions the integration of process improvement efforts within and across functions, colleges, and units.
  • Ensures integration of relevant policies and regulatory factors in implementing improvement efforts.


Communicates Openly and Listens

Presents ideas effectively gauging the needs of the audience; actively listens and incorporates input from others.

  • Communicates effectively to a wide variety of audiences.
  • Effectively translates concepts and information related to the functional area.
  • Listens attentively and with empathy to concerns expressed by others.
  • Ensures others have access to the information necessary to do their work and contribute to the functional area's goals.
  • Probes past initial responses to get to underlying issues.

Influences and Inspires

Promotes ideas and proposals persuasively to shape stakeholder opinion; creates a climate that fosters personal investment and nurtures commitment to a common vision and shared values; inspires action without relying solely on authority.

  • Fosters commitment to the University's and functional area's vision, values, mission, and aspirations.
  • Generates energy and enthusiasm in others by appealing to their personal values and goals.
  • Establishes credibility by demonstrating broad knowledge, good judgment, and deep expertise.
  • Positions ideas and proposals to address the needs, interests, and concerns of stakeholders.

Builds Relationships and Fosters Collaboration

Cultivates an active network of relationships inside and outside functional area; fosters collaboration and teamwork by being inclusive, supportive, cooperative, and sharing power.

  • Promotes a culture of collaboration and teamwork across institutional boundaries.
  • Connects people from across functional, institutional, and external boundaries to form productive alliances.
  • Is accessible and invests the time necessary to build relationships.
  • Establishes a norm where conflicts are managed and resolved in a constructive manner.
  • Cultivates networks in order to strengthen expertise and build professional reputation.

Builds Talent

Attracts and retains high caliber people; develops a leadership team with diverse capabilities; accurately assesses the strengths and weaknesses of staff; develops successors.

  • Creates a culture that values, supports, and reflects diversity.
  • Recruits, selects, and develops a highly functioning leadership team.
  • Builds a functional area in which strong performance is recognized and poor performance is addressed.
  • Ensures that development plans and processes are in place to build the necessary talent for today and the future.
  • Provides insightful, motivating, and constructive feedback, coaching, and guidance.


Establishes Trust

Respects all individuals and treats them fairly; honors commitments to others; models high ethical standards and integrity.

  • Establishes an environment in which integrity and ethics are the norm.
  • Delivers on commitments.
  • Engages in decision-making processes that are appropriately transparent, well-defined, and understood.
  • Makes courageous or unpopular decisions, as appropriate.

Demonstrates Emotional Acuity

Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of others; understands impact of own behavior; has a realistic understanding of own strengths and development needs; is committed to continuous learning.

  • Models openness to feedback and a desire for learning new things.
  • Exhibits an awareness of one's own capabilities and development needs.
  • Demonstrates flexibility and comfort with ambiguity.
  • Recognizes the feelings of others and exhibits appropriate level of composure, patience, and diplomacy.
  • Demonstrates humility while serving others.


The 360-Degree Assessment is a developmental review process which incorporates an optional performance coaching component, the focus of which is determined by the review outcomes. The intent of this review is to provide an opportunity for the senior leader being reviewed to obtain feedback on performance and areas where leadership development would be of benefit.

360-Degree Instrument


The purpose of the standardized 360-degree web-based instrument is to assess a senior leader’s capabilities against leadership criteria and in so doing provide valuable developmental review feedback from individuals who have opportunity to observe and interact on a regular basis with the senior leader being reviewed.


Assessment data is sought from a small group of individuals who rate the senior leader on key areas of leadership. A standardized web-based tool is used, administered by an outside vendor. The senior leader being reviewed, in consultation with their responsible administrator, selects a group of approximately 20 raters. This group can be chosen from University or external administrative peers/associates, direct reports, others within the administrative unit and the responsible administrator. Raters should be individuals with whom the senior leader being reviewed generally interacts in conducting the unit’s business. In addition to others providing assessment ratings, the senior leader being reviewed is also to do a self-assessment rating.

Frequency and Timing of the Review

The 360-degree assessment is to be scheduled a minimum of once every three years. For senior leaders new to the position, a review of this nature is to be conducted within the first 12 months in the position.

Review Process

An outside vendor administers the 360-degree tool. Results of the assessment are summarized and provided to the senior leader being reviewed by the vendor. The vendor will provide to the senior leader being reviewed a copy of the results and will be available to meet to discuss the review. The results of the assessment may be shared with the responsible administrator, as agreed to by the senior leader and responsible administrator.

Optional Coaching

After reviewing the results of the 360-degree assessment, the senior leader being reviewed may choose to request the use of a coach to assist in addressing areas to be strengthened.

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