Leadership and management

Our work in this programme area seeks to inspire constructive dialogue on how to foster visionary and principled leadership in the United Nations.

We recognise that leadership is a multidimensional art and capacity in any context, and for international civil servants in the UN whose mandate is based on the values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the challenges are numerous.

In 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres proposed a reform agenda aimed at transforming the UN into a nimble, transparent and pragmatic organisation. In a corresponding report, he proposes changes to the management model that would address shortcomings in management culture and leadership. It makes clear that the UN must move toward a culture that focuses on results rather than processes, better manages administrative and mandate delivery risks, and values innovation.

In response to the Secretary-General’s reform proposals, we have initiated two projects that through publications and trainings seek to address the internal and external challenges and opportunities pertaining to leadership and management in the UN. With these projects we aim to build knowledge and inspire transformative leadership and management practices at all levels of the UN.

Flagship publication

The Art of Leadership in the United Nations

This publication strives to stimulate a conversation on how UN leadership could be enhanced to ensure its relevance and strengthen its impact at a time when both the UN and multilateralism are being tested.

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The International Civil Service: A Reference Compendium for United Nations Personnel

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Web photo copy

Paper series

100 Years of International Civil Service

This publication series commemorates 100 years of international civil service, which originated in 1919 with the birth of the League of Nations.


Deep Dive leadership training

Self-discovery and ethical reflections on leadership at Hammarskjöld’s summer home

In this Q&A with Ariane Sabet and Henrik Hammargren, learn about the ‘Deep Dive’ leadership training held for senior UN staff at Hammarskjöld’s Backåkra.

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Informal leadership exchanges

Feminist Leadership in Our World Today and Tomorrow

In June 2020 the Foundation and TrustWorks Global convened an informal exchange on the concept and practices of feminist leadership, bringing together 16 individuals working in civil society organisations, think tanks, the UN and Permanent Missions.

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