The business world is growing ever faster, ever more volatile. Companies today have to reinvent themselves over and over again. I am convinced that it is only with a new understanding of leadership that the agility and innovative power you need will be achieved. The widespread management style of Command & Control practiced in most corporate environments leaves too little scope for creativity and change; stagnation and that inexorable road into the abyss of consequences.
But what is the alternative? Here’s what I think: Leadership has to be demystified. Managers should go from being decision makers to moderators and leadership should become timely – one role of many:
- From decision maker to moderator: Managers shouldn’t decide imperiously and give out instructions. They should create an environment in which employees take on responsibility as co-entrepreneurs and thus contribute the maximum to the success of the company. That means open dialog and delegation of powers. Decisions that are taken on the spot are often the best decisions. And instead of a universal management style for all employees, managers should be capable of accommodating the individual needs of different employees: allowing scope for manoeuver where this is desired and clear instructions where they are needed.
- Leadership becomes timely: Companies have to adapt quickly and dynamically to new conditions. That also means that different situations demand different capabilities from managers at different times. In the initial founding phase, different approaches are required than in periods of strong growth or during restructuring. These capabilities are not usually found all in one person. So it should go without saying that managers have to be able to “abdicate” without losing face. Accordingly, a retreat or a demotion as manager should not be seen as a failure, but as a run-of-the-mill maneuver. It also means that the former manager should be perfectly able to take on another role in the same company afterwards.
A new approach to leadership takes guts – but it is in my eyes a precondition of survival in the future. Have you got what it takes?