How is leadership changing and what does it mean for managers?

According to Prof. Dr. Friederike Müller-Friemauth in her keynote speech at this year’s Petersberg Trainer Days, the question that managers are asking themselves addresses the greatest taboo in the debate about New Work.

Which leads us to an even more interesting question about leadership:

“How can I as a manager change myself and my management style so that I can seize the opportunities offered by the new world of work?”

Here’s the good news: managers develop their leadership style primarily through experience, personality development, training and further education. Self-development is more important than ever before, as it also helps us cope with increasing complexity. Seeking the support needed to develop our skills is well worth it. Executive coaching is a tried and tested way of helping managers strengthen their leadership qualities.

What insights have top executives gained with the shift in leadership culture?

Here are some voices from the current debate on leadership:

“I no longer make many decisions.” said Elke Frank, Head of Human Resources at Telekom, about her job at the Petersberg Trainer Days.

In an interview on the Bertelsmann Foundation’s blog “Creating Corporate Cultures”, Marcus Raitner, Agile Transformation Agent at the BMW Group, declared: “We should finally take heed of Peter F. Drucker’s research on knowledge work and realise that knowledge work is fundamentally different, and that there has to be a radical shift in the way knowledge workers are managed, or, better said, they really have to manage themselves.”

At the impulse summit “The Next Now!”, Kai Diekmann spoke of his personal experience of the leadership culture shift. The magazine Computerwoche – Voice of Digital reported; He found his strictly hierarchical management style, where all his staff were only allowed to do things he had previously authorised, “incredibly difficult” to change. In the end, however, it paid off to tap into the creativity and innovative power of the employees and develop new digital products, for instance for

“Managers need to motivate employees much more, become a source of inspiration and, in view of shifting markets, rethink business models in a disruptive way”, revealed sociologist Hans Ochmann in an interview with the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung

The newspaper Die Welt notes: “Leaders who cling to an outdated and self-referential idea of hierarchical leadership fail to take team spirit and purpose to positive new heights. This can demotivate employees and prevent them from realising their potential. Subsequently, bosses shackle innovation, slowing down not only themselves but – even more seriously – their employees“.

Management culture in terms of digital leadership is not a question of age.

An individual’s leadership style is a matter of mindset and thus a question of personal development. The management culture in a company is therefore strongly dependent on whether the management wants and is able to continue to evolve.

The 7 leadership styles and their respective mindsets (see graphic) are outlined in detail in this blog entry. Our book “Mindset Matters – Shaping leadership & corporate culture for the future” gives a comprehensive and illustrative overview of the six mindset model. We recommend the book to all those who want to stay on the road to success and shape their leadership and corporate culture accordingly. 

How leadership can benefit from a culture of self-organisation

Managers with real leadership qualities benefit from a management culture which is making the shift towards employee self-organisation. They then have more time to put their professional expertise to good use instead of getting bogged down in micro-management. As Lars Vollmer so succinctly puts it in an interview with “What can current managers do in self-organising teams? That’s easy: Work, and in the real sense of the word create added value for customers. With and for the team. Many people are already doing this and most of them, I have observed, are really enjoying it. Those who channel their passion in signing applications for holiday leave with great flourish will probably sooner or later go down with their companies.”

Companies that are able to evolve their leadership and corporate cultures and as an organisation successfully implement the transformation to digital leadership will thrive. The Bertelsmann Foundation’s brochure “Zukunftsfähige Führung” (Sustainable Leadership) provides a wealth of information and motivation for shaping leadership skills and systems for better management.

How the innovative power of an organisation is determined by the mindset embodied by its management? Have a look in this article