Manifesto for Human(e) Leadership

At a time when it is “nor­mal that many things are chang­ing and are chang­ing more quick­ly than ever” (Karl-Heinz Geißler), the role of lead­er­ship must at least be dis­cussed and, in parts, even ques­tioned. Today Lead­er­ship is only legit­i­mate if it has the self-lead­er­ship of the employ­ees entrust­ed to it as its goal. Lead­er­ship is about mak­ing oth­ers suc­cess­ful. This human lead­er­ship is not a ques­tion of posi­tion but of atti­tude. In this man­i­festo, we describe this atti­tude and the val­ues of a new, agile, dig­i­tal, and human(e) leadership.

Of course, I can­not say whether it will be bet­ter if it will be dif­fer­ent; but I can say that, it must be dif­fer­ent if it is to be good.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

This man­i­festo was the first attempt to answer the ques­tion of lead­er­ship in the con­text of agile trans­for­ma­tion. How­ev­er, this jour­ney towards more agili­ty and self-orga­ni­za­tion in the face of VUCA, dig­i­ti­za­tion, and dis­rup­tion is only a wel­come oppor­tu­ni­ty to revive long-stand­ing con­cepts such as ser­vant lead­er­ship. The man­i­festo is based on Peter F. Drucker’s research on knowl­edge work and the lead­er­ship of knowl­edge work­ers, as well as on the pos­i­tive con­cep­tion of mankind of The­o­ry Y from Dou­glas McGregor’s pio­neer­ing book “The Human Side of Enter­prise.” In this sense, the title of the man­i­festo may be under­stood as an allu­sion to this book.

Manifesto for Human(e) Leadership

We believe in the cre­ativ­i­ty and moti­va­tion of human beings. We con­sid­er human lead­er­ship as piv­otal in a high­ly net­worked and high­ly com­plex world. We under­stand the task of lead­er­ship as serv­ing life and striv­ing for con­di­tions in which peo­ple, in their diver­si­ty, can con­tribute in the best pos­si­ble way and in which they can devel­op them­selves and work effec­tive­ly togeth­er. These val­ues are impor­tant to us:

Unleash­ing human potential
over employ­ing human resources. (Read more)

Diver­si­ty and dissent
over con­for­mi­ty and con­sen­sus. (Read more)

Pur­pose and trust
over com­mand and con­trol. (Read more)

Con­tri­bu­tions to networks
over posi­tions in hier­ar­chies. (Read more)

Grow­ing leaders
over lead­ing fol­low­ers. (Read more)

Coura­geous­ly explor­ing the new
over effi­cient­ly exploit­ing the old. (Read more)

That is, while there is val­ue in the items on the bot­tom, we val­ue the high­light­ed items on the top more.

There is also a print­able ver­sion of this Man­i­festo for Human(e) Leadership.

Get the Book!

The Man­i­festo for Human(e) Lead­er­ship is avail­able also as a paper­back on Ama­zon.

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By Marcus Raitner

Hi, I'm Marcus. I'm convinced that elephants can dance. Therefore, I accompany organizations on their way towards a more agile way of working. Since 2010 I regularly write about leadership, digitization, new work, agility, and much more in this blog. More about me.

6 Comments

Great point and well said Marcus,
But can you change peo­ple or when you talk about chang­ing the cul­ture of a cor­po­ra­tion or orga­ni­za­tion do you need to change the lead­ers of the hier­ar­chy to change the whole thing?

Thanks Ran­dal! Change is hard and chang­ing oth­ers in my opin­ion impos­si­ble. What I can do and try to do is to inspire peo­ple to think about their behav­ior and the cul­ture they cre­ate with it. To this end, it cer­tain­ly helps to start with lead­er­ship as peo­ple in most orga­ni­za­tions are focused on the behav­ior their lead­ers show.

I find your mate­r­i­al most inter­est­ing and rel­e­vant. Look­ing for­ward to read­ing more of your insights!

Thank you Mar­cus for this point­ed and thought-pro­vok­ing state­ments! It reminds me of the Agile Man­i­festo with its pure­ly pos­i­tive state­ments. For my taste “Com­mand and con­trol” sounds a bit to neg­a­tive to sin­cere­ly val­ue it ;-)

Thank you so much for your appre­ci­a­tion! Indeed, it was meant to resem­ble the Agile Man­i­festo. And it is not so easy to come up with pure­ly pos­i­tive state­ments. And “com­mand & con­trol” indeed is the one where we have the most dis­cus­sion. I agree, that we should try to find a bet­ter and more pos­i­tive terms, e.g. “direc­tion and feedback”.

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