When reality contradicts our beliefs and worldviews, we have several ways to resolve this cognitive dissonance. Most people tend to creatively reinterpret reality to make the experiences fit into their mental model picture. Yet, it is more helpful to use the discrepancies as a source of insight and adjust one’s worldview. Especially for leaders whose worldviews and beliefs affect many others.
Initially, the fear of Corona was supposed to unite the people in the joint fight against the pandemic. This fear is increasingly turning into hatred, agitation, and separation. It is time for us to confront this corrosive tendency with determination and unity.
Time is our scarcest resource. It runs out irretrievably. Already the ancient Romans gave the advice: Carpe diem! In the age of knowledge work with a thousand possibilities and just as many distractions, however, this is easier said than done. In about twenty years of knowledge work, I have tried out a few things and learned a lot about how to organize myself well.
To have developed a coherent modern leadership attitude is one thing. However, to endure the tension between this aspiration and the sobering reality of everyday leadership in mostly more traditional structures is something completely different. In many cases, this tension, known from social psychology as cognitive dissonance, can only be resolved by sacrificing one’s own aspirations. But there are also other possibilities than willingly submitting to one’s fate.
What we can learn from the sugar consumption of Gandhi, from Netflix’s surprising resemblance to a nuclear submarine, and from the frightening team dynamics of super chickens about new leadership. On the occasion of the X‑Conference 2020 I tell my three favorite stories about role models, responsibility and trust — also as video for listening, thinking and imitating.
Lonely Christmas? How does the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder actually talk to us? I’m sick of being admonished like a child, threatened and occasionally praised. With this ongoing infantilization of mature citizens, the government is undermining the self-organization and personal responsibility that we urgently need for a sustainable containment of the pandemic.
Changing behavior and habits is often tedious. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, it is said. And that is exactly where the problem lies. Behavioral change is not only a question of will and motivation, but can be strategically better addressed with a differentiated understanding of human behavior. The behavioral model of B.J. Fogg provides the basis for this.
Entire organizations also suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect. After the first steps of transformation and the first insights, they are stuck at the peak of “Mount Stupid”, where they enjoy all kinds of cargo cult grossly overestimating what they have already achieved.
Court jesters or corporate rebels invite people to reflect, rethink and think differently and protect the organization and its rulers from hubris and inertia. But is this necessary in a crisis? Is this art or can it go away?
Thirty days without social media apps on my smartphone. Thirty days of not enjoying likes on the side and quickly answering a comment. Why should I do something like that? To rediscover the important moments of idling, for example. And generally for a more mindful use of my attention. A report about the escape from the rabbit hole of the attention industry.
How do people cope with change? In Virginia Satir’s Change Model, the phase of chaos and uncertainty is crucial. This is where the seed for the new and better status quo lies, provided that it is possible to experiment with the new and integrate it profitably on the basis of a feeling of psychological safety. This can be well observed at the moment with the topic of the home office.
Trust is the foundation of modern leadership. Voluntarily and with all our heart we only follow whom we trust. Frances Frei and Anne Morriss describe three drivers for trust: logic, authenticity and empathy.
The joint fight against an existential threat is able to weld people together in an organization. The prerequisite for this is a climate of psychological safety and leadership with purpose and trust instead of command and control.
Trust and cooperation emerge in a climate of psychological safety. Where, conversely, competition and fear have been the predominant themes, strong unity cannot be expected in a crisis.
In which environment do people flourish and what makes them wither? And what essential categories are there, anyway, to influence this process. Where can leadership exert its influence? The PERMA model by psychologist Martin Seligman offers some very good answers.
Remote work and leadership at a distance is based on purpose and trust. Where these are missing, the corona crisis becomes a crisis of purpose and trust. One can learn from this — or reboot the previous operating system of the organization as quickly as possible.
With the first loosening of the exit restrictions, in many offices the ramp-up back to the pre-Corona cult of presence begins, because real work can only be done in the office and only under supervision.
Is this art, or does it need clearing away? The crisis is leading to consolidation in many places. Short-term earnings today are inevitably gaining the upper hand over speculative ideas for the day after tomorrow. The art of ambidexterity, however, cannot be cleared away for this very reason! Diversity and dissent are especially important now to find the right balance.
The crisis is accelerating digitalization. Distributed collaboration from home rather than together in an open-plan office is suddenly the standard. But how does leadership at a distance succeed? Some incitements to reconsider from the Manifesto for Human(e) Leadership.
Now that so many people are working at home, the question arises how to work together well remotely. Spatially distributed collaboration does not only happen through video conferencing, but also and primarily requires written and asynchronous communication.
Do fish have to climb trees? Of course not! So why are employees regularly asked to work on their weaknesses? It would make more sense for everyone to accept weaknesses, make them irrelevant through appropriate organization and thus deliberately make strengths productive.
Leadership begins with self-leadership. Only those who are self-sufficient instead of emulating others or an ideal can develop the potential of the people entrusted to them and awaken hope in them.
Personalized responsibility in the form of a “single wringable neck” is the means of choice when it comes to reliably shaping cooperation in organizations. With each such role, however, the level of organized irresponsibility increases.
Good leadership requires integrity more than charisma. Integrity creates a climate of safety in which people can thrive, while charisma often leads to complacency and arrogance and keeps people small and dependent.
Leadership takes place in and through relationships — leadership is relationship. We determine whether these are filled with fear or with equal dignity, the counter-proposal to the authoritarian education of the Danish family therapist Jesper Juul, which can very well be transferred to other leadership relationships.
Unused human potential is often referred to as the eighth type of waste in Lean Management. And rightly so, because it is the creativity of “ordinary” workers that enables the continuous improvement and elimination of the classical seven types of waste.
This is the title of a central chapter in Bodo Janssen’s new book “Kraftquelle Tradition. Benediktinische Lebenskunst für heute” (Amazon Affiliate-Link). Companies are more than just places of value…
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