Category: Leadership

He Who Says A Does Not Have to Say B

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.

The Mechanisms of Fear

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.

The Art of Getting the Right Things Done

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.

On the Cognitive Dissonance of Modern Leadership in Traditional Organizations

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.

Three Inspiring Stories on New Leadership

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.

Personal Responsibility Instead of Obedience

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.

Creatures of Habit

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.

On Top of Mount Stupid

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.

Digital Decluttering — Get Out of the Rabbit Hole

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.

Caution. Future.

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. 

Leading with Trust

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. 

Leadership Creates Safety

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.

The Five Pillars of Well-Being

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.

Purpose and Trust in Crisis

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.

Setting the Right Course in Times of Crisis

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. 

Video Conferencing Is Not a Solution Either

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.

Boy Scouts and Coffee Kitchen Officers

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. 

Integrity Over Charisma

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 is Relationship

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.

The Eighth Type of Waste

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.

The Crux of Meetings

Just like T., the pro­tag­o­nist in last week’s frag­ment of my nov­el “On the Handrail into the Deci­­sion-Mak­ing Cir­cle”, many peo­ple are con­front­ed with the same sit­u­a­tion several…

Complex or Complicated?

The naive and intu­itive use of lan­guage some­times mix­es and over­lays things that should be clear­ly dis­tin­guished. Pop­u­lar among edi­tors are, for exam­ple, the terms appar­ent­ly and seemingly.…

Man as Perpetually Wanting Animal

Success­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion in the age of knowl­edge work, espe­cial­ly in agile organ­i­sa­tions with their high degree of self-organ­i­sa­­tion and self-respon­si­­bil­i­­ty, depends to a large extent on the assump­tions about…

I have a dream!

The yearn­ing for a new and bet­ter form of respect­ful and there­by prof­itable coop­er­a­tion between peo­ple is greater than ever. Indus­tri­al­iza­tion and Tay­lorism have trans­formed humans into resources. Initially…