Homework for leaders

here are those sentences I can simply not get out of my head. "97% consider themselves to be a 'good manager'" is one of them. This finding taken from the Gallup Engagement Index Germany is the opener to a new film on cultural change in the world of work: "Die Stille Revolution/the silent revolution". The audience attending the preview reacted with laughter. Me too. But I soon started pondering about my superiors and about myself as manager: am I doing a good job? And what must I do in a (work) world characterized by VUCA, by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity?

The "Digital Age", the fourth industrial revolution, brings with it the most profound changes to the world of work since the first industrial revolution: networks are being formed based on collaboration, interdisciplinary teams and new patterns of thinking. Transformation into a knowledge-based society upends our concepts of work and is a challenge on senior staff to be on par with their personnel. And digitalization seemingly dictates haste. But I believe this is precisely where we need to take the time really needed. In addition to common sense and know-how, we above all need openness for change. We must open our minds and hearts for others and their opinions, but at first for ourselves – particularly if we want to lead. In his seminars, Benedict padre Anselm Grün comes across managers who don't know themselves, but are familiar with management tools. Padre Anselm is convinced: "Only those can lead who encounter their own soul."

Bodo Janssen looked for this encounter in a monastery after he had experienced the limitations of his accounting-and-analysis-based approach. The CEO of Upstalsboom Hotels since then has been preferring his staff to numbers: "If I have my focus on persons, the numbers will show all by themselves". His work model has a name: "New Work" put the focus on staff creativeness and personality. Traditional concepts of work, time, space and organization are reconsidered. That implicates that "they up there" share their knowledge and surrender control, and "they down there" will assume responsibility and think autonomously. It might be necessary to redefine both sides' job descriptions and both sides to do their homework. But doesn't that distinguish us as good managers?
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