Management in the digital future and loss of control: How must leadership change?


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The world is changing, the digital transformation is in full swing. And with him not only technology, but also society and economy are changing. One thing is clear: The authoritarian, hierarchically organized management model with top-down decisions has become obsolete. But what happens then?

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New leadership models in demand

The networked and increasingly complex organizations demand new management models so that the companies remain future-proof and innovative.

But what should the new leadership look like? No one knows that exactly. For in the area of ​​tension between traditional, authoritarian and modern, team-oriented leadership, a vacuum is created all too quickly. For then, when companies claim to be bringing new leadership ideas, but the organization is not ready yet.

Paradigm shift necessary

A paradigm shift is urgently needed, just think of the popular buzz words demographic change or shortage of skilled workers, which have long been more than just words: especially the younger employees are getting more and more demanding today and thus are also affecting the older ones.

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They expect flexibility and security at the same time, work-life balance, flat hierarchies, participation in decision-making processes and self-reliant work that is not just a bread-and-butter job, but also one for them Sense gives. So there is no doubt that the world of work is undergoing decisive change. And with it, the culture in many companies is changing. Tomorrow's managers are well advised to adapt to this changing corporate culture and the “new” employees.

Status quo in management: more appearance than being

That there is still much to do is shown not least by this study, which fell into my hands a few years ago - and which still makes me smile today. It was conducted under 803 German executives by the international recruitment consultants LAB Lachner Aden Beyer and Company. And the study shows that people like to complain a lot. In fact, many people in management are more likely than being.

For example when it comes to economic crises. We had a few years ago, it always comes back. But then something surprising emerges: Apparently the complaints about the economic crisis that are on display in many places in the media are often just for show: The German top managers actually don't think the situation is that bad. At least that's what the results of a recent survey show.

Crisis as an opportunity?

Obviously, such a crisis seems to have less negative effects in everyday business life than the media coverage often suggests - because that's where everything always sounds particularly melodramatic:

For example, 44% of respondents describe the situation in their company as undramatic compared to public crisis reporting. 98% also recognize opportunities in the current economic crisis. Thus, 64% identify in her a meaningful occasion to rethink old business models. Per 51% see opportunities in efficiency and productivity increases as well as in the stronger selection of competitors.

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Wailing supports unpopular measures

44% cite the argumentative support for the implementation of unpopular measures as an advantage - just as many as those who describe the crisis as an opportunity for more sustainable economic activity. Incidentally, 65% of the managers surveyed earn more than EUR 100.000 a year, 15% even more than EUR 200.000.

Therefore, this finding is hardly surprising: The moaning is not only a little mendacious, For 43% beyond the appeal to the financial crisis is mainly an alibi for already planned measures such as restructuring or short-time work - and to conceal their own mistakes. Accordingly, the mood even offers many companies the opportunity to rationalize without great resistance and to reduce resources, ie jobs.

Good leadership: more effort in communication

And that's not how future leadership should look like. It is no longer enough to moan a little, simply send managers to a few seminars and carry on as before. Good leadership in the digital age means more. Above all, it is more complex in terms of communication:

Where earlier quick individual decisions were made, opinions now have to be obtained, discussed and voted on. And it requires absolute trust in employees and communication on an equal footing. But: Good leadership doesn't mean gaining the approval of the entire team for every decision - including endless discussions. That simply makes you unable to act.

Executives expect a lot

That demands of the executives a lot, to which classical company patriarchs old school would never have been ready:

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Avoidance of personal vanities, loss of control, dealing with one's own fears, the ability to involve teams and employees in decision-making processes - while at the same time managing and leading them confidently and confidently as serving leaders. Because new leadership should not be an excuse for weak decision. How can this contradiction succeed?


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  1. Erik

    Yeah, finally discovered a great blog, keep it up!

  2. Lydia Brumbach

    Nicely presented - I will soon familiarize myself a little more with the topic.

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