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OPINION! Manager Frank Westmeier on Social Competence & Employer Branding: Leadership in the future must be empathic!

Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®Frank Westmeier, currently working for a Düsseldorf real estate company, has had a varied professional career. In the interview he reports how the colorful Curriculum vitae has an impact on his management style, what that for HR work and Employer Branding means and how yourself Guide must change in the future.

Frank Westmeier was among other things a hotel manager on a five star cruise ship for Hapag-Loyd, where he supervised services on the highest level while he traveled the whole world. For Siemens, he has managed the coordinating function in the regional catering division. As a key account manager for a nationwide project for Telekom and Sodexo, he has restructured, optimized and thus made a cost center a profit center for 267 locations. Currently, he is responsible for the services in the shopping center management and a hotel.

Corporate structures are changing radically - what do you think is leadership in the 21? Century?

Since in Germany, as a resource-poor country, we have to concentrate more and more on services and their specialization, it is important to recognize the markets and their needs before the customer craves for them. We already have to know what the customer will need tomorrow. That is why service concepts, but also the associated industries in which the services are to be provided, demand enormous flexibility. This can already be seen today, in which buildings are no longer built rigidly in the long term, but are constantly being rebuilt on demand. Personnel service providers or facility management train their employees according to customer requirements. As a result, executives not only need a wealth of experience - at best from a variety of industries - but also need to empower their employees to work in the right place for them, where ideally they will develop themselves and thus can add value to the company.

I'll just take myself as an example: I see myself as Executive in operations and sales. The area of ​​activity takes a back seat to me because, as the “helmsman”, I am mainly concerned with it Company and to advance and optimize their products or services. I don't see myself primarily as a renovator, but rather prepare market-driven products and service-oriented services on the shortest and most sustainable path to the customer.

However, specialization is also important for executives. I would not like to be misunderstood as an all-rounder, despite many tasks. My focus is on sales. Here I am interested most: trade, consumer goods and service services. But here I am flexible about which product it is.

What qualities should a good leadership bring?

Career, life experience, a stable personality and a great competence set serve as a basis to face new challenges openly and flexibly.

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My success as a manager is therefore based firstly on life experience and secondly on solid operational and sales skills.

What training is needed for this?

A service-oriented sales management function is, in my opinion, to be considered independent of the sector. If you know your customers and their needs, many industries are open to a multifunctional service and sales manager.

Unless you have to fall back on in-depth specialist knowledge typical of the sector, for which a specialist degree is necessary. The tools of the trade as well as the qualification as Executive For example, I have acquired it through a private technical school and practical specialist studies. In addition, I have continued to educate myself.

And what makes a good salesman?

The basis for success in sales is good knowledge of human nature. In addition to extensive product knowledge, it is important to implement attractive marketing strategies with efficient sales processes. It doesn't matter at the present time Sense Strictly separate sales and operations from one another. From experience, I see the solution in connection with Sales 4.0 in a technically broad-based manner Team, which handles both areas with an overview and is therefore optimally active for or in a company.

Service remains service no matter whether sales or operational. My ambition is to be at the customer's front of the market and to identify trends. This is where the process of sales product placement begins. In the end, it depends on the learned craftsmanship, which is flexible and meets today's requirements. To always go with the times, follow their innovations, be better still one step ahead.

Your CV actually looks a bit colorful - is this the secret of success of successful managers? And is there a common thread?

“You can only see my work, no matter where, when it is NOT done”. This principle applies to all industries that have to do with services and thus revolve around the wellbeing of people. With me, at least, there isn't a lot of secrets, but rather solid tools and a lot of experience. Above all, it helped me that I was able to gain this experience in various tasks.

For example, I have successfully implemented operational restructuring processes or adjusted outdated business processes to today's requirements, including digitization. This has sharpened my awareness of the needs of customers. Employer branding and business development can not be forgotten here as a success strategy.

How does your own CV affect your management?

I am based on my many years of experience with regard to personnel management today, that empathy is essential in this area and generally have an open ear for my employees. Team building, team leadership and, if necessary, change management play an important role. Controlled, if possible self-responsible actions by my employees has motivated them to higher achievements and thus brought the company sustainably higher results.

In principle, however, I also positively oppose the key figure-based personnel management, as long as it is not abused against the employees as a means of pressure. I consider you to be an essential control in the business context.

What are the benefits of empathic leadership for employer branding?

It is a question of presenting itself as a company more attractive through its own specific marketing concept. This alone is not enough. Executives must not only present the corporate identity to the employees, but a great deal of empathy is necessary, especially in the sensitive service sector.

The employee must be sensitized in the long term by means of his or her own perception to place the products in a forward-looking manner and thus to initiate all necessary processes. Within the framework of the employer, he / she should be able to personally engage and identify the company.

How do you manage to be teamplayer, coach and at the same time leadership?

For me there is a healthy and goal-oriented team of young professionals and "old hands" who maintain a lively exchange of experiences.

Both can learn a lot from each other. Professional experience meets contemporary influenced, modern “youngsters”.

Does age play a role in this context, especially with regard to your own age?

I do not know it myself! I know boring 30-year-old couch potatoes and fit and digitally affine fifties and sixties. A youthful and disoriented indolence is created here by an enormously energetic and life-affirming worker and Motivation outbid.

Due to the current life expectancy, 50 is now no longer a high working age! Especially since 67 is to be worked. Many examples show that more and more people want to work beyond their retirement age.

And do you see yourself more as a summiteer or couchpotato?

Good cue, just now spontaneously participated in the Düsseldorf relay marathon in terms of charity, my alert mind stimulates me, also in matters Work-Life Balance to keep the scales.

This seems to me to be an essential part of my success with increasing life experience.

What are the strengths of your work?

Through good friends, family retention and a healthy contact to me and my body -last but also only in the past years.

My life experience also provides the basis for my leadership work from my personal ups and downs.

And how exactly does your personal work-life balance look like?

At first I paid more attention to my professional tasks than to my personal goals. Later I realized that it is more important for work and private life to design and expand the path accordingly than exclusively through that Objective think.

Here is my active room for design. From this I draw today all inspiration and motivation. I am always interested in adapting my way to today's situation and to keep it as short as possible. Child rearing, loss of loved ones and unpredictable job loss have helped to rethink. Important in this context is to me that I, with today 52, by no means at the end of the journey see. I still have 15 years to the possible retirement, but would like to continue working. Especially the work path is an important stage for me, which is the most important part of the way of life alongside personal interests and relationships.

How do they manage to reconcile these opposites in today's fast-paced world?

This is not a question of time, but rather a question of inspiration and the motivation to face today's conditions and demands. Especially with regard to digitization, the fast lane is no longer enough to make progress. Rather, it is important to involve its employees actively.

A service-oriented sales management function is, in my opinion, to be considered independent of the sector. If you know your customers and their needs, many industries are open to a multifunctional service and sales manager.

How important are career changes today?

In my opinion, it is important to remain faithful to their personal and professional goals, and to accept new challenges and professional changes.

For me, the work path is a flexible matter that we, as the person walking through, ought to shape massively and sustainably with our skills and learned tools.

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