Young executives on the stony road to respect: tips for approaching bosses


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“Well, there was one ChefCoaching for you? ” a former teammate asked me brazenly when we met in front of my superiors' office. I was extremely tense and about to give him my opinion. But since I had just been promoted to manager - certainly not the best tactic.

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Henryk Lüderitz luederitzHenryk Lüderitz was among other young leaders at Vodafone and is now independent coach.

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To give up or remain firm?

The reason for my near-excitement: Said former team colleague had complained to my boss about me. But I was not aware of that in the way. How should I behave now? Giving up and letting the matter go, or going on the offensive?

Who leads must master the right balance in every situation - especially for young managers at first unaccustomed and delicate: When is it sensible to give in? In which areas, on the other hand, is authoritarian intervention more effective? Young managers are permanently in an inner conflict.

Intermediate ability and empathy

If colleagues complain to their supervisor behind the back of the executive, they lack the necessary decency and respect. If already complaints, then face to face.

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At this point, lowering and retreat would send the wrong signal. Therefore: calm but determined the conversation search.

Clear boundaries

The aim of the conversation should be to solve the problem on a professional level. Therefore, briefly and briefly ask for the professional reason for the complaint, but always remain appreciative.

In addition, it should be made clear that this approach is in no way appropriate and is not tolerated any further. Afterwards, it is up to the management to inform the supervisor about the conversation.

3 Tips for prospective executives

  1. React emphatically - as long as the complaints are brought up to you or the person responsible. Address the feelings of the person you are talking to and put yourself in their position: "I can understand that you are now disappointed or upset." Your counterpart feels understood and is more open to an objective description of the events and a constructive search for solutions.
  2. Extend your elbows when you are over or underhanded. In a short (!) Four-eyes conversation with your colleague, you should objectively clarify your point of view: You are the first point of contact for problems and issues that affect their area of ​​responsibility. Your body language and your eye contact must underline the urgency, without being threatening. If your colleague does not follow this procedure in the future, you will be with his Chef speak - you too should communicate clearly.
  3. Respond vigorously when complaints or criticism are made publicly. If you are criticized in a meeting that is unachievable or overdated, be courteous, but definitely, to discuss the topic at a different time. Hot discussions do not belong to the public!

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  1. Michele Allain

    Great help for young leaders, thanks for this post!

  2. Angela

    Young executives will soon be dead. With what goes wrong in Germany, it is no wonder that more and more highly qualified people are leaving.

  3. 8 tips on how to get respect & recognition: Please be kind! | PROFESSIONAL PICTURES

    [...] Balancing the line is not easy: Our author Henryk Lüderitz describes in his contribution Young Managers on the Stony Path to Respect from his own experience how difficult it is, especially for prospective bosses, to gain the respect of their [...]

  4. Simone Janson

    Hello Pia, thanks for the hint. Above all, authentic guidance should be my opinion.

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