Leadership in the Spirit of the time (Zeitgeist)
Management capabilities are a set of behaviors applied by leaders in critical situations. They define the efficiency of leadership during change processes. These are the four pillars of successful management for the digital age: “Problem Solving”, “Influence”, “Staying Focused” and “Getting Results”. In my last blogs, I reviewed the outdated forms of autocratic leadership, and the leader as mirror for his/her team making self-improvement a top priority for managers in our time.
A “Problem Solving” capability is an important skill for a successful launch of a lean production system and is meant to be developed by using different lean tools and applying coaching routines. Problem solving by itself is understood as the ability to evaluate a problem or a given situation, to investigate the past and to promote innovative solutions.
To influence an individual or a complete organization is very often the decisive factor of success or failure for leaders during change. Even if all technical and theoretical arguments point in a positive direction and should lead to a striking success, there is still a high probability of failure due to the fact that people are not or have not been convinced of changing. The capability “Influence” can be described as a combination of the ability to form relationships, to communicate efficiently, to take decisions and to transmit credibility.
When we describe a person as “Focused”, we evoke the combination of skills such as stability, adaptability, cooperativeness and resilience. Focused people are able to describe their personal life goals, strength and weakness and believe in themselves.
The capability “Getting Results” can be regarded as the “Cash Out” of the three competencies mentioned above. So, in addition to the already described skills, to “Get Results”, we are looking for people who are able to look after the details, to structure and plan their work packages and are keen to fulfill given targets in a timely manner.
The management personality
The previous described four management capabilities define a certain kind of personality we are looking for. Nevertheless, it is much more complex to describe the desired personality in its totality, which finally defines the character of a person.
A character gets defined over a long time and incorporates experiences of life including childhood, stories told and believed in life, national cultural elements and values. Most of the time all that together shapes the root cause of different points of view, simply called paradigms.
Due to the fact, that our brain is organized hierarchically, and paradigms are coming from the deepest layers of the brain, they are not only generating thoughts, they even drive the way we think and the way we act.
The task is now to reach down to the paradigms to make change happen. Past experience and success based on specific thought and behavior pattern are often individual, gritted and not focused what becomes a challenge.
Thus, one needs to manage people by a clear vision, Socratic questioning, fixed routines and procedures. As brain science claims, the more a mental process is used, the stronger it becomes.
Out of this, a culture change can grow:
1) The more we think a given idea, the more it shapes our environment
2) The more it shapes our environment, the more actions are consistent
3) The more actions are consistent, the more it becomes our habit
4) Our habits shape our behavior patterns
5) Our behavior patterns engraves our culture
Sharing a Common Vision
While for Aristotle the physical world was ultimately real, for Plato, it was the world of ideas and we as human beings are able to do incredible things due to given ideas based on a common vision.
If it comes to convey a vision and finally concrete goals on a daily basis, a closed circle communication concept to send information and receive feedback in real time is required.
This brings us to the Leadership styles X-Y-Z, which I will discuss in detail in my next blog.
Feel free to share your ideas on management capabilities! What does it take to change a culture? What kind of leadership do you envision for digitalization and the change processes involved. I’d like to read your comments!