Why this explanation? Leadership is one of the most frequently discussed and yet least universally defined term in science. The complexity of leadership and the integral role of human factors complicate reaching a common understanding. However, more important than a claim for universality is the contextual discussion of leadership challenges in the given situation and the ever-changing daily routine for leaders.
We have therefore developed a model which provides space for this valuable discussion. The aim is to enter into dialogue with our customers about the company relevant design, development and advancement of management performance and to discuss how leadership should be understood and implemented in the existing context, so that targets can be reached and the performance of the organisation improved.
We see leadership as an integrative function of human and system management. This function is subject to ethical influence and determined by leaders‘ self-management.
We believe that leadership can be divided into four key areas: staff leadership, system design and control (management), leadership ethics and, last but not least, the leaders‘ own self-management. These areas influence each other and generate complex challenges to be taken on by leaders. Performance in each of these four areas as well as the management of the interactions and tensions between them are crucial to leadership success. In addition, we believe that the environment of the managing system has an impact on leadership design and performance.
Employee leadership focuses on people and/or employees - both individuals and groups and teams. Leadership means influencing people as part of an interactive process so that they accomplish shared objectives efficiently and effectively in a humane way. We believe that employee leadership can be learnt and developed. We are aware that certain personal characteristics make it easier to carry out different leadership functions. For the leader, among others, questions regarding leadership style and model, communication and performance are raised and answered.
By system design and control (management) we understand the design and control of an organization regarding content, structure and processes, which enables employees to achieve the long-term objectives of the organisation in the best way possible and ensures that the organisation remains equipped for the future. This comprises the design and definition of the code of conduct and the determination of strategic objectives, products and services as well as market. All systematic management interventions (management instruments) are included here.
Leadership ethics relates to the identity of the organisation and its agents, particularly leaders. Who are we?, Where do we want to go?, What is important to us? This is where purpose emerges and culture takes shape; this is where the direction of all actions is formed. In the context of leadership, this includes designing inspiration and motivation through purpose and shared values. Critical-normative reflection on humane and fair relations between leaders and employees is essential. Aspects like power and legitimisation in a freely democratic society of responsible citizens must be examined. Leadership ethics in the context of system design and control focuses on the structure of internal and external relations as well as business ethics, relating to product-market-concepts. And, last but not least, questions are raised about the legitimate and meaningful social role of the organisation and the institutional design of the system.
The leader himself significantly shapes the context through his person and personality and is actively involved in designing his area of responsibility. Of importance is not the title or position of a leader; but the quality and quantity of his performance. The actions and behaviour of leaders make peoples‘ performance effective or ineffective. The effectiveness of leadership depends significantly on the personality and authenticity of leaders. It requires self-reflexion and the development of leadership competence and strength. How I use my authority and power as a leader and my influence? How effectively I develop and channel the team‘s potential? - These are crucial factors in the exercise of leadership responsibility.
In summary, we perceive five important components of the leadership phenomenon:
- Leadership is an on-going and dynamic process
- Leadership aims to exert influence
- Leadership emerges in groups
- Leadership sets shared objectives
- Leadership requires purpose