Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Echte Leader schauen nicht in Führungsbücher, sondern in die Augen ihrer Mitarbeiter

Echte Leader schauen nicht in Führungsbücher, sondern in die Augen ihrer Mitarbeiter

The HR Case Studies editorial staff liked the quotation so much that they decided to write a blog about it!

In English this roughly translates as "A real leader doesn't look in leadership books, but into the eyes of his employees"

By well-timed coincidence this also reflects the view of a new report by the Work Foundation which suggests that the best way for leaders to achieve outstanding performance is by following a ‘highly people-centred approach’ and to focus on stretching and enabling their staff so they can excel.

Admittedly, Management Today (who have just reported on the Work Foundation's findings) are rather sceptical, but the study is still worth a glance. (Ocular pun number one!)

The Work Foundation’s latest report is based on a two-year qualitative study of about 260 people at six big UK companies, including Tesco and Unilever about what they thought of their leaders, and leadership more generally. The conclusion was that those considered ‘outstanding’ rather than merely ‘good’ leaders had certain things in common.

Rather than focusing on tasks, they look to understand people and their motives
They develop people through challenge and support, not training and advice
They’re self-confident without being arrogant.
They worry as much about the mood and behaviour of their people as their organisational objectives
Sadly, Management Today is not convinced that this study provides any objective evidence for a direct link between a people-centred approach and better corporate performance. "As far as we can see, it just proves that leaders who focus on people are more popular with their people" protests the eminent journal.

But the Germans certainly seem to agree!

Focus on people not targets, managers told

  • What do you think?


  1. Cracking last para in the MT article. Maybe they should declare their own political leanings too.

    I think the challenge here is to decide whether the shared characteristics of outstanding leaders are just that - shared characterisitcs - or whether they are attributes/behaviours that can be taught, trained, beaten into people at some point. Nature vs nurture. You've got it or you don't.

    The more I look at leadership the more I am convinced that its Nature and not Nurture.

    What stuns me still is that succession planning still seems to be based on functional rather than emotional success - IQ trumps EQ.

  2. Mikey:

    Thanks for the post. Yes, MT do rather declare their political leanings, don't they!

  3. More politically motivated garbage from MT! Interesting report but it doesnt say anything more than Jim Collins has already said. And of course he was spot on. This is all about level 5 leaders. And level 5 leaders do deliver - his book is a robust enough data set to prove that.

    But alas, all the traditional, non believer management and leader types who have ZERO EQ (Spot on Mikey!) trot out the same old crap about metrics and proof every time. And you know what? I'm sick of it! It's time for a change - the world is full of lousy, overblown leaders who couldn't relate to a paper bag, let alone a real life employee who's hard work, incidentally, has been the key to the companies success.