The required profile of executives has changed fundamentally over time. In addition to the increased complexity and uncertainty, whose impact on everyday work is difficult to measure, especially stress and time constraints limit the performance of executives directly: calendars are filling up quickly, day-to-day processes can hardly be planned and various communication channels are barely controllable with their flood of information.
Nevertheless, executives are expected to change their focus permanently. They should always make decisions quickly and competently and be available to customers, colleagues and employees as reliable contact persons. Consequently, managers rarely pay full attention to strategic tasks, do not systematically use individual central resources such as time, know-how and creativity, and do not exhaust their own or organizational potential.
However, it is not just the frameworks described that complicate the work of leaders, but also the way social interaction is demanded by leaders, both inside and outside. In particular, the ability to understand and shape organizations as social systems has gained in importance. Many of these systems have changed fundamentally through the gradual dissolution of traditional hierarchies, the abandonment of order-and-command structures and the development of innovative ways of living and working, and are no longer as trivial as they used to be. Employees, customers as well as colleagues are questioning this more than ever, they are scrutinizing, they doubt, they distrust and they are not satisfied.
In addition, more and more employees want to be increasingly involved, want to be seen and express themselves. The resulting complex social systems are barely controllable with a long-standing understanding of leadership, and are presenting managers with completely new challenges.
Organizational and social challenges challenge executives with an impressive range of behaviors: depending on the circumstances, they have to make decisions, provide expertise, weigh their interests, give direction, meet expectations, and build trust, under tremendous time pressure and complexity. In addition, they are expected to endure doubts, show courage, deal with anger, put up with perseverance and deal with uncertainty. An executive should not only be a mere supervisor, role model and responsible person, but also a sparring partner, coach and founder.
For a successful leadership, it is very obvious that a central key qualification can be deduced from this: the ability to achieve goal-oriented variability in leadership behavior. This variability gives executives the opportunity to adapt, align and position themselves within unstable realities and ever-changing contexts.
The market for executive development offers a variety of trainings designed to better prepare executives for dealing with the challenges of everyday work. Usually, these training sessions provide participants with innovative knowledge as well as provide them with solution templates, and behavioral instructions. However, this procedure has decisive disadvantages: the mediated concepts and models usually work - if at all - only for a short time and strongly depend on context. Learned behavioral sketches can only be used in certain standard situations and are thus quite inflexible.
Furthermore, many executives, even after a large number of training sessions, still lack the fundamental ability to put the learned knowledge into action and then anchor it permanently within their behavioral repertoire. Thus, it becomes clear: executives are less concerned with a knowledge problem, but rather with a problem of action, which must be solved.