Wilfried E. Mach: It’s a question of effective leadership

In order to give a successful future to companies, organisations and the people in them, we need effective leadership through leadership development. Effective leadership can be learned, effective leadership skills can be developed. 

“The basic task of leadership is to be interested in peo­ple, to help them to develop to their maximum performance potential and to encourage them to perhaps aspire to something higher than even they themselves hold to be possible. Leadership and genuine concern for people belong together”, says professor of manage­ment­­ Hans H. Hinterhuber from Innsbruck.

Imagine the skills shortage becoming more notice­able, its effects imposing themselves. The bottlenecks lead to an additional load on people who are already carrying too much of a burden. Downtime periods are already nothing unusual at present. What does the situation look like for the management of companies, management of peo­­ple and fellow staff, for the management of processes in companies and organisations?

Imagine advertising three management positions, all very lucrative and a real opportunity for professional develop­­ment. No person answers: no one is currently interested in this position. There is a lack of managers who are will­­ing to take responsibility, who are confident to take up leadership positions. A look into the future shows that we are and will be operating more and more in a leadership vac­uum, and this affects all businesses, organisations and institutions. If the leadership shortage in­­cludes a leadership vacuum, then many people will be drawn into leadership positions who would under normal circum­­stances not voluntarily go into these positions. Is this desired? Can this be allowed? Where does this situation take us?

What is leadership? “If you want to build a ship, do not summon people together to collect wood, distribute tasks and divide up work, but rather confer to them the longing for the great wide sea”. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944), French aviator and author.

Leadership is: the willingness and ability to lead oneself, or one’s staff or other people, or to develop the pre­­par­­edness and capacity therein needed, to bring visions, ideas, objectives and tasks to fruition and/or to allow them to be realised. Leading involves: facilitating devel­­opment and designing success. The basis for successful leadership is healthy self-confidence and such trust in your fellow citizens that the tasks created will be carried out. Leadership begins with responsibility for oneself.

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The 3 pillars of effective leadership, when the role, the position, the competence required for it, responsibilities and tasks are clearly defined:

• to lead oneself
• to allow oneself to be led
• to lead others

Field of learning: effective leadership. For all people who are in leadership positions or want to get there, adequate training aimed at producing a professional attitude as well as a professional ap­­proach should be the solid foundation. Training in the necessary fields of expertise for these future lead­­ers is necessary.

In his publication “Good to Great”, Jim Collins re­ferred to Level 5 Leader­ship, five levels of leadership competence, as being a “surprising discovery”.

Level 5: Business leaders, through a paradoxical blend of personal hu­­mility and professional en­­force­ment, ensure sustainable ex­cellence.

Level 4: An effective manager ensures commit­­ment and con­­sistent implementation of a clear compelling vision; stimulates higher performance standards.

Level 3: A competent manager organises people and resources for the effective and efficient implemen­­­­tation of specific targets.

Level 2: A team member contributes his or her individual skills to the success of group objectives and works effectively with others in a group.

Level 1: The gifted individual provides productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills and good work habits.

Every company and every organisation is given the challenge to develop its own curriculum for the training of effective leaders and to implement it close to the company.

The ever-changing situations and processes are always to be taken into consideration and training adapted at any point with respect to these. Prospec­­tive managers should become familiar with the principles, the tasks and tools for effective management in theory and then transfer and establish this successfully in accordance with what happens in practice, so that employees find enjoyment in independence and commitment. For managers to be effective their managerial activities will involve constant reflection as part of an essential approach, which then entails the appropriate response.

This raises the following key questions for decision-makers: What visions are important for leadership? What are the main objectives of effective leadership? What are the main pillars of effective leadership? Are there basic principles for effective leadership? What are the main tasks of effective leadership? What are the tools of effective leadership? What is situational leadership? How can Situational Leadership be learned?

Another key question is: Do you really want a truly in­­de­­pendent group of managers, who lead independent employees and keep helping themselves and others to further develop? Get back to the concept once again. What is made possible by this? What can be achieved through this? How can one recognise that further development has actually occurred?

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Bernd Osterhammel, German speaker and author of a book published in German: “Horse Whispering for Managers – Leadership Made As Simple As Nature”, through his work with horses, developed six key in­­sights, which through implementation improve management behaviour and lead to enormous success of the company.

1. Trust and respect, the ingenious basis for ease in interaction.
2. We always have an effect; the question is what sort is it.
3. Whoever wants to get something happening with some­­one else should know what makes that
person tick.
4. Recognising and promoting talent brings us forward.
5. The greatest potential is in the here and now.
6. Fear does not have a place in the company.

Everyone is entitled to qualified management and this applies in particular to people/employees in companies and organisations, regardless of the hierarchy level.

Every leader has a right to get quality education in order to act effectively as a guide and to leave a path behind which people or staff would want to follow.

It requires appropriate concepts, imple­­menta­­tion and investment in effective leadership. The “return of invest” is guaranteed to everyone who heads along the path to shaping the future with effective leadership.

MachWilfried E. Mach
After training in mechanical engineering Wilfried E. Mach followed his vocation by training professional staff in the church ministry as a consultant in youth and adult education. Studies in theology, social pedagogy and practical company manage­­ment formed the background to experience the “turnaround” in 1989/1990: his vision of the trainer and the consultant for companies, with respect to personalities, be­­comes reality in the management of Mach’s consulting and training, a service which expanded in 2001 with the arrival of the Institute for Situational Training + Services and the licence for the method “Situational Leadership ®“.