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Interview with Ingo Kallenbach about leadership development

Leadership development: Thinking holistically  and shaping sustainability

Management development is one of the most important areas of strategic personnel development. The targeted promotion of the potential of executives is also a core element in Reflect's portfolio. From an interview with Managing Director Ingo Kallenbach, the Reflect editorial team has compiled some key aspects on the subject of managers and the design of sustainable development programs for you:

What do you mean by leadership development?

"Leadership development means that executives are further developed according to their potential, strategy and future image of the company and their role in the company. On the one hand, managers should be able to experience individual development, i. e. they should be able to develop their personality through a personal maturation process. Secondly, managers should know what attitude to adopt - in which mindset they should act - in order to get the company where it wants to go. They must be aware of their own role and of themselves. A holistic development program is therefore so important for a healthy corporate culture, because managers have a significant impact on the relationships, atmosphere and culture of an organization. They are a very important lever, as they strongly influence the values and behaviour of employees."

Which competencies and potentials distinguish good leadership?

"The function of leadership has really changed. As our world has become more agile, dynamic and volatile, it is no longer a matter of one standing at the top of the pyramid and saying where it is going. Leadership today is more about giving others freedom to develop their individual potential. This means that the work context must be designed in such a way that the goals of the organisation are achieved by allowing employees to make the best possible use of their actual potential.

Secondly, good leadership requires an awareness of how different factors interact within an organization. For example, what influence processes and structures have and how to shape a healthy culture. The competence that one needs today is to have the interaction of these different factors in mind and to be able to recognize which consequences follow from one's own behaviour.

And thirdly, health plays a very central role:"Leadership means first and foremost to lead oneself, i. e. if I am not able to lead myself, how do I want to lead others? I have to have a healthy relationship with myself so that I can work well for a long time. As a manager, you should be a role model for your employees. Above all, it is important that I am able to keep my employees healthy by recognizing who needs what and where it is stuck. Then it's possible, on the one hand, to achieve extraordinary performance and, on the other hand, to make sure that no one is too stressed or bored."

How can management development programs be designed effectively and sustainably?

"In the preliminary phase, one should work and analyse very carefully: What do our managers actually need? You can also ask yourself the questions: What is our expectation of the program? What attitude and behaviour do we want to see among our managers? Who do we really want as leaders? It is a good idea to work out this goal in detail and then implement it within the framework of the programme. It should be clear to everyone that when you are with us as a manager, this brings with it the following expectations. In many companies, on the other hand, I experience that it remains relatively unclear what is actually intended. The clearer that is, the better.
Furthermore, the programme should be designed in such a way that - we are talking here about the 3E model: experience, exposure and education - managers can learn the most from practical experience. Most of all by coaching or mentoring someone else. And only in third place through training. Based on this model, I would build the development programs from a design point of view. This means that the target image is precisely defined beforehand, in the sense of: What must people be able to do and what attitude do we want? Afterwards, I would consider how we can build a leadership development program in such a way that as much as possible can be done on the basis of real experience. And thirdly, the training courses should always be individually designed so that they also fit the customer. The intention of the programs should be that managers there do not learn things off-the-shelf, but are confronted with problems that are tailored precisely to the challenges of the organisation. Often only very short format trainings are carried out, which can be good, but I think that the development programs should be extended over a longer period of time. In this context, the main objective was to network the various instruments (personnel and management development - editorial note) with each other. I often experience that these run parallel to each other in an organisation. In my experience, all these activities work especially well when I know there's a learning guide, a kind of coach who really cares about my development over several years."

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What distinguishes Reflect's approach to
leadership development from other concepts?

"The advantage for us is that we offer a very holistic concept with the healthy organisation (...). In this context, we can break down the overall concept to different levels, e. g: What does this mean for the role of the manager? Or: What role does leadership play in building an organization so that it is economically successful and healthy? Accordingly, we put together the desired goal from the different components, as in a puzzle. This starts with the use of suitable analysis and diagnostic tools, through targeted development measures to future scenarios, all of which can be anchored in a holistic concept. What this means for the customer is that we don't start with one aspect to find out a year later that parts of it don't fit the rest and then have to be rebuilt. Instead, we start at one point and have an overall picture in mind, which we can then develop and build up step by step together with the customer."

(editorial implementation: Corinna Brucker)

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