Neue Unternehmenskultur

Management Approaches as a Central Lever in Company Development //

A strong, united management team is the most important prerequisite for high quality in a company. If managers send out divergent signals, or if weak management is tolerated, it will have a negative impact on the performance of individual units and the entire organization.

For this reason, a manager’s constant challenge is to identify the developments within the management team and to influence the management approach of all leaders within the company. Managers must provide their team with a strategic direction and develop an organizational context, but they must also be able to exert direct influence and send their own strong signals.

Volker Glock

“Nothing shapes human experiences and conduct within an organization as strongly as relationships and interactions with managers.”

Volker Glock

To put it in no uncertain terms: Strategic planning and organizational regulations are important; they shape the work environment that allows people to unlock their potential. However, managers are only human. Their conduct triggers the emotions responsible for performance. The best strategies, structures, and processes or the cleverest incentive systems will miss their mark if weak managers create a poor environment or negate people’s commitment. On the other hand, the following rule applies: Strong momentum from management can compensate or even overcompensate for organizational weaknesses or sub-optimal management systems.

Our understanding of the ‘right form of leadership’ focuses on the core of executives’ and managers’ work: working with a community of people to achieve goals and accomplish tasks.

There are at least three reasons why we believe that day-to-day leadership and management approaches are so decisive for collective fitness, high performance, and a culture of trust:

  1. Personal, direct momentum from managers shapes the work environment most strongly

    Numerous studies have shown: People’s interpersonal relationships with their supervisors have the greatest influence on their wellbeing, their enjoyment of their work, and their daily conduct. To put it more clearly (and more negatively): Nothing frustrates people – or undermines their enjoyment of their work – more than hostile, distrustful, or unfair conduct on the part of managers.

  2. Managers serve as role models – for better or for worse

    Community members pay particularly close attention to managers. People generally react badly to demands from supervisors when the supervisors seem unwilling to meet those same demands themselves. For this reason, even the best-designed community management program will fail if managers who do not serve as role models in terms of conduct or performance are tolerated within a company.

  3. The quality of the management team is the most influential factor

    Managers must serve as role models in all areas and at all levels. Let’s be clear on this: Most people work at the base of the company, be it in production, sales, service, or a functional unit. Their direct supervisors – the first-line managers – provide the most important management momentum in day-to-day business as team leaders, service managers, or department heads.

Our Beliefs //

People, not processes, are what drive organizations

Managers’ actions characterize the prevailing mood and the desire to succeed; they convey confidence and inspire trust.

Leadership and management are two parts of a whole

Management activities always simultaneously trigger leadership impulses. And every action by management influences the effectiveness of the value chain.

It is not possible to be a ‘non-leader’

‘Invisible’ managers neglect their actual leadership responsibilities. They are not really present within their respective units, which makes them incapable of providing the necessary momentum in daily business.

Management is a daily task

Formal performance reviews are not the decisive factor: everyday performance is. What’s important is what people see and experience every day, what inspires them or annoys them, what makes them proud, or what hampers their commitment.

Managers are responsible for fitness and success

A manager can be charismatic or dull, a visionary or a number-cruncher, authoritarian or participatory. The important thing is for managers to be able to move things forward and reach their goals.

Management is always hierarchical

Managers who are responsible for the success of their units need a suitable degree of authority and a noticeable willingness to create.

In the end, it comes down to having the right people for the job

Since leadership skills can only be cultivated to a limited extent, recruitment is more important than development initiatives. For this reason, the choice of a manager must be made carefully.

Here’s how we help reorient a management team //

With clear conceptual ideas, valuable (IT-aided) tools, and individual instructions, we support managers in the goal-oriented development of their management approaches.

Behavior-oriented leadership roles are the heart of our management approach. We specifically align them with the organizational context and custom-tailor them to a company’s needs.

of the BBH
  • What approach to leadership is expected from managers and supported by the company?

  • What are the demands and patterns of behavior that characterize the specific management position?

  • How should the role be filled in terms of the strategy pursued and the applicable organizational logic?

Roles are developed in direct cooperation with the managers and their interaction partners. During this early-stage process, we generate a new awareness of the manager’s day-to-day work.

We ensure that the specific actions to be taken as part of these individual roles are enshrined for the long term thanks to carefully designed bilateral management processes: During management dialogs, management roles are fine-tuned and provided with lasting support thanks to an intelligent, highly efficient IT solution.

Learn more about our approach in our example project

Study: Managers must be strong-willed community builders //

Our large-scale study clearly shows: Authentic people with integrity who have the necessary expertise and interpersonal skills already bring a number of the important prerequisites for success to the table. Integrity, expertise, and interpersonal skills are necessary attributes, but they are not sufficient on their own.

People who meet these criteria can certainly pass themselves off as first-rate experts. However, the question remains as to whether these criteria are enough to lead a community of people: be it a small team, a department, a division, a whole unit, or an entire corporation.

Managers must provide clear, consistent, and defining momentum in the context of the community’s day-to-day business. Only when managers are capable of winning people over for shared goals and values and binding them together as a team every day have they proven that they have what it takes to lead. Managing an organizational unit in a targeted, deliberate manner requires a strong will to lead, create, and succeed.

The essence of management

This will is at the core of what makes a true leader. If it is lacking, a manager can be the world’s most qualified expert, excellent moderator, or team player, but he or she will never be able to successfully lead a team. Leadership requires energy, motivation, confidence, trust in one’s own success, and the willingness to consistently work constructively with other people: and not just at uplifting moments, when there are successes to be celebrated and laurels to be distributed. These traits are particularly important in uncomfortable situations requiring decisions and actions that might provoke conflict and discontent.

Imagine a highly qualified soccer expert who can neither motivate nor discipline his players. He might make an excellent instructor at a physical education college, but he will never even be capable of training a team of students into top form.

Pure will simply isn’t enough. It must be part of an upstanding, authentic identity that also includes sufficient expertise and interpersonal skills. In the long term, a team will never accept a trainer who they perceive as a ‘pig’ or who has no idea about modern training methods, let alone tactics. The same applies to managers who like to bully their team members or whose decisions make employees roll their eyes.

Leading people also requires one further ingredient in addition to the will to lead: a ‘we’ mentality. Why is this so important? Managers cannot be egomaniacs. They have to serve as the focal point of strength and organization within the unit of people they lead. They need to know that their unit can only be successful if all participants cooperate closely to make the best use of their talents. Moreover, people will not be willing to act in the spirit of a ‘we’ mentality if their supervisor does not do the same.

© BBH GmbH // Strategy & Innovation