How to handle toxic Leaders

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The Digitisation  or Digital Disruption (What exactly does that mean now?) requires a rethinking of management structures. New ideas need creativity. And in order to do this, employees must be given more of them. But that also means letting go and turning away from micromanagement. For many executives, this means a change, and some of them will fail.

How to handle “toxic” Leaders

On Twitter I once asked: How should you deal with toxic executives: The micromanaging choleric man who spreads fear and terror among his co-workers. The answer I received from different quarters was clear: Disposal. But could this the right solution?

With the same implicitness as NewWork and trust is propagated, I was made clear to me: Out with such people. However, most of these executives have not earned their position because they have a bad management style, but nevertheless. This means that these people have qualifications. In addition, there is the empathy paradox: the focus is on skills that have been conditioned away in the hierarchies for years. Even if the management style is to be criticized, a new way of thinking also requires new solutions.

If I want to build a new culture of trust, a bad start is to catapult out people, who have been doing a job for years: Then don’t I lead the claim ad absurdum? Trust cannot be earned by a brutal start.

First, I need to identify these toxic executives. There are various possibilities for this (employee surveys, fluctuation measurements, etc.), but often it is enough to stay in the coffee or smoking area.

The following is the interview with the toxic leader: How can I use the human being, meaningfully and without snubbing him/her: There are solutions, often in the staff area. This is something to remember: Just because there is a lack of leadership, these people almost always have excellent skills that should be used. “Disposal” is only one last option….. which should have taken place even before the organisation had been converted and transistioned.

A credible reorganization of an organizational structure is only possible if you take all, really all, employees with you. And no one should be left behind.

Global Female Leaders 2018 – the programme for 2018

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The Event

It is our great pleasure to draw your attention to the upcoming 5th annual Global Female Leaders summit, the premier economic forum for female executives on 3rd – 5th June 2018 at the very exquisite landmark Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin, Germany. At the same time, as cooperation partner of Global Female Leaders we are delighted to cordially invite you to join us and be part of this invaluable network and cutting-edge platform impacting the future.



Under the motto “The Values of Leadership in Times of Transformation, Disruption and Artificial Intelligence” they will once again gather a host of over 250 forward-thinking women across all industries and continents. This summit provides a global platform carefully designed to challenge the status quo and address the most important topics and challenges today’s business and societies are facing.

Here an example of the 2017 summit: “The Crisis of Globalisation | Executive Panel Discussion | Global Female Leaders 2017

On Sunday 3rd June 2018 in the afternoon, start your unique summit experience by joining the pre-event programme featuring ice-breaking sessions, followed by our traditional pre-event cocktail reception at the exclusive China Club Berlin – this time with a keynote by the internationally highly acclaimed Afghan entrepreneur and business woman,  Roya Mahboob. Other Speaker are from BMW, Jones Lang LaSalle, Unilever or The whole program is still published. Some of them:

    • The User-In-The-Loop? On our Interaction with Autonomous Agents with Prof Dr Enkelejda Kasneci
    • Boost Your Creativity – Essential Human Skills in the Age of AI and Machine Learning with Kyung H. Yoon

A whole list is available at the homepage of the global leaders.


Entry and billets

A small continent of cheapened cars are available by contact  You can book  although your ticket about the side of the global female leaders.

Top Management: Be not afraid using Social Media

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Managers are part of the employer brand

Social media is everywhere and on everyone’s lips. However, top management executives in Germany are restrained: only a few can be found, and if so, the profiles are orphaned.

Often the argument is:”I don’t have time for that“. However, top management is the flagship of the employer and the brand that results from it.


When top executives are on the move in social networks, however, neither orphaned nor agency-managed profiles should be used. Interaction with other users increases on the one hand the credibility of the person behind the big name and thus gives a sympathetic aura. As a pleasant side effect, it also helps to perceive not only the pre-fabricated opinion of the management level below, but also the moods from the base. This basis is decisive for the well-being of the company. Anyone who has experienced the panic of a divisional manager when he has to face the board knows how many rounds the PowerPoints fly through until they are finally presented.

The easiest way to position oneself as a real person you can ask questions about is to interact with yourself. Many ways are possible, in the b2b context a start with LinkedIn could be a way. For companies, which are strong in consumer products, a start with Facebook or Instagram is although a great idea.

It works!

I do not want to give any negative examples: Unfortunately, these can be found too quickly. But authenticity can be achieved with relatively little effort (and without any agency at all): Just be there, try yourself out. One positive example for me is Janina Kugel from Siemens. This shows activities and interacts, also personally, with employees or interested parties. This will make you immediately seem likeable. But also Dieter Zetsche from Daimler, who recently pointed out the use of LinkedIn:

Zetsche auf LinkedIn

He is a so-called “influencer” on LinkedIn and regularly publishes articles there. In the interactions one can see that he is quite open to the opinions of his readers. With his carpool recruiting, he also shows that he is prepared to question the tried and tested and to commit himself to new ideas:

The Global Female Leaders 2018

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We are proud to be Partner of the next year Global Female Leaders in June 2018. Especially in Germany, the gender pay gap is Reality and so, Networking of Global Female Leaders is a must have for the future. It is this year in Germany.

Global Femal Leaders 2018

The global female Leaders 2018

Global Female Leaders Summit 2018 – an international economic summit for women – will take place for the 5th time from the 3rd till 5th of June, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

The intention for this international economic summit for women was to establish a global network of high-ranked female executives and thus to provide a platform for women to share a variety of thoughts, perspectives and solutions – we establish the “Davos for women“.

And we are on the right path; more than 250 high-profile women from the business world, and more than 60 internationally renowned speakers were present this year and had an inspiring dialogue. The dynamic developments of globalisation, the effects of digitalisation, the incredible possibilities of artificial intelligence, the working worlds and our values ​​in leadership are topics which be our central challenge over the next few years. At our summit, we learn not only from each other as people working in the economy, but also about geopolitical risks. The motto of the 5th summit is: “The Values ​​of Leadership in Times of Transformation, Disruption and Artificial Intelligence”.

To learn more about our summit and to get some impressions from previous events please visit our webpage:

Some of our high-class speakers in the past were: Cherie Blair, CBE, QC, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Martina Hund-Mejean, CFO, MasterCard, USA, Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland, former First Vice President of the European, Labor Politician and Member of Parliament, Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications, Government of Finland, Janet Henry, Global Chief Economist, HSBC UK, Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission, European Commissioner for Budget, Human Resources and Security.;

Do we see us, there? Registration is opened and can be reached here.

Digitisation…. let`s buy smartphones for our employees

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Recently I read a remarkable article: The drugstore chain DM, one of the biggest player in Germany,  procures 25,000 smartphones for its employees:

For a long time, the drugstore chain DM was regarded as a digital despiser. But now the company has ordered 25,000 smartphones for all store employees and is obviously serious about digitizing.

Digitisation is a decisive breakthrough in the processes: AirBnB and Uber have made it clear that they are looking to penetrate established markets and enter the process with well thought-out solutions for the end customer. This is how parts of the margins, which are nowadays usually tight, are being used up.

How to establish completely new processes? This requires creativity. These can be generated by employees. Employees continue to be the most valuable potential to leverage creative ideas.

This includes a departure from micromanagement: new ideas do not thrive by atomizing existing processes and tracking them down to the smallest possible level. Just as a proverb says that electric light was not created by the consistent further development of the candle.

One of the most important bases for this is courage for new, different decisions that do not necessarily correspond to the previous mainstream of the company. This must be exemplified by top management. This is the only way to gain the necessary trust of the employees, to try out new ones or to question business processes that have been practiced for a long time. To depict the future in the dark and to assume that courageous competitors lack social competence is of little help here.

To return to DM: The fact that the procurement of a modern tool is worth a headline shows that there is still a lot of potential. A smartphone is not a gift for an employee, it is a tool. But not every employee can deal with it immediately, but “experts” should give recommendations for action: How and when can I use it how and above all, in the interest of the customer? An easy access to central databases and / or Google is a minimum requirement here, what you might expect in the project.

Speaking of trust: Most of the 25,000 devices, that DM delivers will probably not have a SIM card. Trust in employees in 2017 should look different

Micromanagement is the dead of innovation

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Innovation and Culture

At the moment we have a fast changing world in business context. New player come and displace old companies. How fast the world in economics has changed can seen by the big five in the last 20 years.

Biggest five companies with market capitalization 2006 - 2016

You see, the biggest five companies are all in technology settled. Only five years ago it was only one. To expand in this economic environment means, finding new products or services.

Why Micromanagement is the dead of Innovation

In many companies has established a new kind of manager: The Micromanager. That is a person, who hasn’t`t any priorities and try to control all activities of their colleagues. If this person has disciplinary responsibility, he is starting to restrict all project activities on his horizon. He wants to understand all items of work und is wanting to be reportable in all concerns.

So the colleagues aren`t able, trying new things. They always work on old modes, alway be reportable and avoid responsibilities.

Who think, this is always a problem of big companies should take a look at the German Post, DHL: They started searching a producer for an electric van for delivery. No one of the German Car Producers seem to be able, to produce such a van. So they started a StartUp with an University, the RWTH in Aachen, and now you can see their own build Vans in german streets:

DHL eScooter in HamelnFor a big Company it is not so easy, being creative. But it is possible. The most important asset are the employees: They have new ideas and are creative… if the management let them. With Micromanagement and a closely corset of reportings, they will do exactly, what is expected.

In my example of the German dhl,  the problem (finding an eScooter for transport of parcels) was in the point of view: No limits, a solution must be created.

You see, such creative solutions are for big companies possible, too. But you invest in your employees and has to trust them. Controlling every step of their doing will killing all creativity. This behavior has to be lived by the Top Management. If the senior management expect all times reportings about every step in the processes, the middle management will carry on.

Trust your employees, the most of them will thank such a behavior!


Continuity in german boards –

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In the last week there was an important decision for the continuity in German boards: The participation of employees in the German Boards is compatible with European Law. so the continuity of the German composition of boards is guaranteed.


Since 1965 in Germany are the half of the members of the board sent by employees. The German Konrad Erzberger saw in this very special law a discrimination: Only German employees are able to participate this law. Employees of other countries aren`t represented with this law. With this commencement the petitioner got the wrath of the German unions: They are often financed by the fee, their members got by participating the supervisory board.

In the case of TUI the law was called: Is this participation legal with European law? The German Courts sent this case to the European Court. Since Friday, the result is published: The German Law is compatible with the European law. The experts saw this in may this year in their report, and now the European court has followed this view: It is quit right, that different countries of the European Union follow different ways for stakeholders and law for companies:

 In that context, EU law does not, in the field of representation and collective defence of the interests of workers in the management or supervisory bodies of a company established under national law, a field which, to date, has not been harmonised or even coordinated at Union level, prevent a Member State from providing that the legislation it has adopted be applicable only to workers employed by establishments located in its national territory, just as it is open to another Member State to rely on a different linking factor for the purposes of the application of its own national legislation.

The Association for German Leadership has appreciated this decision:

The cooperation with employee representatives in the supervisory boards has proved successful for the majority of specialists and managers in Germany.

explained the president Ulrich Goldschmidt. The German participation is a great advantage for the location of Germany and has proven in the past 52 years. Now the European Court has obtained  legal certainty.


We don`t need a CDO

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I`ve read a great article by Julie Teigland on LinkedIn. In her main oppinion she suggested, that a CDO would help, to getting over the digital Transformation. In my opinion, a CDO can be a first step, not a solution. I have a tweet about it with similar content:

Why we don`t need a CDO

There are some Arguments for a CDO. I think, the most important one is, that a Person in an organizational structure is responsible for all the activities, to make a Company great for the future. But can one Person load such a Job? I think, the whole Management is responsible to transform a Company for the future: If there is one, the Management is saying “This is the Job of the CDO”.

To transform the whole Company, all are responsible: Board, Senior and Middle Management. The digital Transformation is not only an IT Job: Think about uber or AirBnB: These are old Business Process, but with a new Point of View: Customer Experience. The last decades, the same processes were optimized, again and again. But to have great new ideas, the way of thinking has to Change. A new Mindset in all Management hierarchies are necessary /(German Blog by Matthias Wrede). Especially the Middle Management is trained for years, making Solutions for small Problem. Thinking in new ways has to be learned again. But this is trainable, like thinking as kids (German Blog of Easy Leadership, aka Marcus Riesterer). The next years, the culture of mistakes must be changed, too: To learn the new process Thinking will be a way of trial and error. Nice to read the Roadmap by capgemini. So courageos Leaders must take the first steps. The normally employees aren`t able to Change the way of thinking. This ways can bring new ideas for creating ways of customer satisfaction. Big Data or IoT are only Tools, to improve this, not the epic Centrum of the digital Transformation.

But I don`t want to Version contradict Julie Teigland completely: A CDO is able to drive the digital Transformation in an organizational culture and bring the Spirit of New Work to all departures. So should be “Service” not only a departure anymore, it should be the Driver for new products or ideas. Think about it: The digital transformation Needs Attention by the whole Management, not only by a CDO.

We need more couragous Leaders!

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New Technologies, the international crisis and other factors has shown: We need more leaders, less managers. But what is the difference? A short, but great Synopsis, I`ve seen:

Boss vs Leader

Courage for Leadership

We don`t have a solution for all the Problems. A new Generation of Leadership, based on Courage and Integrity, can bring all of us the solution:

1. We Need responsible Leadership

  • the ability to encourage and motivate people, employees and customers
  • to guide and coach them in good and bad times on their way to the common goal
  • to be successful jointly and have better results as a team
  • The key factors are – trust of the people in the right leadership – adjusted approaches of „right“ leadership in different situations – a responsible guideline for social responsibility.
  • other important factors are personal qualities like charisma, willpower, trustbuilding, strenghth, courage and decisiveness
  • a responsible crisis management – i.e. to be cool headed in critical situations, but with authenticity and integrity

2. We Need the leadership of tomorrow!

  • after the age of number-oriented management decision making follows the era of business culture driven leadership
  • What is competence? today: fact oriented decision maker  tomorrow: enabler and engineer of decision making processes
  • What is character? today: compliance tomorrow: personal integrity
  • What is culture? today: apply the company values tomorrow: business culture creation and formation

3. New role of the business leaders

    • Ethical behavior not only as individual, but as well as institution
    • incentivation i.e. boni longterm and related to sustainable results
    • decision making processes adjusted to ethical values (i.e. no discrimination, „Red Flags“)
    • CEO and leadership team as „role models“ demonstrate christian values
    • appreciate human capital
    • fairness for all stakeholders
    • sustainable entrepreneurship
    • show responsibility and reliability
    • open and transparent communication
    • social engagement and common good-Engagement
    • Pope-encyclica „Laudato Si“ = „our planet is our common house“


This Blogpost based on a presentation by Stephan Werhahn, board member of the German IoD.

Board agenda 2017: Stop making lists!

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Yesterday I read the Board Agenda 2017, top priorities for boards and audit committees in Europe, published by  EY [Ernst & Young]. This Publication contains eight important items for the board in 2017:

  1. Geopolitical risks: About Trump, Brexit and another political things, changing the world.
  2. Digital Transformation: Is your corporation ready for the digital transformation?
  3. European Union (EU) audit reform: This part is exciting for european boards: Is your board ready for Audit Reform?
  4. Tax risk: About the risks, paying to much taxes.
  5. Corporate compliance and culture: How developed is your corporate culture?
  6. Talent Management: Where to find new talents? Does your corporation have a good will?
  7. Corporate social responsibility:  Does your corporation meet the regulatary framework, or are you working ethical?
  8. Investor Relations: How does your corporation comunicate with its investors?

This list is great work and has all the items, I would talk about, too. But I miss one (main) Topic, which has strategic implications: The relationship between all topics!

Stop making lists!

Lists can help: They make one feel, to meet all the topics. But they can pretend a wrong safety. The items, EY has correctly identified, must be in a relationship. In this case, a visualization could look like this:

Board Agenda 2017

When we take a look at the digital transformation, it is one of the main topics, the corrporations are concerned about. To reach new goals, they need an innovating company culture, which promotes individuals. Additionally a good failure culture would be helpful. No director is able to command creativity (They can…. but it wouldn`t help). It is only possible, to build up a correlated company culture.

The tasks are making a framework for surviving the changes, coming the next years. A list point like “Digital Transformation” suggested, it would only be a release. Remember:

Digital Transformation is not a SAP Release

But there are more implications: the war for talents has already started. The companies can try, to hire them. But without the right support, the talents will not stay.

So the board has two main topics in the next years to work at: to handle the techniacally tasks (like the European Union (EU) audit Reform) and helping to transform the company in this way, that we have a culture, everybody wants to stay. And this culture must be live by the top management and not to be commanded.

German version can be found here.