What leadership means
Nowadays companies are often so fixated on numbers and KPI-driven that they completely overlook the so-called "soft" factors. However, it is these soft factors that ultimately determine whether a company is successful in the long term. Because a company is more than the sum of its net assets!
Every company is based on a vision from which a business idea emerged. This describes with which customers and with which product sales should be generated and profit made. The strategy based on this in turn describes the way in which the brand wants to differentiate itself from the competition and thus expand its own competitive advantages. This includes ongoing adjustments and changes, because increasing digitalization is changing the markets and consumer behavior ever faster.
A long-term successful strategy is mainly based on soft factors. This includes motivated employees, the ability to adapt, the exchange and transfer of knowledge, the right information to be made available and the efficient use of information technology.
An open corporate culture that focuses on the employee and creates mutual trust is essential for success. Because trust is the basis for an employee to open up. Only then will he bring his full know-how and pass it on. Ultimately, the workforce is the only sustainable competitive advantage a company has - products or services are interchangeable!
It should be the goal of every company to keep knowledge in the company and to promote exchange and transfer there. Because knowledge is power. And more knowledge means being able to act better, faster and more specifically than the competition! A healthy team is always a mix of young and old, experienced and fresh.
That is why sustainable brand management in particular offers the great opportunity to build an unaffordable USP for a company and to position it uniquely. It helps to retain employees and to keep their know-how in the company. At the same time, it makes the company "sexy" for new knowledge carriers.
The way to reach the goal
Instead of tackling more and more projects with ever smaller teams, sustainability means for a company to rely more on people as a "resource" and to use them sustainably. That needs leadership. Because leadership means appreciation of employees and their know-how. And appreciation means showing genuine interest in people. That creates trust. Trust ensures cohesion, the basis of every team idea. And you're definitely better in a team than alone. Because a team complements each other because each member of the team contributes his or her personality and expertise. This creates a chain of many solid links that stick together and support each other, whether with manpower or via knowledge transfer. Knowledge transfer means that knowledge can "grow back" by being passed on to younger team members who combine it with their own know-how or use the newly gained knowledge in their own way. New ideas, concepts, strategies emerge. And that leads a company to success! Sustainable!
A manager who is a real leader knows his team because he is an operational part of it. He knows exactly the strengths and weaknesses of each individual team member. Because he's busy with his team. Because he builds a relationship with his team, with everyone. A relationship that goes beyond the professional. Because that means appreciation, from which a basis of trust arises within the team, which includes the leader as part of the whole. But it also makes it possible to identify any external influences that could influence the team in its cooperation at an early stage.
A leader appreciates the know-how of every team member and uses it correctly. Because he does not see other know-how as a threat to his person or his position, but as valuable input for the common goal. That is why he also strives to constantly expand the team's know-how by coaching and promoting his team. Also through the own example in specific projects. So that every "gear" meshes and drives the machine.
A leader involves his team in planning and processes. The employees have the opportunity to make contributions and make recommendations that give the team leader additional orientation. This strengthens the "we-feeling" and satisfaction in the team.
Satisfied employees, fully identify with their company, with the brand, the brand identity. They are satisfied, love what they do and where they do it. That is the best argument - also for new employees. Because they show their satisfaction, because they show their commitment, because they openly express their love for the company and the brand. Unadorned, but authentic.
Leadership as a mountain tour
A leader should see his job as a mountain tour in which he acts as a mountain guide. In order to be able to achieve the set goal, extensive preparation is required: the equipment must be specified, the group (his team) prepared for the tour, the suitable route worked out. It's not always uphill! Intermediate descents are just as much a part of it as changing danger spots and assessing and taking risks. Without putting the group in unnecessary danger and risking a fall.
The mountain guide always leads the way, his climbing group is geared towards him and can follow his example, how he climbs, how he uses holds in the rock, how he secures the others. He gives the direction because he knows the way. But the team also knows the way, because everyone follows a precise plan. This ensures solidarity, everyone stands up for everyone and takes care of the other. Errors are corrected by the team. And everyone can be proud of their own achievement at the summit cross!