What really Matters

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Leadership in the Twenty-first century means leading under intense conditions; today’s markets and people are different than their counterparts of 20 years ago. Managers and employees are faced with new challenges, have other goals and interests, live in another environment, and they define themselves and their work differently than the generation before them did. Before getting to the topic of leading, I would first like to briefly outline the most important basic social and economic conditions. This can of course be nothing more than a general outline, as, beyond its increasing complexity and acceleration, the Twenty-first century is especially characterized by one trend: change.

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Why another book on leadership? For many years now, if not decades, books concerning leadership have all put forth reasons why further books on leadership are necessary, from the point of view of the respective authors. Everything seems in fact to have already been thought, said and written. Indeed, from Sunzun and Macchiavelli, to Drucker and Mintzberg, to Malik and Sprenger: we can no longer count the volumes that fill the libraries.
Why not stop here, simply write my book by referring to the available literature?
From my point of view, despite the abundance of information, the available literature lacks compact, applicable knowledge on this vitally important aspect of business management: “leadership.” Apparently, there is no lack of ideas and concepts, but a lack of implementation, application and action–especially for the “users,” the executives. We are giants in terms of information but dwarves in terms of implementation. Leadership seems to be as bad and as problematic as it ever was. The number of complaints about bad managers and discouraged employees is increasing. According to the latest surveys, only one out of ten employees is actually loyal to his or her employer. Scores
of executives attend seminars in order to learn the essence of good leadership.
However, in daily business practice everything remains the same. Leadership is not only about listening and understanding; it is more about trial and error and implementation. I have the impression that nowadays the cooperative leadership style– having been popular for many years–is still not quite working, but beyond that, the
advantages of the authoritarian leadership style are no longer working.

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