Outdated leadership methods and an outdated understanding of careers prevent effective leadership in many companies – Study “Companies in Change”

May 19, 2022 | News Germany

Shaping change is a fundamental management task. As a result, companies have been working for years to improve their leadership culture. According to the study “Companies in Change” however, a comprehensive change in mentality has yet to take place. For example, a traditional image of a manager still prevails in nearly every second company. For the study, business consultancy Staufen surveyed more than 350 top executives of German companies.

Ensuring success in uncertain times is currently one of the biggest problems facing German companies. “Companies are subject to more and more aspects that need to be managed. They require quick decisions and rapid action. Managers are unable to fully oversee this on their own. What can be derived from this is a requirement for all employees to act as independently as possible and not to wait for decisions from a central authority,” says Remco Peters, Partner at Staufen AG.

“Being a good strategist and ‘lone decision maker’ is no longer enough today,” Peters continued. “Increased demands on companies’ ability to change and develop mean that the demands on leadership are rising. To achieve that, leaders need to evolve, learn new things, and certainly unlearn old things.”

However, the Staufen study shows that not only does a traditional image of manager prevail in many cases, but more than half of the companies surveyed also still use outdated management methods. For example, 58 percent of the decision-makers surveyed admitted that their company has difficulty establishing forms of leadership that support change.

Management development is often still uncharted territory

“Fostering effective leadership is neglected in many companies,” says Staufen expert Peters. “Effective leadership in a dynamic and complex environment requires leaders to have, first, an expanded role awareness and, second, role flexibility. In a hierarchical organization, managers have complete control over all decisions. And in many companies, that is still the case today.”

One in three companies suffers from a shortage of managers

According to the Staufen survey, only one-third of companies have a program for systematic management development to date. Coaching and supervision to help managers lead themselves and others effectively are still in the planning or development stages in just under half of the companies, and one-fifth have not even thought about it.

In addition to the current problems with “effective leadership,” the next problem is emerging: a shortage of managers. One third of companies have major problems filling management positions, partly as a result of neglected succession planning. For example, only 30 percent of companies said they were proactive in this area.

About the study “Companies in Change”

For the study “Companies in Change”, business consultancy Staufen surveyed a total of 363 companies in Germany. Of the companies surveyed, 68 percent come from the mechanical and plant engineering, electrical engineering, and automotive industries.

The study can be downloaded for free under the following link:

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