Aug 2

Why Caring while Leading?

Stephan Polomski
Stephan Polomski is director human resources, coach and trainer

When I was returning from my summer holidays in South of France I found my seat just aside of a man around forty who was travelling with his wife and his kids. Apparently, the family was on their way home as well. I was reading the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, headline: VW takes over Porsche.

Having the newspaper on my knees and recognizing the attention of my neighbor´s eyes for the headline, I said that I was wondering, what will happen to Wendelin Wiedeking, the highly acclaimed CEO, who dragged Porsche out of its economical mud years ago?

The answer of my neighbor was, oh, he will be fired.

Yes, I said, this and a huge compensation will be the merit he may expect after delivering a unique success story and one fatal decision.

You always have to be prepared, my neighbor continued, on your rough ride to the top and on the top. Or you kill or you get killed. That is the game until your own bell rings.

He proudly told me that he was running a plant with 250 employees for a global player in the Rhine-Main-Area of Germany as managing director and according to his words more than very successfully, as a visiting board member must have feedbacked just some weeks ago.

So, it seems, business and management is a war game for you, I asked.

Not quite, he said, but you have to follow certain rules, first, you have to obey your superior, otherwise, you get eliminated, that´s the most important rule, being loyal.

Do you mean lip-service?

Sometimes it is enough not to speak up and I do not blame anybody: when you are appointed to lead, you have to make clear to everybody beneath you, that you are the one, who gives the orders. I shoot people twice in the space between their eyes and in order to be sure, that afterwards they are dead and cannot harm me anymore I shoot them once more twice in their heart. That´s the way it works, and that´s the way, how you rise and earn big money in an organization given you make to the top.

Well, I said, it seems, that you and your bosses have been successful with this leadership approach and of course, everybody has to take his own decision, how to lead and how to design the working environment and the world, he is responsible for.

In the end, I was wondering, why I was so shocked, seeing a family father and manager talking like a war lord. A killer in his mind, he could be a loving father at the same time. It depends on the role and the context. This was nothing new.

Furthermore, the manager told me about a well received BBQ party among his employees he sponsored in his plant or that he equalized all parkings in the parking lot of the company in order to show how tolerant the management is. He even confided me, after hearing what I was doing, that he had a business coach for one year who briefed him how to survive in a hostile environment. Apparently, the coach worked successfully and his coachee as well.

Once again, why was I so shocked, listening to this manager?

I was shocked, because my innermost values concerning leadership where deeply hurt and at the same time I realized the dilemma in which this man was trapped and that he was not the only one in this trap. He just replicated the behavior of his superiors and lived up to the informal rules of this organization – for, surely, nobody would define such a mind set in a written down leadership model or corporate identity. The only thing, he did, was modeling the real leading leadership culture in order to be a successful manager, delivering results, obeying and making money for the own social survival.

“Finally, the aggressive and brutal approach of the organizational system he was part of became also his own nature, justified by the geneal phrase, we all always do it like that. I have no choice.”

Finally, the aggressive and brutal approach of the organizational system he was part of became also his own nature, justified by the geneal phrase, we all always do it like that. I have no choice.

And so many managers are socialized by their organizations in that way, in a tough external environment and in a not less tough internal environment. Year by year, employee by employee.

And I was shocked, because the encounter reminded me, that I myself have to take every day anew the decision, to be caring also for myself, to be aware of my inner attitude towards my role as a leader in my company. And may be, I am in the process of forgetting it as well, that, what really matters. Every day reflecting myself, am I still on the track? Which is right one for me? Focussing on that, what I really want. Why I am here for? To make a difference by being caring for myself and others – and still surviving – by designing an organizational world, which is more that the solid rat race and battle field, even if we are forced to be rats and soldiers sometimes.

I really wonder, once again, if profit is so important, that we as managers allow ourselves to lose the ethical ground on which we were born, that we give away meaning, a human approach, for a handful dollars more, instead of taking the burden of inner discipline of really being a truly responsible part of a social community?

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 at 17:51 and is filed under Human Resources, Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Print This Post
Email This Post
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • MisterWong

Leave a comment

  1. ภายใต้เกราะแกง 1…

    Why Caring while Leading? | The Care Guys…

  2. pivit roof boot…

    Why Caring while Leading? | The Care Guys…

  3. growth hacking company…

    Why Caring while Leading? | The Care Guys…

  4. Top Startups says:

    Top Startups…

    Why Caring while Leading? | The Care Guys…

  5. commercial roofing company near me…

    Why Caring while Leading? | The Care Guys…

  6. venture cap says:

    venture cap…

    Why Caring while Leading? | The Care Guys…

  7. Trello wrote says:

    Trello wrote…

    Why Caring while Leading? | The Care Guys…