In the course of agility, I always deal with exciting personalities. Today I would like to enter into a dialogue with Dr. Marcus Raitner. Since 2010, he has been blogging about leadership, agility and digitalization.

For 4 years now, the author has accompanied the BMW Group in its digital transformation and gave exciting lectures on the above-mentioned focal points. Soon comes his new book: The Manifesto for Human Leadership. I would like to take a closer look at this “new” type of leadership with him and have exchanged views with him on it. The results can be found below.

Manifesto for Human Leadership

The content of Marcus Raitner’s manifesto is that the focus should be on man and not just a “medium” or a “labour force”. “Ibelieve in people’s creativity, willingness to perform and motivation,”Raitner said. Similar to the agile manifesto, he has set out the following values of human leadership (book tip):

  • Development of human potential more than the use of human resources
  • Diversity and dissent more than conformity and consensus
  • Sense and trust more than instruction and control
  • Posts to networks more than positions in hierarchies
  • Leaders produce more than followers
  • Bravely exploring the new more than efficiently exploiting the familiar

Tip: The right book is available in German and English to order.

Book by Marcus Raitner on Human Leadership

Unfolding human potential

Anyone who regards organisations as machines and treats people like cogs in them must not complain about service under regulations!

Marcus Raitner

Raitner’s manifesto says leaders should teach basic values that inspire people to participate in the organisation rather than just work in it. It is therefore no longer enough as a manager to manage the human labour force, raitner says.

The task of leadership is no longer to use standardized human labour material profitably, but to create and maintain an ecosystem like a gardener in which people can develop their individual potential and use it for the purpose of the organization.

Marcus Raitner

Diversity and dissent

By this thesis Raitner does not understand how in the classical sense the equal opportunities of people of different sexes, age, origin, etc. but he means focal points such as individuality, personality structures and problem-solving behavior. He sees it as a task of leadership to consciously use and promote this diversity.

Leaders should create a culture of individuality and uniqueness of people.

Marcus Raitner

Sense and trust

Agile teams are on everyone’s mouth and must not be missing from the manifesto for human leadership. With this thesis, Raitner wants to call on executives to be more meaningful and trustrather susclaim able to do so, rather than instruction and control. He even asks himself, “Do instruction and control really have any value?”

Raitner believes that while there will still be instructions (even in the future), they will become less and less. It recommends leaders create meaningful, visionary leadership based on a culture of trust in which everyone does their best.

Contributions to networks

“Asa leader, you need more skills today than just climbing the career ladder as far as possible,”Raitner said. Although the classical hierarchy is an appropriate form of organisation, it often pushes its limits.

Raitner believes that networks in organizations can be an alternative. As Raitner says: “The idea behind this network as a second and equivalent operating system is to recruit an army of volunteers across the hierarchy. The task of this network is to constantly work on the change and improvement in small loosely linked initiatives.

What does this mean in concrete terms? In the company there is a community of motivated people who are guided by a sense. Managers give these employees guidance, meaning and a vision. Of course, the classic form of organisation continues to exist. Raitner recommends establishing these networks as a second “operating system”.

Bringing out leaders

“Unfortunately, leadership is still defined in terms such as power and subordination,” Raitner said, calling for a rethink in the leadership.

The relationship between leader and leader is usually asymmetrical: the boss has more experience, more information and more power than his employees. The employees are therefore more dependent on their boss than vice versa the boss is dependent on them.

Marcus Raitner

In order to establish a human leadership, Raitner calls for leadership on an equal footing. “Therelationship between leader and knowledge worker is more like that between conductor and musician in an orchestra,” raitner said. Raitner notes that the relationship between executives and employees has changed a lot in recent years, but the journey to leadership on an equal footing takes a little longer. The central goal of an executive should therefore be: I make each of my employees a manager!

Leadership is now only legitimate if it aims at the self-leadership of the employees entrusted to it.

Marcus Raitner

Bravely explore the new

The current age of digitalization brings with it rapid and massive changes. This is precisely the fact that the last thesis of the manifesto deals with.

In addition to profitability in the traditional business, Raitner courageously recommends exploring new opportunities and constantly testing new business models. In the manifesto, he cites examples of Kodak, Xerox, and many more that have been pushed out of business by innovations (or start-ups). He urges managers to show more courage and curiosity in day-to-day business. This is very good at the beginning of the article: it is no longer enough just to manage the business and the employees.

The art lies in the seamless integration of efficiency in the here and now and innovation for tomorrow.

Marcus Raitner

Conclusion: Leadership is an attitude!

In summary, Marcus Raitner says of his manifesto: “This human leadership is not a question of position, but a question of attitude.”

I agree with Marcus that leadership is becoming more and more important and that employees almost always quit or fail to perform fully because of the leadership or organization (which is designed by the leadership). Marcus agrees with me on this thesis: “The position of power of knowledge workers over their manager is completely different from that of the generally easily interchangeable worker to his boss in Taylorist structures.

I would like to thank Marcus for the great dialogue and the exciting content. You can also watch my other article:Dialogues with agile minds!

My tip: Take a look at Marcus Raitner’s book or his website.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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