We live in a world full of change, uncertainty, complexity and multiple possibilities, which affects every individual in both private and professional contexts. Initiated or accelerated by the pandemic, companies are confronted with phenomena that did not exist before or not to the same extent. Volatile markets, oversupply and simultaneous shortage, globalization and return to regionalization, ever more rapid further development of technologies and, last but not least, demographic change make it almost impossible to plan in the usual way. The order of the day is rapid and constant adaptation to new circumstances. What was considered a good decision yesterday may be outdated tomorrow. This poses new challenges for managers in particular. Every day, they are called upon not only to maintain or manage the status quo, but also to shape change in line with the changing outside world, to continually adapt the organization and processes, and to keep employees well on track along the way.
This requires learning leaders who are able to adapt quickly to new situations, who use new technologies and apply them in a meaningful way, who are happy to leave their comfort zone, who find effective solutions and act efficiently. They are intrinsically motivated, actively seeking new opportunities to improve their skills and expand their knowledge.
Leadership only becomes effective, however, when decision-making powers are placed where the expertise lies and the leader shows trust and appreciation, all within the framework of clear objectives and an approachable manner to discussion.
The learning leader listens and is genuinely interested in people, their views and their abilities. This is the only way to distribute tasks well, so that strengths are utilized and weaknesses become less tangible. In addition, communication skills probably represent the most important competence of a leader. Constant as well as honest feedback and transparency give employees the feeling that they are safe and on the right track. It is the task of a leader to encourage and motivate his or her employees to accept challenges, to learn new skills and technologies, to emerge strengthened from setbacks, and to take responsibility. Self-reflection rounds off the profile of the learning leader. Constantly questioning oneself, being aware of one’s personal impact on others, seeking feedback and also taking responsibility for one’s own further development are essential.
All in all, leaders recognize the importance of continuous learning and promote a culture of learning in their companies.
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Michael Viet is CEO of the globally active PAYER Group. In addition to volunteering on the board of WdF since 2012, he shares his knowledge and accumulated experience through the mentoring program and supports young leaders on their journey.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
The PAYER Group was founded in Styria in 1946 and today has three additional production sites in Europe and Asia. Within the Group, products are developed and manufactured for leading global brands in the Consumer Goods and Healthcare & Medical business areas.