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WIW 987 Authentisches Selbstmanagement
Impulsbaustein Nr. 3:"Lesen und verstehen: Eine Konzeption von ´Führen´"
Liebe Studierende,
im Impulsbaustein Nummer 2 hatte ich Sie dazu ermutigt, ausgehend von einer
praxisorientierten-pragmatischen Sichtweise von „Selbstbewusstsein“ Ihre eigenen Stärken
und Schwächen auszuloten. Wenn Sie sich dieser Aufgabe authentisch gestellt haben,
werden Sie sicherlich gemerkt haben, dass das Erkennen und Beschreiben von Stärken und
Schwächen der eigenen Persönlichkeit gar nicht so einfach ist, wie es auf den ersten Blick
vielleicht erscheint. Somit haben Sie es sich redlich verdient, dass es im heutigen
Impulsbaustein Nummer 3 etwas moderater zugeht.
Ihre heutige Aufgabe besteht „nur“ darin, etwas zu lesen, zu verstehen und die drei kurzen
Verständnisfragen zu beantworten. Ich bitte Sie um die Lektüre eines Fachartikels, den ich
vor kurzem neu veröffentlicht habe (siehe Anhang). Das Lesen und Verstehen dieses
Artikels ist inhaltlich die Voraussetzung dafür, dass wir in den folgenden Impulsbausteinen
bei der Reflexion des Führens unseres „Selbst“ weiter voranschreiten können. Es geht um
eine Gesamtkonzeption von Führen die den weiteren Impulsbausteinen gedanklich zugrunde
gelegt wird. Der einzige „Haken“ bei der Lektüre könnte darin bestehen, dass der Artikel in
englischer Sprache verfasst ist. Aber positiv denkend gehe ich davon aus, dass dies nicht
wirklich eine Hürde darstellt.
Bitte beantworten Sie im Anschluss an Ihre Lektüre des Fachartikels folgende
Verständnisfragen (in Deutsch)!
1. Nennen und erläutern Sie die drei „Königsdisziplinen“(„supreme disciplines) des
Führens!
2. Nennen und erläutern Sie die vier Determinanten der „Authentizitäts-Kompetenz
(„authenticity“)!
3. Nennen Sie die sieben „Kardinaltugenden“ („cardinal virtues“) des Führens!
(Empfohlener Umfang: etwa vier DIN A 4 Seite)
Bis zum nächsten Mal verbleibe ich
mit herzlichen Grüßen
Ihr
Prof. Dr. Rolf Karbach
Rolf Karbach
Core Competencies and Virtues of
Transformational Leaders
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
A Conceptual Design
Im Original veröffentlicht in:
University Review Vol. 4, No. 3/2010:
A Kaleidoscope of Business Economics
and Technology. Alexander-DubcekUniversity of Trencin, Slovak Republic
CORE COMPETENCIES AND VIRTUES OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERS
-------------------A CONCEPTUAL DESIGN
by Rolf Karbach
Abstract
“What does leadership mean?” and „How does leadership work?” These two
questions have preoccupied scientific management studies for a long time. With the
present article I would like to contribute to finding answers to these questions by
creating an approach to a conceptual overall design of leadership, based on the
research area of transformational leadership. Therefore, the introductory part (part 0)
is going to deal with the key message of transformational leadership as we
understand it. The two main chapters (parts 1 and 2) contain an action-oriented
description of the supreme disciplines of transformational leadership and a
behaviour-oriented presentation of the cardinal virtues of transformational leaders.
The conclusion (part 3) will outline our approach to an overall concept of
transformational leadership and give a final overview of the latter.
Key Words
Leadership, conceptual competencies, communicative competencies, authenticity,
supreme disciplines of leadership, cardinal virtues of leadership, values
0. The key message: “To lead means to move people!“
On our quest for the secret of people-friendly and at the same time successful
leadership, it might be a good idea to start consulting a wiser counsel than
management science. We think that human history, for instance, can be a wise
instructor in regards to leadership. We can get an idea of what real leadership
means, if we look at some of the great leaders in history. John F. Kennedy, for
instance: With his bold idea of flying to the moon, Kennedy created an enthusiasm
among millions of people, which is unique in the history of the 20th century. Or Martin
Luther King: With his unforgettable words “I have a dream” he created a vision of a
society without segregation of “black” and “white” and paved the way to the abolition
of racial discrimination. And finally Mahatma Gandhi: With his sweeping paradigm of
passive resistance, which he exemplified through his own life, he managed to
intimidate the British colonial rulers and led a whole nation to independence.
Bold ideas, unforgettable words and sweeping examples: those are the three poles
from which the kind of fascination of great leaders derives, we sometimes call
charisma. Kennedy, King, Gandhi and many other great leaders in history have
demonstrated excellent leadership skills by creating a suction of fascination, which
magically attracted people. To put it in a nutshell: they moved people. “To lead
means to move people!” This is the key message of our approach to transformational
leadership. The verb “to move” has a double meaning: 1. to emotionally move
someone (“that moved me to tears”), 2. to physically move someone (“I have moved
from point A to point B”). In order to move people in both ways and therefore lead
them, leaders need to ask themselves the following questions: “What do I need to
do? What actions do I have to take?” We have called these actions the “supreme
disciplines of leadership”, because they are the key to successful and people-friendly
leadership.
1. The supreme disciplines of leadership
In the scientific approach to transformational leadership, the supreme disciplines of
leadership, as we call them, are based on certain competencies all transformational
leaders must have. If these competencies are summarized to certain fields of
competence, transformational leaders primarily distinguish themselves through
conceptual competencies, communicative competencies and authenticity. In this
context, we consciously refrain from using academic definitions and continue to
strictly focus on the necessary action-oriented point of view of leaders. Therefore, we
have transcribed the mentioned fields of competence in table 1 on the different levels
according to their didactic equivalents. The idea is to show the original executive
functions of transformational leaders in an understandable and therefore slightly
exaggerated and simplified way.
key message
levels
„To lead means to move people !“
of
didactic
illustration
simplified
central
messages
original
executive
functions
fields of core
competencies based on
transformational
leadership
Table. 1:
“Move people with
bold ideas!“
“Move people with
unforgettable words!“
„”Move people by being
a sweeping example!“
Executive function 1. :: Executive function 2: Executive function 3 :
Think ahead!
Communicate ideas of Be an authentic example
of your ideas for the
the future to all people
future!
involved!
conceptual
competencies of
transformational
leadership
communicative
competencies of
transformational
leadership
authenticity in
transformational
leadership
Research based fields of core competencies of transformational leadership and
their equivalents on the different levels of didactic illustration
Now, let us have a closer look at the individual supreme disciplines of leadership.
The first of those disciplines is the executive task of thinking ahead. Table 2 shows
some corresponding approaches to action-orientation:
FIRST SUPREME DISCIPLINE OF LEADERSHIP
Move people with bold ideas!
In order to do so, it is your executive task to think ahead by:
 formulating an inspiring mission,
 deriving clear objectives from this mission,
 developing suitable strategies in order to meet those objectives, and finally by
 outlining ways of implementation of those strategies through operational action.
(‘conceptual competence’)
(„Konzeptionelle Kompetenz“)
Table. 2:
Action-oriented description of ‘conceptual competence’ of transformational
leadership.
In order to cope with the executive function of ‘thinking ahead’ as well as with the
functions of the other two supreme competencies of leadership, management
science offers a number of relevant tools and instruments. Once more we
consciously avoid quoting the usual management theories and training tactics of
many institutions for management training, which often misinterpret leadership as the
sheer application of management ‘techniques’. The concept of transformational
leadership, however, is dedicated to the inner attitude leaders should have in regards
to their executive functions. We would therefore like to give a thought-provoking
example for each of the supreme disciplines of leadership, in order to exemplarily
reflect the inner attitude of the leader towards the respective executive function.
Our example for the first supreme discipline of leadership is the following: We ask
you, dear reader, why you are doing what you are doing right now (in this case
reading this article)? Maybe your answer is: “The weather is rather nasty today and I
just happened to come across this article.” Or if you are a student, your answer might
be: “I have to read this article, whether I like it or not, because my professor told me
so.” You will certainly have noticed that these answers are rather ‘suboptimal’. The
inner attitude of a transformational leader can lead him to only one possible answer:
“I am reading this article, because my current operational action (reading the article)
is the logical consequence of superordinate strategies, objectives, and an attractive
mission!” You should therefore check stringently in how far your mission as a leader
can be ‘broken down to’ objectives, strategies and operational action. It must be part
of your inner attitude as a transformational leader that your mission is reflected in
even the smallest part of ‘ordinary day-to-day business’.
Table 3 is going to explain the second supreme discipline of leadership, which is the
executive function of communicating ideas for the future to the people involved. The
starting points for practical orientation will reflect different communicational situations,
since there are instrumental differences as well as differences in regards to the inner
attitude of leaders when they address people in the protected atmosphere of a oneto-one conversation, in a small team or in front of a larger audience; especially in the
particular case of conflict communication.
SECOND SUPREME DISCIPLINE OF LEADERSHIP
“Move people with your unforgettable words!“
In order to do so, it is your executive task to communicate your ideas of the
future to all people involved by:
 communication with people in a one-to-one conversation,
 communication with people in a team,
 communication with people in front of a larger audience, and
 if necessary, also by active conflict communication with the above
mentioned target groups.
(‘communicative competence’)
Abb. 3:
Action oriented description of “communicative competence“ of transformational
leadership.
Our thought-provoking example for the second supreme discipline of leadership is
the following: Please imagine you are coming home from work one evening and your
wife/husband/partner surprises you with a special three course dinner he/she has
prepared for you. The table is beautifully set, you sit down and the first course, a
soup, is served. You take the first spoonful and ask: “What is the green herb?”, and
your partner snaps at you: “If you don’t like my food you are welcome to go out and
have your dinner somewhere else.” (We owe this humorous, classical example of
failed communication F. Schulz von Thun; please see bibliography). Here we see,
that communication does not simply mean ‘to talk to each other’. Apart from the
obvious objective level, communication also takes place on subtle interpersonal, selfrevealing and appellative levels. The inner attitude of a transformational leader
should, at this point, be driven by empathy and a high degree of readiness to
continuously and critically reflect his/her own communication-psychological behavior.
The third supreme discipline demonstrates that a transformational leader has to
exemplify his/her ideas of the future credibly, which means with authenticity, in order
to move people (Please see table 4).
THIRD SUPREME DISCIPLINE OF LEADERSHIP
“Move people by being an authentic example for your ideas
of the future!“
In order to do so, it is your executive task to exemplify your ideas of the
future by taking on an attitude which is guided by:
 the spiritedness,
 the dramaturgy,
 the authority and finally
 a good portion of lunacy and nuttiness
of/in your operational actions.
(‘authenticity’)
Table 4:
Action oriented description of ‚authenticity competence’ of transformational
leadership.
Our thought-provoking suggestion for the third supreme discipline of leadership is the
following: Double-check the key words of this supreme discipline for their deeper
meaning. ‘Spiritedness’ carries the words ‘spirit’ and ‘inspiration’. What do we
associate with a leader who is able to ‘inspire’ his/her staff? The term ‘dramaturgy’
will probably remind us first and foremost of the theatre. What comes to your mind
when you think about a theatre performance? Maybe you are thinking of the plays
‘development of tension’, its ‘cast’ or the ‘stage design’? What would all this mean in
regards to the implementation of operational action? The term ‘authority’ does always
have a double meaning, which can most appropriately be described with the phrase
‘As leaders we should have authority without being authoritarian’. But how can we as
leaders gain (positive) authority without being dependent on (negative) authoritarian
behavior? And finally the terms lunacy and nuttiness, two words apparently
completely out of place, which we have consciously chosen for exactly that matter. A
leader who is nutty and therefore out of place, in the widest sense of the word, has
left his/her original position and taken on a new perspective. He/she is therefore
literally out of place. But in how far is this change of position important and necessary
for a leader? What does it mean for the suction of fascination a leader has to display
in order to move their staff to join in and follow them to their new position? All these
are questions which can inspire reflection of the inner attitude of transformational
leaders in regards to the third supreme discipline, and which can already be drawn
from the above mentioned associations.
After the conceptual lining out of the supreme disciplines of leadership, let us quickly
check whether or not our conceptual design of transformational leadership is
comprehensive enough for moving people the way we described it in our key
message. Therefore, we are going to look at two ‘top leaders’ and examine, if they
are principally able to act in accordance with the above mentioned core
competencies we are expecting of transformational leaders. The two ‘top leaders’ are
a marriage swindler and a mafia boss. Are these two driven by ‘bold ideas’ in a sense
that their operational actions are clearly oriented towards superordinate missions,
objectives and strategies? Are they capable of target-oriented communication? Are
their actions characterized by spiritedness, authority and dramaturgy? No doubt the
answer to all these questions would be a clear ‘yes’. However, we would never
seriously consider suggesting them to any hall of fame, so to speak as role models
due to their extraordinary leadership qualities. Consequently, our overall concept is
still not complete and lacks an essential component of successful and people-friendly
transformational leadership.
2. The cardinal virtues of leadership
Even though the marriage swindler and the mafia boss have so far both been acting
according to all core competencies of our conception, we are still bothered by the fact
that they are not ‘doing good’. The question of ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’ has moved
people and the history of mankind since the very beginning. Particularly the sciences
of philosophy and theology have dedicated themselves to this topic for over 2.500
years and additionally have led a seemingly indefinite discussion on the ‘values’ of
human behavior. The fundamental idea of this discussion is that there are certain
values which are of universal significance; in other words which are practically valid
for all people all over the world. In this context, philosophy defines a ‘virtue’ as the
ability or power to act in accordance with those universal values. ‘Cardinal virtues’
consequently apply to those values which are considered to be of particular
importance.
The approach of transformational leadership recently postulates to declare cardinal
virtues the basis of all executive actions. Table 5 shows, in an action-oriented
description, the respective executive function. The seven cardinal virtues of table 5
reflect those virtues, which in philosophy and theology have been and still are
considered the main virtues - in spite of long lasting controversial discussions, some
of which have even lasted for several centuries. Therefore it seems only sensible to
me to include them in the overall conception of transformational leadership.
THE SEVEN CARDINAL VIRTUES OF LEADERSHIP
„Move people by your power to act in accordance with the
important values!“
Therefore it is your executive task to take on an inner attitude which enables
you to ‘do good’, in the sense of the universally valid canon of values of
humanness, while performing the supreme disciplines of leadership with
enthusiasm (that is to say with ease and joyfully). In order to do so, exercise
yourself in the cardinal virtues of:
 fortitude
 prudence
 justice
cardinal virtues of philosophy
 temperance
 faith
 hope
cardinal virtues of theology
 love
Table 5:
Action-oriented description of the cardinal virtues of transformational
leadership.
We would also like to give an example for the cardinal virtues of transformational
leadership, as we have done it with the supreme disciplines, in order to stimulate
reflection on the inner attitude of transformational leaders: Our experiences gained
from management training courses of the last 25 years have strengthened our belief
that virtues are far more important in regards to leading people than leadership
techniques or skills. Skills are abilities which have been acquired and can or cannot
be applied when needed. In contrast to skills, virtues are imperative. Whoever has
them has no choice but acting in accordance with them. A virtue cannot be put aside
like a musical instrument you just do not want to play anymore. Virtues can also not
be acquired in an ad hoc manner during a short term seminar, as many trainers
ballyhoo with slogans like ‘learn to lead in three days’. Virtues go hand in hand with
personal development. In contrast to leadership techniques, virtues are a
characteristic of what we call the art of leading, and in regards to our approach, we
feel obliged to this art.
Thus, supreme disciplines and cardinal virtues finally build the conceptual framework
for our approach to an overall concept of transformational leadership.
3. Conclusion: Approach to an overall concept of transformational leadership
To lead in the sense of ’moving people’ requires certain leadership actions and taking
on a certain leadership behaviour. This is the key message of our approach to an
overall concept of transformational leadership. Transformational leadership actions
are reflected in the supreme disciplines of leadership and are determined by the
simplified question of ‘What do I need to do?’ Transformational leadership behaviour
is expressed by the cardinal virtues of leadership (In simple words: ‘How shall I
behave?’). Table 6 gives a final overview of the respective action- and behaviouroriented approaches.
key
message
To lead means to move people!
Think ahead.
supreme disciplines
of leadership
approaches for
practical orientation
(‘What do I need to
do?’)




Communicate ideas of
the future to all people
involved.
 one-to-one
 in a team
 to a larger
audience
mission
objective
strategies
operational
action
Be an authentic
example of your ideas
for the future.




spiritedness
dramaturgy
authority
lunacy&nuttiness
 if necessary: conflict
communication
be an example
produce
approaches for
practical oprientation
(‘How shall I
behave?’)
cardinal virtues of
leadership
Table 6:
fortitude
prudence
temperanc
e
cardinal virtues
of philosophy
justice
faith
love
cardinal virtues of
theology
Overview of a conceptual design of transformational leadership
hope
Bibliography
1.) R. Egger, Mut. Kardinaltugend der Menschenführung. Zürich 2007
2.) D. Goleman, Social Intelligence: the New Science of Human Relationship.
New York 2006
3.) A. Grün, Menschen führen – Leben wecken. München 2006
4.) M. Hughes, L. Patterson, J. Terell, Emotional Intelligence in Action: Training and
Coaching Activities for Leaders and Managers. San Francisco 2005
5.) J. Kouzes, B. Posner, The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco 2007
6.) J. Naisbitt, Mindset: Reset your Thinking and See the Future. New York 2006
7.) F. Schulz von Thun, Miteinander reden. Allgemeine Psychologie der
Kommunikation. 1.Aufl. Reinbek bei Hamburg 1981
8.) H. Strunz, M. Dorsch, Management. München/Wien 2001
9.) R. Wunderer, Führung und Zusammenarbeit. Eine unternehmerische
Führungslehre. München/Neuwied 2003
10.) G. Yukl, Leadership on Organizations. New York 2002
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