Living leadership in a VUCA world

Expert: Dipl.-Ing. Dirk A. Haumann

Suppliers turn over in rows” or “Insecurity due to Supply bottlenecks” are the headlines we could read everywhere lately.

Here’s an example from the machinery sector:

A special machine builder with sales in the two-digit millions gets delivery date commitments from a major German pneumatic valve manufacturer that shift from weeks to months. The large machine builders secure the products as A customers, while the “small ones” are left to starve on a long leash. This is the reality at the moment. Often, the customer stipulates in his specifications that he wants exactly this one valve – alternatives are not possible. As a result, plants cannot be assembled any further and stand half-finished in the assembly halls. The customer continues to insist on his FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) deadline. These are new challenges in the supply chain that have not existed in this form for a long time. In the next few months, one or two machine builders will have to go back to short-time work as parts supply threatens to run out. For companies, the environment has changed radically and conventional management methods are reaching their limits. Companies can and must adapt to this new world. VUCA therefore aims to make the intangible tangible.

VUCA stands for the description of the changed framework conditions under which decisions have to be made today

It is an environment in which information no longer has any predictive significance, because framework conditions change very quickly, coalitions of interests are becoming more and more complex, and motivations are constantly changing. The fact is that leadership today, in contrast to the last century, has become more challenging in a VUCA world and conventional leadership styles no longer fit into our world. Leadership has to cope with faster changes (Volatility), greater uncertainty (Uncertainity), higher complexity (Complexity) and ambiguity (Ambiguity). In VUCA worlds, however, tasks, working methods, processes, and thus also the requirement profiles of employees often change in leaps and bounds. Work distribution must be reorganized more often and made suitable for new IT tools, which requires successful learning processes. Situational leadership is the sure path to a poor leadership climate in a VUCA world. It is difficult to trust a leader who can take the liberty of changing his or her behavior between authoritarian and cooperative. Unpredictable leaders cause significant stress among employees. When the world becomes more uncertain, complex and contradictory, trust becomes more important. Leaders who are to be trusted must be authentic, predictable. Trust is complexity-reducing. Treat your employees with respect and appreciation. When your employees feel that they are seen and valued as individual people and as service providers, trust grows. A trust that works in two directions. Self-confidence and confidence in the leader. Our experts are trusted leaders who bring stability and security in stormy times. Convince yourself of the quality of our experts.

Dipl.-Ing. Dirk A. Haumann

Associate Partner

+49 172 8208746

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