Gonde Dittmer

Management and Leadership

Fachbuch für das Management


  • Introduction
  • Principles and Tasks of Leadership
  • Management of Motivation and Creativity
  • Conflict Management
  • Management of Teamwork
  • Personnel Recruitment
  • Organisation
  • Management of Complexity
  • Decision Making
  • Tools and Methods of Project Controlling
  • Summary
  • Management Gurus
  • Glossary

The management literature describes a wide variety of management functions, like:

  • Strategy, Structure, Systems, Staff, Style, Shared values, and Skills [Seven S Frame-work by McKinsey]
  • Interpersonal, Informational, and Decisional functions [Henry Mintzberg]

Various management principles are specified on different levels of abstraction, e.g.:

  • Focusing on Results, Contribution to the Whole, Concentration on a Few Things, Uti-lizing Strengths, Trust, and Positive Thinking [Fredmund Malik]
  • Leadership is directed towards the goals, and the dignity of human beings [Gonde Dittmer]

Management assignments are described, like:

  • Setting objectives, organizing, motivating and communicating, measuring and devel-oping people (including themselves) [Peter Drucker]
  • Preparation, implementation, and controlling [Gonde Dittmer]
  • Managing objectives, organizing, decision making, supervising, and developing people [Fredmund Malik]

Part I deals with functions, principles and assignments of leadership.

Not only has a manager to be creative but he also has to foster creativity within the organisa-tion he is in charge of. David Bohm believes: Creativity is something that is impossible to define in words. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes creativity as any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain or that transforms an existing domain into a new one. According to Theresa Amabile, creative thinking depends to some extent on personality characteristics related to independence, self-discipline, orientation toward risk-taking, tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance in the face of frustration, and a relative lack of concern for social approval.

Human motivation is a productive resource. Creativity and motivation get killed by managers much more often than they get supported or stimulated. But managers do not kill creativity on purpose. They do not know much about the origin and characteristics of motivation and creativity. Intrinsic motivation is a feature of the personal human nature, it is an integral part of the performance rendered to the employer, and it is remunerated by the employer. Employees are hired for their creativity, motivation and talent. To a certain extent, creativity and motivation can be influenced. Managers have some levers to pull, like the amount of challenge they give employees, the degree of freedom they grant around process, the way to design work groups, the level of encouragement they give, and the nature of the organisational support.(How about incentives?)

How motivation and creativity can be managed and fostered is subject of Part II.

Conflicts are an unavoidable element of complex systems, like organisations. Conflicts can emerge from completely different causes; these possible causes not only lie in persons. Accidents are avoidable; conflicts, however, cannot be avoided on principle. Conflicts do not at all have to be a management error or a sign of shortcoming in management control. Conflicts cannot always be explained by means of our logic. More important than the question on the cause of conflicts is the question on its meaning.

Conflicts have to be analysed with respect to its rational and emotional elements. There are standard solutions to conflicts available. In practical life, the solution applied most frequently is the escape or flight from the conflict. Its most important disadvantage is that flight does not finish respectively solve the conflict. Managers should learn to understand, analyse and solve conflicts.

How to manage conflicts is described in Part III.

A team is a group of people on an equal basis who have joined in order to solve a common task that cannot be mastered by a subset of this group, and share joint performance goals and excitement over the team’s goals where each team member represents a part of the total ca-pacity, skills and capabilities, and knowledge and who hold themselves mutually accountable. A successful team is appropriately focused and rigorously disciplined.

A team is not a bunch of people with job titles, but a congregation of individuals, each of whom has a role which is understood by other members. Members of the team seek out certain roles and they perform most efficiently in the role that is most natural to them. But, it is not enough to have a collection of skills in a team. The various behaviours of the team members must mesh together in order to achieve objectives.

There are different kinds of teams. Teams are tools. Teams can be characterised by different criteria. Each team design has its own uses and its own limitations. Which team design to use for what purpose is a difficult decision that is even harder to unmake.

Teams need leadership. There are demands for several leadership functions. And there are corresponding leadership institutions in teams.

Part IV concentrates on management of teamwork.

Managers hire professionals, experts and specialists. But they get human beings. Human beings have strengths and weaknesses. The job of personnel recruiting is to select the right peo-ple. And it is the job of the management to find the right task for each person. In the modern economy, the success of an organisation depends more and more on the right people. The quality of applicants hinges on the employer’s public image. Applicants become employees because the company, the position and the task seem to be attractive. Employees leave the company in most cases because of their superiors.

The judgements of individuals differ in no other management field more than in the assessment of applicants. And nowhere else, more misjudgements happen. This is true for all hierarchical levels, even more for the higher management levels. In principle, there are two alternative methods: either to indirectly judge by assigning an applicant to a personality orientation or by the performances of the past. Both procedures require an intensive interview of the applicant.

Recruitment of personnel is content of Part V.

The most important job of the top managers is to secure the long-term existence of the organisation or enterprise they are responsible for. Only an enterprise which survives is able to run the business. In order to secure the long-term existence, the management has to seize opportunities and chances and to keep the organisation fit for doing business.

The process of organisation includes developing the company organisation structure, developing the structuring of operations, allocating the necessary resources, regulating all interfaces and determining all methods to be applied. There is no ideal organisation. The requirements on the organisation depend on the kind of business the enterprise is in and the present paradigm of the business itself.

Organisational culture is supposed to improve the function and efficiency of an organisation. Because culture helps institutions to survive, the lack of culture is an additional cost burden. Unfortunately, as the rate of change in the technological, economic, political, and sociocultural environments increases, the very strengths that were institutionalised in the organisa-tional culture can become liabilities. New cultural elements have to be developed. The problem, however, is not only how to acquire new concepts and skills, but also how to unlearn things that are no longer supporting the success of the organisation.

The most important characteristics of organisations are described in Part VI.

Managers are confronted with a flood of information and new situations which have to be recognised, analysed and judged with respect to its causes and consequences. The process how the situation was emerging is beyond understanding. In many cases, the situation appears to be chaotic and does not offer any key for its serious analysis. It is obvious to compare the present situation with experienced ones of the past. Differences are neglected. Grave mistakes are the consequence. The cause for the misjudgement is complexity.

Often, complexity originates from feedback. Feedback means that the output of a system is influenced by itself. Complex means more than complicated. By complexity, the fact is understood that real systems can show an immense number of states. Even in relatively simple cases, complexity is often too big to be realised. Then, people tend to reduce complexity by prejudices, instructions, rules, decrees, and bans, by recipes for standardised behaviour, management fashions, organisation structures, corporate culture, and trust.

One of the consequences of the globalisation is the need for permanent change, due to e.g. technological progress, economic crises, change of customers’ demands, new competitors, attractive competitive products, etc. In crises, leadership is in high demand. Thinking strategically means thinking seriously before starting anything how to act from the beginning in order to stay permanently in the business. The Thought Process Development of Strategies helps to systematically govern a change process.

Part VII is concerned with management of complexity.

For the management, decision making is the most typical task; a manager is somebody who decides; a person who does not make decisions is no manager. Deciding means either measur-ing (if the matters to be decided on can be quantified) or judging (based on experience).
There are different ways of making decisions: deciding on instinct (gut feeling), deciding on intuition (internalised experience), deciding on emotions, and deciding on facts or arguments.

A decision can be made by an individual or by a group of people. If a decision in an institu-tion has to be taken by a group, it is not the point how the individual as a group member likes to vote. The employees of an institution are (as representatives of the institution) obliged to decide based on the point of view of the institution (“What is the right decision for the institu-tion?”). For appropriately organising the decision process in a group, a systematic procedure is required.

The Thought Process Decision Analysis is presented in Part VIII.

Today, all organisations, whether profit or non-profit, work with projects. Project management has become one of the most important management tools. The success of projects, however, is rather mediocre. Project Controlling means: integrated control of a project with respect to time targets, cost targets and technical targets.

Project Controlling applies many tools which are described in Part IX. 

There is a worldwide industry represented by management scientists and Gurus who have published numerous management books. Many of these books try to reduce the complexity and give managers at hand simple rules, principles or levers to pull. Most of these publications lead managers astray. The real world remains complex. There are no simple rules that are really helpful. A few authors contribute basic principles, understandings, cognitions as well as valuable results from scientific research. Some of these authors are named in the text. Reading these publications will help to go into management further.