Agile is one of the most stressed attributes in modern management. The term agility describes the ability of an organization to react flexibly to changing conditions in the market environment, to pursue set goals, to act in an integrative manner and yet to retain fundamental structures and values. In the modern economy, agility is one of the most important prerequisites for the survival of companies.

Ambidextrous Leadership

A major challenge for managers in the modern business world is to secure and expand traditional business while at the same time exploiting new sources of revenue and business areas through innovation. 


Ambiguity (from Latin ambiguitas = double meaning) exists when situations, facts or statements can be interpreted in several ways – when they are ambiguous. Entrepreneurial decisions are repeatedly made in a climate of ambiguity, as decision-makers in today’s fast-moving economic world cannot have clear ideas about the probability of developments.


Authenticity (from Greek authentikós for “genuine” or from Latin authenticus for “guaranteed, reliable”). Only those who do not “twist” as leaders, who do not play a role that can hardly be consistently maintained at all, are perceived as authentic and thus credible.

Authoritarian Leadership

The authoritarian leadership style, also called hierarchical leadership, is a leadership style that controls the organization through procedures, norms, and productivity goals. It is a leadership approach based on control and command that includes hierarchical obedience. Decisions flow from top to bottom according to a top-down approach. This classic management style is rather outdated today and can no longer be applied with young people in particular.


The term describes a disproportionate weight for or against a person, or group, circumstance or development. This distortion is based on a one-sided or biased viewpoint and lacks aspects such as openness, acceptance and tolerance.


The term describes a decision-making process in which the initiative originates from employees who do not belong to middle or senior management. Compare top-down.

Change Competence

The term describes the ability of people in an increasingly complex, dynamic and ambivalent world to adapt to requirements by means of adaptation and learning processes. Important abilities to change are, for example, the ability to reflect, personal responsibility and motivation as well as independence and the ability to learn.

Change Management

Change management is the term used to describe all tasks, measures and activities that are intended to trigger a comprehensive, interdisciplinary and far-reaching change to implement new strategies, structures, systems, processes or behaviors in an organization.

Competence Development

Competence development stands for the targeted and systematic development of skills and abilities needed to successfully fulfill a task. In addition to “learning on the job”, competencies can also be developed through “off the job” measures such as training and coaching. Leadership competencies are, for example, specific competences that managers need to successfully lead employees – agreeing on goals, giving feedback, promoting agile teamwork, helping to resolve conflicts and more.

Conflict Management

Conflict management means targeted measures to prevent an escalation of an existing conflict.  In particular, these include conflict counseling and mediation. The primary goal of conflict management is a systemic confrontation with conflicts in order to reduce conflict costs.

Conflict of Goals

A conflict of objectives always exists when at least two objectives are to be pursued, but these cannot be achieved simultaneously and to the same extent because they are incompatible with each other. The opposite is the harmony of objectives.

Democratic Leadership

The democratic style of leadership is characterized by the fact that the management creates decision-making processes in a way that employees can also contribute their views and opinions.

Digital Natives

Digital natives are people who have grown up in the digital world – this applies in particular to the members of Generation Z, who were born from 1999 onwards. People of Generation Y – born between 1980 and 2000 – are also considered digital natives. The term digital immigrant exists as an antonym for someone who only became acquainted with this world in adulthood.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation refers to an ongoing process of change based on digital technologies that affects society as a whole and companies in particular in economic terms. The digital transformation is based on digital technologies, which are developed in an ever faster pace, paving the way for new digital technologies and business models.


Digitization is a transformation process made possible by technical developments, which entails far-reaching strategic, organizational and socio-cultural changes – and thus fundamental changes in the working environment, established business models as well as management and leadership approaches.


Empathy is the ability and willingness to recognize and understand another person’s feelings, thoughts, emotions, motives and personality traits. Empathy also generally includes the ability to respond appropriately to other people’s feelings, such as compassion, grief, pain and compassion.

Employer Branding

The approach of positioning companies as employer brands arose at the end of the 1990s as a response to the “war for talents”. This is not just a question of “recruiting personnel”, but of presenting the company as an attractive employer in its entirety. According to studies, the successful implementation of this approach has positive effects on motivation and loyalty.

Evidence-based Management

At the early 1990s, the term “evidence-based” was coined in the medical field and found its way into many other areas, including corporate and employee management. It describes decision-making on the basis of the best possible scientific, if possible empirical methods and findings, facts or data analyzes.

Extrinsic Motivation

The extrinsic motivation is based on the approach that a person’s actions can be influenced by external amplifiers. These can be positive (reward) or negative (compulsion). However, the duration of the amplification is limited by habituation.

Generation X

Als Generation X wird die Generation bezeichnet, die zwischen 1963 und 1981 geboren wurde. Sie stellt die Generation nach den „Baby-Boomern“ und vor der „Generation Y“ dar.

Generation Y

This category describes persons born in the early 1980s to 2000s. The “Y” is supposed to stand for “Why” and thus for the tendency to question that is often ascribed to this generation. Generation Y is often referred to as millenials because of its birth at the turn of the millennium; the “oldest” digital natives also belong to it.

Generation Z

The term identifies the generation born between 1995 and 2010 – the first generation which grew up in the digital world, so to speak, and to be accustomed to the multitude of channels and the flood of digital information.  As a result, it is very technology-oriented. Members of Generation Z have a positive attitude, are highly team-oriented and idealistic, but at the same time thear are often self-centered and less loyal to their employer.

Human Relations Movement

The term Human Relations Movement refers to an economic approach that integrates the needs, psychological condition and identity of the employees more deeply into the management rationale. Middle managers change from the role of supervisors and planners to that of mediators between employees and senior management.

Human Resources Development

The term describes the training and further education of the employees, which is tailored to the requirements of the respective company. This can take place in an introductory or extra-occupational manner, in any case it is close to the workplace. The development of appropriate measures and strategies for the ongoing qualification of personnel is carried out in accordance with the company’s objectives. 

Human Resources Management

Human resources management is the field of business administration that refers to the personnel as productivity factor. The core tasks of this area are the provision and target-oriented deployment of employees to fulfil the tasks in the company.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is the name of a future project for the comprehensive digitization of industrial production in order to better adapt it to the future. In the course of this, modern information and communication technology in industrial production should and must be interlinked.

Innovation Management

Innovation management is the systematic planning, control and monitoring of innovations in organizations. In contrast to mere creativity, which deals with the development of ideas, innovation management also focuses on the exploitation of ideas or their implementation into profitable products or services.

Intrinsic Motivation

The intrinsic motivation is one of the sources of motivation. In contrast to extrinsic motivation, it describes the motivation to carry out a particular learning action which the individual considers to be interesting or encouraging in some way.

Laissez-faire Leadership

The laissez-faire management style grants employees a great deal of freedom. They are in control of their work, tasks and organization. The information flows more or less randomly. Managers do not intervene in what is happening, nor do they help or punish.


In contrast to management that is merely focused on the handling of processes, leadership means dealing with the future of the company and its employees as well as setting goals and define strategies. It is also essential to inspire the workforce with these goals and to involve them in the processes.

Leadership Competence

The term leadership competence describes the ability to set goals and influence people’s behavior in such a way that these goals are achieved.

Leadership Model

A leadership model is developed to show a vision of effective leadership in companies. A leadership model includes core statements on values, goals and actions for effective leadership and cooperation. It is most effective when it is developed through the participation of managers and employees, implemented through concrete measures in everyday life and evaluated through feedback processes.

Leadership Situation

The leadership situation comprises all factual, structural and social conditions (people, machines, tasks, deadlines) that are relevant to leadership behavior at a given point in time. Primary factors are the aspects that have an impact within an organization, secondary factors are those outside the organization such as legal and cultural aspects.

Management Audit

The term describes a systematic assessment of competencies and performance potentials of executives with regard to the strategic success of a company.

Management Development

The term management development refers to the targeted development of knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes that are relevant for key positions in the company. This is achieved through measures of further education (seminars and training), consulting (coaching, mentoring) and work design for the target group of managers in general and junior managers and high potentials in particular.

Management Diagnostics

Management diagnostics provide instruments and procedures enabling the analysis of the suitability, strengths and development fields as well as the potential of managers and executives. Management diagnostics is a branch of psychological diagnostics and uses its methodology and procedures.

Management Potential

A potential always goes beyond a current capability (Latin root Potenzia = the capability, the power). On the one hand, the concept of potential is future-oriented and asks what employees can achieve in the future based on their basic skills. On the other hand, potential refers to the transferability of performance to other tasks and challenges – in which other situations can employees demonstrate a certain level of performance?


The term is a frequently used as a paraphrase for the members of Generation Y – persons born between the 1980s and the early 2000s. Generation Y is also called “Generation Why”.

Mindful leadership

Mindfulness is defined as an unbiased attitude without valuation. Mindful personalities are not dependent on external conditions and are able to cope with stressful situations. They think and act self-confidently and are ready to set limits in a friendly but determined manner – all aspects essential for successful leadership


The term narcissism, in the broadest sense, stands for the self-love and self-admiration of a person who considers himself more important and valuable than third party observers judge him. In colloquial language, a narcissist is a person who is strongly self-centered and pays less attention to others than to himself.

Organizational Development

The term describes a strategy of planned and systematic change that is achieved by influencing the organizational structure, corporate culture and individual behavior, with the greatest possible involvement of the employees concerned.


Participation includes measures to involve employees, especially in change processes, such as the introduction of new technologies. Participation increases transparency and acceptance in change processes because it makes employees feel more involved and allows them to influence the changes in their day-to-day work. Participation can also promote learning processes and personal responsibility. Often, however, it is only a “pseudo participation” – it is only pretended that employees are involved, which has extremely negative effects on the willingness of employees in companies to change.


The term describes the ability and, in particular, the willingness of managers to analyze and question their actions impartially.

Results-oriented talent development

In the positive sense, personnel development is a “means to an end” how companies succeed in making the best possible use of the skills of their employees through professional personnel selection and placement, appropriate incentive systems and work design measures, as well as qualification through training and coaching. The goal is to increase the effectiveness of the company. In this sense, personnel development is always result-oriented. 

Role Ambiguity

The role of an individual in a group is based on a bouquet of expectations the group has of that person. If there is no consensus about the role that a team member, for example, should fill, the person is not sure about her role and the expectations associated with it – this situation is described by the term role ambiguity. It is a frequent stress factor in professional life.

Role Conflict

A role conflict is always a social stressor in professional life. A role conflict can be caused by incompatible expectations that are aimed at the different, simultaneously existing social roles of a person (inter-role conflict).


The much-used term describes a person’s ability to motivate himself/herself, to accept challenging tasks, and to cope with them. It goes hand in hand with concepts of self-efficacy, self-confidence and self-control. Self-motivation can be strengthened, for example, through personal goals, honest feedback and support in learning processes.

Servant Leadership

The Servant Leadership model focuses on employees and their needs. The term suggests that in contrast to dominant leadership, the executive becomes the “servant” of the employees.

Significant Other

A “significant other” is a personality that depicts meaning, values and directions, to which other people consciously or unconsciously align their expectations and actions. On the basis of this reflection, the imitators relate their self-esteem and self-confidence. The behavior and actions of leaders are therefore of great importance.

SMART rule

SMART is an acronym for “Specific Measurable Achievable Reasonable Time Bound” and serves as a criterion for the clear definition of goals within the framework of an agreement on objectives, for example in project management as well as in the context of workforce management and personnel development.

Strategy Dialog

A strategy dialog focuses not only on conducting strategy development top-down by the management, but also involving relevant stakeholders such as customers, employees, investors and others in strategy development in an appropriate manner. 

Strategy-oriented Human Resources Development

This form of personnel development is geared to the overarching strategy of the company, i.e. employees are given the specific skills they need to cope with the requirements defined in the corporate strategy.

Target Clarity

It goes without saying that the objectives of a development, a project or a process of change, as well as the measures for achieving these objectives, are clearly defined and communicated. In everyday life, however, this is by no means always the case. Companies have to implement ways of thinking and processes to define clear goals on the one hand and to deal flexibly with obstacles, ambivalences and market changes on the other.

Three-dimensional leadership styles

The term refers to a combination of the three dimensions of task-oriented, employee-oriented as well as innovation- and change-oriented leadership. The last aspect in particular was hardly considered in the initial leadership theories, but it is crucial when it comes to asserting oneself in the digital world.


The term refers to a decision-making process in which the initiative is taken by senior or middle management. Compare bottom-up.


Although it is disputed who actually said it, the aphorism “tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the passing on of the fire” very nicely outlines what the term tradition is about. Companies must be aware of their roots and values and develop into a secure future from this foundation.

Transactional Leadership

The transactional leadership approach refers to a leadership style that is based on an exchange between a manager and an employee. An example is the goal agreement, which regulates what expectations are placed on individual team members, what financial or immaterial advantages or disadvantages they have to expect if the requirements are met or not met.

Transfer of Training

The term describes the activities that should take place before, during and after a qualification measure in order to ensure the sustainable transfer of newly learned skills and procedures into the operational environment. This unlocks the benefits of the continuing training.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a concept for a leadership style in which the transformation of values and attitudes of the led individual should result in an increase in performance – away from egoistic, individual goals towards long-term, overarching goals. Transformational leaders try to intrinsically motivate their employees by conveying attractive visions, communicating the shared path to goal achievement, acting as role models and supporting the individual development of employees.

Two-dimensional Leadership Style

The term describes a leadership model based in particular on the two independent dimensions of “employee orientation” and “task orientation”.

Value-conscious Leadership

Value-conscious leadership requires a clear commitment to the own values of leadership, such as personal responsibility, learning from errors, appreciation and trust. It is particularly emphasized in concepts such as authentic leadership. Value-based leadership also requires a reflexive approach to leadership through regular feedback and transparency in communication.

Virtual Organization

A virtual organization is a form of organization in which legally independent companies and/or individuals join together virtually (usually via the Internet) for a certain period of time to form a joint business network. Towards third parties or clients, the virtual company acts like a unified company. Due to the virtual nature, the physical location of the individual participants is of no importance.

War for Talents

The phrase was coined at the end of the nineties by a management consultancy and describes the competition between companies for highly qualified talents. This competition has become even tougher as a result of the advancing digitization and the changing expectations of young people about their professional careers. Employer branding plays a decisive role in the context of the “War for Talents”.