Just like companies, institutions in research and education also have to deal thoroughly with leadership issues. The Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, for example, one of Germany’s elite universities, has set itself the goal of increasing innovative strength, creativity and scientific output. The professionalization of value-oriented leadership is seen as a decisive factor in this endeavor.
In order to meet these challenges, the LMU established the “Center for Leadership and People Management”. The center’s wide range of qualification measures – the spectrum now includes around 40-50 seminars per semester – is aimed both at professors and doctoral students – young scientists at the very beginning of their careers.
Professor Dieter Frey, together with associate professor Dr. Silke Weisweiler Head of the Center, commented: “Professional leadership leads to more trust and better performance. The more we succeed in activating the creativity and motivation of individuals and heterogeneous teams, the higher the excellence of research.”
In line with the Center’s credo – “Excellent leadership, leading research” – a multi-module leadership program was developed. A key aspect was the consideration of the latest results of leadership research without losing sight of practicality.
The program is based on the concepts of transactional, transformational and authentic leadership. “Successful leadership” was understood both as target- and task-oriented control (management) and as inspiring and motivating management of employees (leadership). In addition to imparting tangible tools for effective leadership, self-reflection and exchange of experience should be encouraged.
The LEaD Competence Model repeatedly plays a central role in leadership programs, for example in topics such as value-oriented leadership, the use of social influence strategies and the recognition and promotion of employee potentials.
Among other things, the proven and scientifically backed LEaD questionnaire offers leadership feedback for the self-assessment and external assessment of the participants’ own leadership behavior.
On this basis, the real working situation is integrated into the training. Finally, coaching sessions enable to reflect on the personal strengths and weaknesses profile and to derive improvements for individual leadership behavior. The various methodological approaches create an inspiring learning setting.
In order to verify the effects of this holistic leadership program, the Center conducted an accompanying scientific evaluation.
Their results showed that the participants rated the concept of transformational leadership and in particular the triad of training measures, leadership feedback and individual coaching as very positive for their own learning success. In addition, they valued the successful mixture of scientific and proven competence of the trainers as very helpful for the transfer of knowledge.
The before-and-after comparison also revealed action-relevant changes in the attitudes of participants. Professor Frey comments: “We have found that the people who take part in our seminars develop the perception that they can change worlds – and they are also more aware of their responsibility as managers.”