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Application of Digital Skills, Social Media and Content Marketing via Curious Management and Innovative Leadership

Flexible working hours and locations, teamwork, networking, agile corporate structures, two-handed leadership styles: a look at the world of work in the digital age reveals the true scale of change. A light has been shed on this matter by Next Tourism Generation key partner DSFT Berlin (German Seminar for Tourism).

For many established companies it is not easy to integrate new requirements into their existing corporate strategy and culture today. Structural boundaries, hierarchies and routines often slow down open-minded employees. However, this is precisely the key to future success, because it is these “curious employees” who are open to further development and adoption of new technologies, looking beyond their horizons to make innovation and changes possible.

The fact is, this so-called “curiosity culture” needs the right framework to operate innovatively. One of the works that addresses this significance is the study “Curiosity Management”, published by the Zukunftsinstitut. According to Germany’s most influential think tank among European trend and future research associations, “curiosity” is strongly linked to three key factors:


  • Autonomy and freedom of choice of working time and space, with the office remaining the place of knowledge transfer and teamwork;


  • Competence and individual development, whereby the curious company is a learning company;


  • Meaningful, varied work with exciting challenges, whereby the connection to personal interests creates new potential for curiosity.



Today’s world is volatile, uncertain and complex


Companies and HR managers are facing major challenges today. In addition to the wishes of future generations of employees, managers are already confronted with the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA) world outside today. Originally originating from American military jargon, VUCA is increasingly establishing itself in Germany as an integral part of management literature. In the digital economy, all four forces work simultaneously on the company and make changes necessary. Accordingly, competitors and customers are becoming increasingly difficult to assess. In addition, political framework conditions no longer represent a long-term orientation, but rather a global uncertainty. All this makes future strategies insecure and lifelong learning inevitable. The shortage of skilled workers is only accelerating the problem. In this sense, mental agility becomes a core competence.


The digital age needs approaches that accompany innovation


The VOPA+ model by Dr. Willms Buhse provides one possible answer to the VUCA world. The approach describes an agile management model and emphasizes important components of the corporate culture:


  • Networking of different virtual communities, but also collective intelligence (swarm intelligence);


  • Openness and active sharing and provision of information;


  • Participation and active participation of all employees in processes and relevant decisions. Therefore, employees need defined areas of competence with corresponding tasks and responsibilities;


  • Agility means a new style of leadership. Self-organized work is possible and supported.


It is, therefore, part of the learning process of managers to place trust in themselves and in their employees – and to let go in order to present more opportunities within the organisation. In the future, the decisive task for management will be to assemble a team of employees and promote their agility and creativity. The digital age needs approaches that are both traditional and innovation leading.


Application of Two-Handed Leadership


In this context, the German scientists Rosing, Frese and Bausch, speak of “two-handed leadership“, which is often used in the VUCA world and helps develop a useful approach within organisations applying close cooperation of two mechanisms at the core of leadership and management:


  • An open management culture gives employees enough space for ideas, curiosity and creativity.


  • Open error culture gives employees autonomy to develop and learn.


The “left hand” represents transactional leadership in which collaborative approaches, agility and participation no longer play a role. Instead, the focus is on day-to-day operations. The precise tasks assigned and the detailed instructions for achieving the objectives are monitored by the management level, which can intervene, praise and correct if necessary.

In contrast, the “right hand” represents transformational leadership. This management style focuses on agility, speed and innovation. Employees identify with the company and have more responsibility. The prerequisites for managers are flexible and conscious leadership as well as healthy, trusting relationships with employees.

In most companies, managers have to deal with a variety of tasks and challenges. With the principle of “two-handed leadership”, managers always have the best approach at hand.


The Author

Daniel Konrad is an Agile Leader. He supports cultural change and digital business processes. In the column of Konrad’s Management at t3n, he writes about digital leadership and agility. #KonradsKolumne


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